The Padmasana Lotus Position is a seated yoga posture that is specifically intended for meditation. This particular pose is considered to be the oldest among all the yoga poses and was traditionally taught as the primary posture before learning any other poses in ancient times. Nowadays, it is classified as one of the advanced groups of postures. Practicing this pose helps to alleviate muscular tension in the lower body and enables the practitioner to enhance their focus on the object of meditation.
This guide on Padmasana discusses its meaning, steps, benefits, and many other aspects in a comprehensive manner.
|English Name||Lotus Pose|
The Sanskrit word Padma means the lotus. Hence, its English translation is Lotus Posture. The posture is called 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 Padmasana show that this yoga position was prevalent then.
Yoga Yajnavalkya which is one of the earliest yoga texts, compiled well before the second Century CE describes the steps for performing this yoga position.
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 this Pose is found in the coin that belongs to the period of Chandragupta II (380 CE to 415 CE).
From this evidence, we can conclude that Padmasana was in practice well before 2,600 years ago.
Lotus Pose Procedure
Padmasana Precautions and Contra-Indications
The performance of this yoga pose is possible only when one has the flexibility of hip joints and knee joints. Those who are having the following issues should avoid attempting this posture or perform under a competent yoga supervisor.
- Sacral ailments
- Knee disorders
As we have already seen, the flexibility of hips and knees is the prerequisite for mastery over this yoga position. To open the hips, one should resort to the following yoga poses and practices.
- Sukhasana or Easy Pose
- Janusirsasana or Head to Knee Pose
- Gomukhasana or Cow Face Pose
- Titali-Asana or Butterfly Pose
- Ardha Matsyendrasana or Half Matsyendranath’s Pose
- Baddha Padmasana or Bound Angle Pose
- Ardha Padmasana or Half Lotus Pose
Sit on the floor with your legs stretched.
Then, bend one leg, say the left leg, and place the foot on the other thigh so that the sole is placed as near the pelvic bone as possible.
Similarly, bend the other leg and place the foot as in the previous step. Head and spine should be erect and be in a straight line and both your right and left knees should touch the ground.
Place the hands on the knees in Jnana Mudra or Chin Mudra. Then, close the eyes and place the mind in between the eyebrows. Keep your breathing as slow as possible.
After performing the posture with the left leg as mentioned in step 2, you should change the posture with the right leg. If you have used the right leg, you should change that to the left one. This is to obtain balanced flexibility on the two sides.
For a beginner, it is not possible to retain the posture for more than one or two minutes. Slowly the duration may be increased to three hours or more. The aspirant achieves mastery only when he is capable of retaining the posture for more than three hours. Once reached this milestone, it will be easier for him to proceed to the higher levels of yoga
Immediately after performing this yoga pose, one should resort to any one of the following postures.
The consistent practice of this yoga posture provides the following benefits.
- It gives stability and peace of mind and thereby serves as an aid to Meditation and Pranayama
- Also, this yoga pose helps awaken Kundalini
The therapeutic benefits of this pose include both physical and psychological benefits.
- Blood circulation in the lower part of the body is restricted thereby increasing digestive power.
- It activates the Parasympathetic Nervous System and thereby decreases the amount of stress and anxiety
- Lotus Posture provides progressive relaxation that reduces High Blood Pressure and pulse rate
- It helps in Cardiac Rehabilitation after myocardial Infarction
- This position for 30 minutes shows an increased subtle energy level in all acupuncture meridians.
The following yoga postures belong to the group Lotus posture.
- Ardha Padmasana or Half Lotus
- Tulasana or Scale Pose
- Baddha Padmasana or Bound Lotus Pose
- Kukkudasana (Cockerel Pose)
- Upward Lotus Pose
- Yoga Mudrasana or Psychic Union Pose
Lotus Pose in Other Asanas
Apart from the variations of this posture, it is combined with other yoga postures.
- Padma Mayurasana or Lotus Peacock Pose
- Padma-Sirsasana or Lotus Head Stand
- Sarvangasana or Lotus Shoulder Stand
- Padma Simhasana or Lotus Lion Pose
Classical Yoga Texts
The earliest mention of this Posture was in the Yoga Sutra commentary by Maharishi Vyasa. Yoga Yajnavalkya also mentions this pose.
According to Yoga Yajnavalkya, this position is formed by placing both 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 the right thigh and right leg on the left thigh and place your hands on them showing your palms up. This is known as the Lotus Position”.
Hatha Yoga Pradipika
Verses 1.44 to 1.49 of Hatha Yoga Pradipika describe this posture, its importance, and its benefits.
Place the right foot on the left thigh and the left on the right one and hold firmly the toes by the crossed hands from behind. Also, press the chin on the chest and look at the tip of the nose. This is the Lotus Posture that destroys all bodily diseases. (Verse 44).
Place the feet on the thighs soles facing up and place the hands on the groin with palms facing up. (Variation). Look at the tip of the nose. Keep pressing the tongue against the root of the upper teeth. Keep the chin firmly on the chest and raise the Vayu upwards. (Verses 45-46).
This pose destroys all diseases. It is not easy for all to master. Only the intelligent attains it. (Verse 47).
Sit in Lotus Posture. Place 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 this posture controls the Vayu by inhaling and filling. He attains liberation without any doubt. (Verse 49).
According to Verse 3.20, the yogi should go to a remote place or a cell, assume this Pose on the seat, and begin Pranayama practice.
Verses 3.88 to 3.91 describe this position more.
Here are the instructions for performing the posture that eliminates all diseases. Begin by sitting in a cross-legged position and placing your feet on the opposite thighs. Next, cross your hands and position them in the same manner, with palms facing upwards on your thighs. Direct your gaze towards the tip of your nose. Press your tongue against the upper teeth. Inhale slowly, filling your lungs to their maximum capacity, and exhale steadily and rhythmically. These steps are outlined in verse 3.88.
It is not possible for everyone. Only the intelligent one gets mastery over it. (Verse 3.89).
By assuming this practice, the vital airs of the practitioner at once get a stable equilibrium without any doubt and the airs flow harmoniously through the body. (Verse 3.90).
By sitting cross-legged 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).
Gheranda Samhita gives the procedure to perform this Pose as below.
Place the left foot on the right thigh and the right one on the left thigh. Cross the hands behind the back and catch hold of the big toes. Place the chin on the chest and gaze at the tip of the nose. This is the Lotus Pose that destroys all bodily ailments. (Verse 2.8).
It is important to highlight that most ancient Yoga texts, like Yoga Yajnavalkya, offer guidance on the different phases of Baddha Padmasana, commonly referred to as the Bound Lotus Pose, which is a modified version, and refer to it as the Lotus Pose. Therefore, it is not feasible for everyone to execute this posture exactly as described in the texts. Even attempting a simpler variation of this pose can prove to be extremely challenging for the majority of individuals.