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Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana – half bound lotus intense west stretch (Ardha means half, Baddha (similar to bandha) means bound, caught or restrained, padma means lotus, paschima means west, Uttana means intense.)
Forward bending with the foot in half lotus has a powerful effect on the liver and spleen. This is the purpose of forward bending with your heel pressing into your abdomen—to stimulate the liver and spleen.
Note of caution regarding knees and hips, if you have knee problems half lotus needs to be approached very carefully. The lotus position puts a slight twist on the knee-some may need to modify this position — but do not try to push your knee down, this can put more twist on the knee causing pain.
This asana benefits the liver and spleen; both organs play a part in the digestive processes. The liver controls digestion of fats and contributes to the control of your metabolism; the spleen purifies the blood and strengthens the immune system. Once the liver is working correctly the spleen is automatically corrected. Gastric problems and constipation are also alleviated with this asana.
A golden rule for correct digestion when eating is ‘the stomach should be filled half with food, one quarter with liquid, and one quarter air’.