PADMASANA is a classic Yoga Asana and is immediately identified with images of the Buddha, Agiyogi and other legendary Yogis throughout history! It’s also perhaps the first asana that comes to mind when one tries to imagine a Yogi.
What makes Padmasana so special? Actually, more than the form of the pose; it is what Padmasana stands for that has defined it’s iconic status – the complete mastery over Body & Mind which Yogis are renowned for, and a certain Composure that we all aspire to! There are thousands of other asanas that we see all over Instagram, but nothing comes to close to Padmasana if we were to attempt to encapsulate all of Yoga in a single posture.
KNOW YOUR ASANA!
Padmasana or Lotus pose is one of 4 classic meditation asanas. A Meditation pose needs to fulfil one main criterion – that your back should be kept straight! And Padmasana accomplishes this. Also, meditation poses (Siddhasana, Vajrasana & Sukhasana being the other classic poses) generally lock the legs so that there is less loss of Energy (Prana) through your feet, whilst your hands are held in a Mudra to conserve Prana inside the body for the purpose of Meditation.
Significance of the Lotus in Eastern Philosophy
The ‘Lotus’ symbolises Transcendence, growing deep from the dirt and mud, yet rising out of it to full bloom and beauty beyond the water. It is symbolic of our Seeking to transcend our basal nature in our Journey of Life. Hence the Lotus finds repeated allegorical reference in ancient Indian and far Eastern philosophical writings.
Benefits of Padmasana:
Pranayam: Padmasana is the best posture for practising Pranayam. Also, it the the right pose for Om chanting.
Chakras: In terms of form, Padmasana is special because it aligns all the Chakras within your spine. And it soothes your nervous system. Because the feet and palms are turned upwards, the flow of Prana makes you feel lighter (rather than duller) for the purpose of Meditation.
Strength: Your entire body needs to be strong, core and lower back as well as chest and shoulders in order to sit straight. So Padmasana is a full body workout.
Flexibility: Your legs and especially knees and ankles become supple.
Contra-Indications: If you have weak knees, be careful about doing Padmasana. You can take up Sukhasana if your knees continue to give you trouble.
Here’s hoping most of you train yourself to take up Padmasana. Amongst Yogasanas, the two most beneficial I think are Padmasana and Sirsasana (headstand) – and it’s a view shared by the peerless ‘Father of modern yoga’ T Krishnamacharya! So there you have it, the Joy of sitting in Padmasana has INSPIRED countless yogis over the millennia – and hope it Inspires you too!
- MANISH POLE (yogi, gypsy, storyteller, cofounder Total Yoga)