Padmasana, what you might know as the Lotus Pose in yoga, is a sitting position traditionally used for meditation practice in India. The legs are crossed with the feet on opposite thighs, back straight and arms resting on top of the knees. This pose is used to help encourage proper breathing while grounding the individual and creating physical stability. It may seem like a simple pose, but Padmasana benefits go beyond simple healing. It is also extremely powerful for connecting the mind, body and spirit.
How It Started
The lotus flower is an ancient symbol that has been represented in many religions. Many of its meanings include enlightenment, renewal, rebirth, purity, beauty and spiritual wealth, to name a few. In Hindu iconography it is commonly represented alongside powerful deities. These deities are also commonly shown sitting in the lotus pose.
Padmasana is an ancient pose that has no official recorded date. Some texts around 200 CE mention a steady seated posture for yogic self-realization, but it isn’t officially named. Only in 400 CE does a yogic sage named Vyasa reference the lotus pose as one of the 11 important poses in yoga for meditation.
Later mentions of the pose attribute many health benefits to the pose. Some even go so far as to call it the “destroyer of disease.” Because of the way the body is arranged, the lotus pose is said to help put healing pressure (acupuncture) on the stomach, gallbladder, spleen, kidneys and liver. Overall, it helps change the metabolic structure and brain patterns to create balance and harmony throughout the body.
By practicing Padmasana regularly you can greatly reduce overall fatigue as well as awaken numerous health benefits. Along with increased flexibility, some of these benefits include:
- Less anxiety
- Increased awareness
- Good posture
- Reduce menstrual discomfort and sciatic
- Reduce insomnia
- Improve digestion
- Strengthen joints
- Ease childbirth
How do Padmasana benefits work?
Padmasana has numerous health benefits for mentality, physicality and spiritual energy. It helps increase circulation in the lower spine, energize and tone abdominal muscles and organs and increase flexibility and strength in the hips, ankles and legs.
But it also does more than that. It helps ground the body physically and energetically. This may sound like some spiritual mumbo jumbo, but practitioners of this pose can actually feel the grounding happing in their physical body and their mental space. Some describe it as their awareness being directed toward the spine and higher centers of the body.
In yogic terms, this is referred to as kundalini. Kundalini is the dormant energy located at the base of the spine. By focusing your awareness on kundalini and activating it you can move that energy through your chakras to create alignment (grounding) in your body and energy. It’s also a great foundation to building a strong yoga routine.
Padmasana benefits also extended into a type of mentality that can help make daily life easier. In today’s world many people are constantly rushing around and busy worrying about the future or the past. Rarely, is anyone truly in the present. This leads to all sorts of issues, like depression, anxiety and high levels of stress. Padmasana has the power to quiet this noise and worry in the brain and draw awareness on the external to the internal.
But the symbol of Padmasana, the lotus flower, also has powerful meaning and can help bring peace when internalized. The word lotus means, “that which is born out of the muck or mud.” Not very flattering when you first think about it. However, upon closer inspection, it holds the key to living life effortlessly. The lotus is a beautiful flower emulates peacefulness as it lightly floats on water. But few ever think about how it has grown out of a swamp. Why is this?
Because the lotus rises above it. It doesn’t retain traces of dirt on its leaves or petals. Nor does it ever absorb what falls onto it. This is an extremely strong metaphor that everyone would benefit learning from. No matter where we came from or what happens to us, we should remain pure, peaceful and present. Everyone has the potential to become a lotus.
How To Start
If you think Padmasana is simply a cross-legged sitting pose, think again. It actually requires quite a lot of strength, flexibility and patience.
To start come to a sitting position on the ground. Place your right foot on top of your left thigh. Then bend your left leg and grab onto your left foot, placing it on top of your right thigh. Don’t worry if you’re not flexible enough to get it completely on top of your thigh. Just place it as high up as you can without feeling pain.
Remember pain and discomfort are different things. Discomfort is a good sign, but pain means you should back off.
Once both feet are in place, flex them and pull the inside of your thighs down towards the floor. Straighten your spine and place bother your hands on your knees, palms facing up. Breathe in and out slowly 5 times. Image there’s string attached to the top of your head and every time you breathe in it pulls on your head slightly. Each time you breathe out feel your legs and pelvis grounding into the floor. Continue this for 6 to 12 breathes and then repeat with your legs switched.