Padmasana: Meaning, Steps, and Benefits

Introduction

Padmasana is a yoga posture that aids in the practice of meditation. It is one of the most popular, most ancient and most performed yoga posture. Lotus Posture is taught as the Primary yoga posture before learning any other posture in ancient times. Now it is one of the advanced group of postures.

This guide on Padmasana discusses its meaning, steps, benefits, and many other aspects of it in a comprehensive manner.

Padmasana Information

Pose NamePadmasana
Sanskrit Nameपद्मासन
IASTpadmāsana
EnglishLotus Pose
OriginTraditional, Classic Yoga Texts
LevelAdvanced
GroupPadmasana
TypeMeditation,
Seated Posture

Meaning

The Sanskrit word Padma means the lotus. Hence, its English translation is Lotus Posture. The posture is called as such because it resembles the Lotus flower. Kamalasana is the alternative name in Sanskrit.

Origin and History

The second century CE statues and images of Buddha and Mahavira in Lotus Postures shows that the posture was prevalent at that time.

Yoga Yajnavalkya which is one of the earliest of yoga texts, compiled well before second Century CE describes the steps for Lotus Posture.

Maharishi Vyasa’s commentary on Yoga Sutra also talks about Lotus Posture. This commentary is believed to be of the same period.

A figure seated in Lotus Pose is found in the coin that belongs to the period of Chandragupta II (380 CE to 415 CE).

From these evidences, we can conclude that Lotus Posture was in practice well before 2000 years from now.

Precautions and Contra Indications

The performance of lotus pose is possible only when one has the flexibility of hips and knees. Those who are having the following issues should avoid attempting this posture or perform under a competent yoga supervisor.

  • Sciatica
  • Sacral ailments
  • Knee disorders

Preparatory Asanas

As we have already seen, the flexibility of hips and knees are the prerequisites for getting mastery over the lotus posture. For getting the flexibility, one should resort to the following postures and practices.

Padmasana Steps

  1. Sit with your legs stretched
  2. Bend one leg and place the foot on the other thigh in such a way that sole is placed as near to pelvic bone as possible
  3. Similarly bend the other leg and place the foot similarly as in Step 2
  4. Head and spine should be erect and be in a straight line and both knees should touch the ground
  5. Place the hands on the knees in Jnana Mudra or Chin Mudra
  6. Close the eyes and place the mind in between the eye-brows
  7. Keep your breath as slow as possible

Follow-up Asanas

Immediately after performing Padmasana, one should resort to any one of the following postures.

Padmasana Benefits

Spiritual Benefits

  • It gives stability and peace of mind and thereby serves as an aid to Meditation and Pranayama
  • Lotus Posture helps awakening Kundalini

Therapeutic Benefits

Padmasana Variants

The following yoga postures belong to the group of Lotus posture.

  1. Ardha Padmasana (Half Lotus Pose)
  2. Tulasana or Utthita Padmasana (Scale Pose or Elevated Lotus Pose)
  3. Baddha Padmasana (Bound Lotus Pose)
  4. Kukkudasana (Cockerel Pose)
  5. Urdhva Padmasana (Upward Lotus Pose)
  6. Yoga Mudrasana (Psychic Union Pose)

Padamasana in Other Asanas

Apart from the variations of Lotus posture, this posture is combined in other yoga postures also.

  • Padma-Mayurasana (Lotus Peacock Pose)
  • Padma-Sirsasana (Lotus Head Stand)
  • Padma-Sarvangasana (Lotus Shoulder Stand)
  • Padma-Simhasana (Lotus Lion Pose)

Padmasana in Classical Yoga Texts

The earliest mention of Lotus Posture was in Yoga Sutra commentary by Maharishi Vyasa. Yoga Yajnavalkya also mention about Padmasana.

According to Yoga Yajnavalkya, Lotus Posture is placing both the legs on opposite thighs and holding the big toes by the hands from behind.

Verse 559 of Thirumanthiram by Thirumoolar provides the steps to do the lotus posture.

The text says “In Sukhasana (easy pose), take your foot and place it on the opposite thigh in such way that your left leg on right thigh and right leg on left thigh and place your hands on them showing your palms up. This is known as Lotus Pose”

Padmasana in Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Verses 1.44 to 1.49 of Hatha Yoga Pradipika are assigned to Lotus Posture.

Place the right foot on the left thigh and left on the right one and hold firmly the toes by the crossed hands from behind. Press the chin on the chest and look at the tip of the nose. This is Lotus Posture that destroys all diseases. (Verse 44).

Place the feet on the thighs soles facing up and place the hands on groin palms facing up. (Variation). Look at the tip of the nose. Keep pressing the tongue against the root of upper teeth. Keep the chin firmly on the chest and raise the Vayu upwards. (Verses 45-46).

This lotus pose destroys all diseases. It is not easy for all to master. Only the intelligent attains it. (Verse 47)

Sit in Lotus Posture. Place the one palm on the other. Press the chin on the chest. Meditate on Him (The Supreme Entity). Draw Apana up and bring Prana down. Repeat again and again. This way one awakens Kundalini and attains the highest wisdom. (Verse 48)

The Yogi seated in Lotus Pose who controls the Vayu by inhaling and filling attains liberation without any doubt. (Verse 49)

Padmasana in Siva Samhita

According to Verse 3.20, the yogi should go to a remote place or cell, assume Lotus Pose on seat and begin Pranayama practice.

Verses 3.88 to 3.91 talk about Lotus Pose.

I give the details of Lotus Posture that destroys all diseases. By crossing the legs, place the feet on the opposite thighs. Cross the hands and place them similarly (facing upwards) on the thighs. Fix the sight on the tip of the nose. Press the tongue against the root of the (upper) teeth. Draw in the air slowly to the maximum possible capacity and exhale it slowly in a rhythmic stream. (Verse 3.88).

It is not possible for every one. Only the intelligent one gets mastery over it. (Verse 3.89)

By practising this posture, the vital airs of the practitioner at once gets the stable equilibrium without any doubt and the airs flow harmoniously through the body. (Verse 3.90)

By sitting in this posture and knowing the movements of Prana and Apana, the yogi who performs Pranayama attains liberation. I tell the truth. I tell the truth. (Verse 3.91)

Padmasana in Gheranda Samhita

Gheranda Samhita gives the procedure to perform Lotus Pose as below.

Place left foot on the right thigh and left one the right thigh. Cross the hands behind the back and catch hold of the big toes. Place the chin on the chest and gaze on the tip of the nose. This is lotus pose that destroys all ailments. (Verse 2.8).

Conclusion

It is to be noted here that most of the ancient Yoga texts including Yoga Yajnavalkya give steps involved in Baddha Padmasana (Bound Lotus Pose) for Padmasana.