Ardha Titali Asana (half butterfly)
Sit in the base position.
Bend the right leg and place the right foot as far up on the left thigh as possible.
Place the right hand on top of the bent right knee.
Hold the toes of the right foot with the left hand.
This is the starting position.
Stage I: with breath synchronization
While breathing in, gently move the right knee up towards the chest. Breathing out, gently push the knee down and try to touch the knee to the floor. The trunk should not move.
Do not force this movement in any way.
The leg muscles should be passive, the movement being achieved by the exertion of the right arm.
Slowly practice 10 up and down movements.
Awareness: On the breath, mental counting, movement of
hip joint and relaxation of inner thigh muscles.
Stage 2: without breath synchronization
Remain in the same position with the right leg on the left thigh.
Relax the right leg muscles as much as possible.
Push the right knee down with the right hand and try to touch the knee to the floor.
Do not strain.
Let the knee spring up by itself.
The movement is achieved by use of the right arm only. Practise 30 up and down movements in quick succession. Breathing should be normal and unrelated to the practice. Repeat stages 1 and 2 and the unlocking procedure (see note below) with the left leg.
Awareness: On mental counting, movement of hip joint and relaxation of inner thigh muscles.
Benefits: This is an excellent preparatory practice for loosening up the knee and hip joints for meditative poses. Those people who cannot sit comfortably in cross-legged positions should practice ardha titali asana daily, both morning and evening.
Practice Note: To unlock the leg after completing stage 2, slowly and carefully straighten the leg.
Bend it once, bringing the heel near the buttock.
Straighten the leg.
This procedure will ensure that the knee joint is realigned correctly.