Ardha means half. Baddha means bound, restrained, caught, withheld. Padma is a lotus. Uttana is an intense stretch.
- Stand in Tadasana.
- Inhale, raise the right leg from the floor, bend the right knee and rest the sole of the right foot on the left thigh.
- Hold the right foot with the left hand, bring the right arm round the back and catch hold of the big toe of the right foot with the thumb and the fore and middle fingers of the right hand.
- Release the left hand. Exhale, bend the trunk forward, place the left hand on the floor by the left foot, and keep the head up. Make the back as concave as possible. Take a few breaths.
- Exhale; rest the head or the chin on the left knee.
- If the whole left palm cannot be placed on the floor, start with the tips of the fingers, and then gradually place the fingers and lastly the whole palm on the floor. Similarly with the position of the head, first place the forehead on the left knee, then extend the neck to place the tip of the nose, then the lips and lastly the chin on the left knee. The progress from the head to the chin shows that the body is becoming more and more elastic.
- After taking a few deep breaths in this pose, inhale and raise the trunk to position 4. Take two breaths.
- Inhale, lift the left palm from the floor and come to position 3.
- Release the left foot from the grip of the right hand and return to Tadasana.
- Repeat on the other side, keeping the right leg on the floor, bending the left leg, placing the left foot on the right thigh, catching the left toe with the left hand from behind, bending forward and placing the right palm on the floor.
- If you cannot hold the toe with the hand from behind, place both the palms on the floor and follow the above technique.
Stiffness of the knees is cured by this asana. As the abdominal organs are contracted, digestive powers increase and the peristaltic activity helps to eliminate toxin creating waste matter. The pose helps one to move the shoulders further back. This expands the chest and helps in breathing freely and deeply.