“Ordinary people cannot achieve Padmasana, only few wise ones can.” – Yogi Swatmarama
Also known as Kamlasana or cross- legged position, this posture not only depicts the form of a bloomed lotus but reminds us of its unique characteristic of being able to float through one’s life ‘untouched’ no matter what kind of filth one is surrounded by.
Being a meditative posture, it brings almost an instant calmness to your mind and body, making your meditative journey an experiential one. Perhaps, this is the reason that we see most of the rishis being immersed in this posture.
The firm triangular shape of the lower part of your body helps maintain the neutrality of your spine and the head, thereby allowing firmness and alignment to the posture. The mind can dive completely into the journey of inner exploration.
- Assume Dandasana position
- Bend your right knee; with your left hand raise your right foot off the floor holding your right outer side of the ankle; bring your right heel close to your navel and at the same time, push your bent right knee down to the floor
- Now bend your left knee; bring the left heel close to your navel and push it down towards the floor
- In this final position, the legs are in a cross position and the left ankle is stacked stably on top of the right ankle; the knees are resting on the floor (in case it is not, place some blanket or pillow below your knees to get support)
- The lower part of your body is locked completely in a triangular shape; ensure that your spine is neutral in ‘S’ shape with your head held over your neck and chest wide open; shoulder blades in line with hip; sit bones firmly grounded to the floor; abdomen slightly tucked in; no strain at all on the neck and the back (especially lower back)
- You can place your palms on your knees in Jnana, Chin, Bhairavi or Yoni Mudra
- Be in the posture comfortably, release, relax and change your leg to allow an equal engagement of both the legs (if the right leg was folded first, you will fold your left leg first the second time round or the leg which comes out first will go in first in the next round)
Advancing into Padmasana Practice
As a regular practitioner of Padmasana, elevate your level by applying Jalandhar, Uddiyana & Moola bandha with vajroli mudra while gazing at the tip of the nose.
How to release Padmasana?
Very slowly straighten your legs; stretch it out in front; softly massage your knees with your palms; stretch your toes in and out a few times round; bend and straighten your knees few times to make it completely ache free by increasing the blood flow to that area.
You must perform the preparatory postures before you venture into the final Padmasana, to avoid injury. You can check these links for the preparatory practices.
Anyone with any kind of knee injury, knee stiffness, sciatica or sacral infection should not perform this posture until they have sorted out these problems
The posture, being meditative in nature, automatically induces calmness in mind and body and brings an established equilibrium. This is one of the most important requisites for treading down the path towards spirituality through meditation.
Increased blood flow to Digestive & Reproductive Region
The binding position of the legs reduces blood flow in the legs, which is, then redirected to your abdominal and pelvic organs, thereby, helping deal with issues associated with these areas like indigestion, acidity, PCOS, diabetes etc. It also stimulates the acupuncture points in the areas of stomach, gallbladder, spleen, kidneys & liver, thereby, keeping these areas healthy.
Role of Bandhas & Prana
Padmasana balances Prana Vayu in your body – the ‘life force’ responsible for performing all the bodily functions in a balanced way.
Applying Jalandhar, Uddiyana & Moola Bandha along with Padmasana takes one onto a higher platform of spiritual journey. By doing so, the free flowing downward movement of Apana and the free flowing upward movement of Prana is reversed and brought to the area of Samana. The pranic reaction then induces the rising of Sushumna Nadi.
Strong back & core
The beauty of Padmasana is that it keeps your spine in a neutral position. It means the core & the back is equally involved in maintaining the upright position of the spine. This automatically strengthens these two areas thereby protecting one from a perpetual back pain.
The chest remains in an elevated and expanded position because of the neutral spine. This takes care of the upper part of the body in terms of strengthening it and also improves lung capacity.
Word of Caution
Padamasan is notoriously popular for knee injuries, which is bound to happen if you try to jump directly into the final posture without following the right route of preparing the surrounding muscles to perform it. Doing so will protect the knees from bearing the brunt. Make sure to follow the preparatory steps diligently before attempting the final position.
This asana is also leveled as the ‘Destroyer of Diseases’ as it brings about changes in the metabolic structure and brain patterns which help create balance in the whole system, quotes Hatha Yoga Pradipika.
So board onto your meditative journey and perform Padmasana -in your office, in the school, while watching television on the chair or wherever you are.
Shammi Gupta, founder of Shammi’s Yogalaya holds an MA in Yoga Shastra, is a certified Yogic Therapist and Naturopath, has completed an Advanced Yoga Course and holds a Diploma in Yoga Education from Mumbai University. She is a certified trainer from American College of Sports Medicine and holds an MBA in HR & MBA in Finance from The University of Akron, Ohio, USA. She conducts Health Awareness Workshops for Corporate, Yogasana Workshops for Athletes and Yoga Therapy Workshops on different medical issues for patients. Among the celebrities Shammi trains are eminent personalities from the film and television industry and corporate world.