Hatha Yoga Pradipika recommends Siddhasana, Padamasana, Simhasana and Bhadrasana as the four main asanas from among the 84 principal asana, which in turn, has been from the comprehensive list of 84,00,000 asanas. Among these four, Siddhasana has been assigned the highest value. It is called Siddhasana when practiced by a man and Siddayoniasana when practiced by a woman because of their different physical structure. Assumed as one of the purely meditative postures, it is important, we spend some time understanding and unveiling this posture, in detail.
Step 1: Sit in dandasana with your legs stretched out straight in front. Bend your left knee and press your left heel in a way that it presses the perineum (the area between the anus and the genital organ).
Step 2: Bend your right leg and place the right heel just above the left heel so that right heel presses the pubis.
Step 3: Push the toes and the upper edges of both the feet in between the opposite thigh and the calf muscles (right foot between the left thigh & calf muscles and vice versa).
Step 4: Both the ankles are stacked one at the top of the other.
Step 5: Maintain the spine in an upright position with chest slightly elevated and shoulder blades close by.
It follows almost the same process as described above a slight deviation due to one’s structural variances.
In case of a woman, the heel of the lower leg presses against the opening of the vagina and the leg of the upper heel is placed in a way that it rests against the clitoris.
Note: On a practical note, it is important to interchange the legs so that both the legs get equal exercise.
Please note that traditional practice of Siddhasana required one to lower the chin down towards the center of the collarbone (like Jalandhar band) and gazing in between the eyebrows (shambhavi mudra) in the above position which is rarely followed in today’s practice.
When practicing with pranayama
Combing pranayama practice with Siddhasana brings the two pranic forces ‘apana’ (located below the navel) and ‘prana’ associated with the organs of respiration, speech, muscles together. This further unites the ‘ida’ and ‘pingala’ in ‘ajna chakra’, thereby unifying the mind and bringing the breath to a standstill.
On meditative level
- One can get into a meditative posture assuming any sitting posture but ultimately, one has to sit in this posture as it stops blood pressure from falling too low, regulates production of male hormone testosterone, and helps maintain the inner body temperature.
Though padmasana is considered to be one of the best postures for meditation, however, there is firm locking of the legs in case of Padmasana which restricts the blood flow and makes the legs numb (though this was one of the purposes of meditation), Siddhasana provides a soft lock and broader base making it comfortable to be in the position for longer time and less likely for the feet to go off to sleep. In swami Sivananda’s words, mastering Siddhasana helps acquire ‘siddhis.’
On Chakra level
- Looking at final positioning of the posture, it is not difficult to figure out the chakras engaged during this practice.
- The placing of the feet works on activating the mooldhara chakra (the point of origination of the three major nadis and source of pranic energy which is in dormant state) and the swadhisthana chakra (base of sexual and emotional metabolism). Working on these two energies alone can help one lead a healthy life. Mooldhara chakra once activated from the root helps release the dormant power, from the base, whereas, swadhisthana chakra brings about emotional stability. It is important to work on these two chakras to move, further, on the path of spiritual journey.
- Traditional practice of Siddhasana requires one to apply Shamvabhi Mudra in the posture, which in turn, activates the Ajna Chakra and thereby, helps receive the pranic impulses, coming from the lower level.
On Bandhas level
- Bringing the chin to the chest leads to a soft application of Jalandhar bandha, and automatically initiates ujjayi pranayama. As a result, heart rate and blood pressure remain stable. Once you stabilize in the posture, whether you realize it or not, all the three bandhas begin to transpire spontaneously.
- Siddhasana purifies all the 72000 nadis which get blocked due to our modernistic lifestyle. It does so by activating the mooldhara chakra. Cleansing of nadis is critical for flawless flow of prana from the lower psychic energy to the higher level.