Half lotus pose is considered very beneficial for the body because its upright posture strengthens the muscles of the back. This pose is also helpful in improving digestion and stimulating the excretory system. As it improves blood flow and circulation to the pelvic area, it is thought to help relieve menstrual discomfort.
Half lotus is a good pose for meditation and pranayama breathing exercises. It does not strain the body and opens the chest up enough to expand the lungs and deepen the practitioner's breathing.
Blankets can be folded underneath the sit bones as a modification of this pose, or they can be used to support the knees. As with all yoga postures, the body should never be forced into the fullest expression. Easy seated posture is an alternative for those whose hips do not allow half lotus.