Padma (पद्म) = lotus; Asana (आसन) = pose; Padmasana (पद्मासन) = lotus pose
Padmasana originated in Ancient India. It is primarily used in meditation because of its wondrous benefits. It is practiced in Jainism, Hinduism, and Buddhism. If you have noticed, ancient yogis such as Buddha, Shiva, and Mahavira are in a lotus seated pose. Their hand mudras may differ from one another, but their legs are always in a lotus position.
The Lotus pose is designed to keep you still for long periods of time. The posture keeps your spine straight and gives physical aid in the metabolic structure. Apart from the physical benefits, when bandhas are activated, it gives a flow of energy from the root to the crown, awakening all the chakras. Breathing slowly and deeply in the pose, the lotus position will align your mind, body, and spirit. In traditional texts, it is quoted that “Padmasana destroys all disease and awakens kundalini.”
If you are a beginner, it is best to have warm ups or preparatory poses before going in to this pose. You may also sit in Ardha Padmasana (Half Lotus pose).
Steps of Padmasana (Lotus pose)
- Start with Dandasana (Staff pose). Sit on the mat with both legs extended and spine lengthened.
- Bend the right knee to cradle, left leg is still resting on the mat.
- By doing this, place your right foot on your left thigh. Slip both hands, palms up, under your right calf. Lift the leg and bring it towards your chest. The leg is resting on your cubital fossa (opposite of your elbow where your arm and forearm meet). Gently rock it from side to side. Feel your hip muscles, thighs, and hamstrings opening up. You can stay here for three to five breaths.
- Do the same for your left leg. When you’re ready, place your right foot on the crease of your left thigh and your left foot on the crease of your right thigh.
- In a lotus position, eyes are shut, shoulders are at rest, spine is lengthened, and wrists are resting on your knees. Palms are facing the ceiling, making a Gyan mudra – index finger and thumb are touching, while other fingers are relaxed but straightened.
- To feel more of the flow of energy, activate all bandhas by tucking your chin in (Jalandhara Bandha; chin lock), belly in (Uddihyana Bandha; abdominal lock), and butt-cheek in (Mula Bandha; root lock).
- Breathing slowly and deeply through the pose, stay here for a minute or so. Let the awareness be on your breathing. If you are practicing Padmasana for meditation, start with two to three minutes. Practice daily to form a habit.
Benefits of Padmasana (Lotus Pose)
- It helps enhance the concentration of the mind. Thus, relaxes it and calms the brain.
- It opens the Chakras (by keeping all bandhas activated), making you more conscious.
- It increases awareness and attentiveness.
- It helps to develop good posture by keeping the spine straight.
- It activates the spine, pelvis, abdomen, and bladder.
- It improves digestion.
- It opens up the hips, making it more flexible.
- It eases menstrual discomfort and sciatica.
- It helps aid joints and ligaments in building strength and flexibility.
- It stretches the ankles and knees.
- It restores energy levels.
- Pregnant women who practice Padmasana on a regular basis will find ease in giving birth.
- If you have an ankle injury or knee injury, consult your physician before practicing yoga.
- Padmasana is considered to be an intermediate to advanced pose. It should be practiced under the guidance of an experienced teacher, especially if you are a novice to Padmasana.
- Baddha Konasana
- Ardha Matsyendrasana
- Janu Sirsasana
Follow – Up Poses
- Adho Mvkha Svanasana
- Supta Padungastasana