What is the meaning of Padmasana?
Padmasana (pronounced as “Pa-dah-maa-sun-aa”) is comprised of two words Padma means ‘lotus’ and asana means ‘yoga posture’. That’s why it is known as the Lotus pose. This is one of the best meditative yoga poses. Padmasana is a crossed-legged Dhyana yoga wherein each foot is placed on the opposite thighs. The Lotus pose has physical, mental, and spiritual values. It is conducive to physical and mental calmness. At first, it is quite difficult for most people to perform, and uncomfortable if held for a certain period. However, with practice, this asana will prove far more comfortable than the simpler sitting positions, such as veerasana and sukhasana. Padmasana almost automatically makes one want to be still. It is with good reason that Buddha is usually depicted in this pose. In Chinese and Tibetan, it is also known as Vajra position.
Philosophy & origin
Basically, this is a meditative, calming, and soothing yoga pose, used in Hinduism by God Shiva; Tirthankkaras in Jainism, and by Gautama Buddha in Buddhism. The lotus pose has its own philosophy. The lotus flower rooted in the mud but it blooms above water and attracts everybody from its beauty. The pose has been described in the 8th-century book Patanjalayogashastravivarana, in the coin of Chandragupta II, and in the text of Nisvasattvasamhita Nayasutra. It has also been described in Hatha Yoga Pradipika wherein it has been mentioned that the pose is the destroyer of all diseases.
- Half lotus pose (Ardha Padmasana): Here one leg is bent and lies on the ground while the other foot on the thigh of the opposite leg with the heel in contact with the front of the lower abdomen.
- Bound lotus pose ( Baddha Padmasana): Here the Sadhakas sit in the lotus pose and hands reach back to clasp the opposite feet.
- Psychic union pose(Yogamudrasana): The practitioner in the lotus pose and bends forwards to touch the surface with his head.
How to do Padmasana step by step?
The technique and instructions of properly performing padmasana is given below:
- Sit with the legs stretched forwards.
- Slowly fold one leg and place the foot on the thigh of the opposite leg with the heel in contact with the front of the lower abdomen.
- Fold the other leg in the same way.
- Both knees should rest comfortably on the floor in the final stage.
- Now, keep your back and head straight and stretched but without strain.
- Close your eyes.
- The hands can be placed either on the knees in the Dhyana mudra.
The practice of the yoga pose is not so easy. Before practicing padmasana, it is advised to do half butterfly and knee rotation exercises so that it loosens the stiff muscles and gives you certain flexibility. If you have stiffness, initially better to practice Ardha padmasana instead. It needs patience and proper practice, which results in perfection. For beginners, the left leg should be folded first. The practicing of the yoga pose becomes easier if a small cushion is placed under the buttocks. Allow the shoulders to relax without raising them.
There are few limitations and contradictions of practicing the lotus pose are:
- People suffering from sciatica or sacral infections should not attempt this asana.
- It may causes injury to the knees region.
- Avoid in case of ankles injury.
- Initially, it is better to practice this yoga pose before the yoga teacher as it may injure the beginner.
- Avoid practicing the yoga pose in case of leg injury or back problems.
What are the benefits of Padmasana?
- Best yoga for meditation: Padmasana induces mental calmness, which is the essential prerequisite for pranayama and meditative practices. This tranquility also helps to bring about physical health and mental equilibrium on a permanent basis.
- Abdominal and pelvic organs: The position and pressure of the feet against the thighs reduce the flow of blood to the legs. This blood supply is redirected towards the abdominal and pelvic organs, thereby toning up the organs, muscles, and nerves in this region.
- Aids in digestion: The practicing of the pose enables blood supply towards the abdominal and pelvic organs. It stimulates the digestive organs thereby ensures proper secretion of enzymes and hormones thus good for better digestion.
- Controls blood pressure: Padmasana helps to reduce muscular tension thereby brings blood pressure under control.
- Helpful in childbirth: The practice of the yoga pose helps to muscular stretching of the pelvic region. If the pose is being practiced by a pregnant lady, it is helpful to normal childbirth.
- Menstrual discomfort: The regular practice of the lotus pose is also beneficial for those who are having problems during their menstruation.
- Good for ankles and knees: Initially, one may feel pain while performing the yoga pose. However, after having some sort of perfections, the same pose starts strengthening your ankles and knees.
- Awakens Kundalini: In the ancient texts, it has been mentioned that the practicing of the yoga pose destroys all the diseases and also awakens the Kundalini.
- Weight loss: It gives maximum stretching to the hips and thighs. Thus the practice of the pose on a regular basis helps to lose weight in these regions.