Padmasana literally means the Lotus Posture (Padma+ Asana) and the body is aligned in the form of a lotus flower in this Asana. Certain Yoga texts also state that Padmasana helps bloom the body, mind and the spirituality of the Yogi like a lotus. Hence, this Asana is known in the name of Padmasana.
It is said in the Buddhist texts that the Buddha meditated in Padmasana and attained enlightenment. Moreover, the Buddha is often limned in pictures and sculptures in Padmasana.
This is an important Yogasana that should be practiced with care under the proper guidance of a qualified Yoga instructor. Padmasana is done in a sitting position and is often regarded the Asana suitable for meditation. Padmasan requires the crossing of legs while sitting which would not be easy for a beginner. However, regular practice is essential to excel in the pose.
“Hatha Yoga Pradipika” and many other texts related to Yoga impart the benefits of this Asana.
This posture requires less mobilization of body parts, albeit the Asana helps reduce the stress in muscles. Padmasana increases flexibility of legs and pelvic area.
Since meditation is done in Padmasana position, this Asana helps calm the mind and increase concentration. This Yogasana is also recommended to obtain peace of mind for those who experience stress and other psychological disturbances in day-to-day life. Nevertheless, in order to gain psychological health through Padmasana, the Asana should be practiced regularly under guidance.
The systematic breathing during Padmasana helps the healthy functioning of respiratory tract.
This Asana is recommended for pregnant women to ease child birth. Regular practice of this Asana also helps relieve the menstrual pains.
Padmasana is recommended for those who are required to sit in chairs and work for a long time at work or study. Physicians and physiotherapists advise that sitting for elongated hours may lead to various ailments and bodily discomforts. Padmasana is recommended for them to avoid stiffness of limbs.
Padmasana supplies sufficient blood for the abdomen, pelvic and urinary tract areas to keep them healthy.
This helps increase the flexibility of knees and ankles. The erect position helps keeps the spine straight and correct the posture.
Nonetheless, Padmasana is not recommended for those who suffer knee, ankle and spine related ailments. Seeking advice from a doctor or a physiotherapist is recommended prior to engaging in Padmasana if anyone is suffering from above ailments. Others, however, should follow proper guidance form an experienced Yoga instructor on how to do the pose correctly.
HOW TO DO PADMASANA
Sit on the floor or a Yoga mat with legs stretched. Bend the right knee and place the sole of the right leg on the left thigh. The heel should face upwards. Then bend the left leg and bring it towards the right thigh and carefully place on it (as in the picture).
While assuming the Lotus pose, the spine and the neck should be kept erected.
Stretch the hands and place on each knee. The thumb and the index finger of both hands should touch each other while other fingers are bend forward or kept straight.
Take a deep breath and hold for a couple of seconds and release. Do the breathing several times. Then slowly release the legs with the help of hands, from the position and extend the legs forward. Place the palms on the floor from the sideways and bend backwards to rest in Savasana.
Padmasana can cause pain at the initial stages of practicing the Asana, but with regular practice the pain can be minimized and the legs can easily be mobilized.
A beginner may not be able to remain in the Asana for more than a couple of seconds and the time will be increased with practice.
Padmasana can be a complex Asana for a beginner. Therefore, the alternative Asanas for Padmasana can be practiced until one gets a hang of Padmasana. Ardha Padmasana and Sukhasanas are easy positions to be practiced. In both Ardha Padmasana and Sukhasana, hips are opened and stretched.
Ardha Padmasana means the “ half position of Padmasana”. It is suitable for those whose legs are stiff and have less flexibility. The Half Lotus position also help stretch and strengthen the knees, thighs and the ankle. Many of the benefits of Padmasana can also be derived through Ardha Padmasana.
How to do : Sit on a mat and stretch the legs. Fold the left knee and bring it near the right thigh touching the bottom part of the thigh. Then fold the right knee and place the heel (facing upwards) on left thigh (as in the picture). The rest of the body parts and the breathing should be done in similar way of doing Padmasana.
Sukhasana is also an easy alternative to Padmasana and is known as the Easy Pose. Sukhasana is comfortable and easier pose than that of Padmasana or Ardha Padmasana. Although legs are crossed in Sukhasana, they are not placed on the thighs as in Padmasana and Ardha Padmasana.
As in Padmasana, stretch your legs while sitting. Then fold the knees and cross the shins (as in the picture). Try to stretch and widen the legs as much as possible.