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HATHA YOGA PRADIPIKA

Padmasana—Lotus Posture

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Some Important
Pradipika
Postures

 

Cowface Posture
Gomukhasana
Cowface Posture

 

The Bow
Dhanurasana
Bow Posture

 

Other Favorites
Matsyasana
Fish Pose

 

Padmasana
Padmasana
Bound Lotus

 

Relaxation
Savasana
Relaxation

 

Lotus PosturePADMASANA

Having your arms like this is not Padmasana, but the image of Eugenia in the perfect lotus posture just cried out to be in this spot. I had no say in the matter! She sits here in a relaxed Lotus with both knees firmly on the floor and her back straight.

She called Padmasana the Bound Lotus, and sketched it to look like this:

 


 

Bound Lotus Posture
  • This is not an easy posture. And believe it or not, if you practice Yoga daily, you will eventually be able to do this without struggling! (I will have an image of Eugenia doing this in the future. It's on a video of her doing advanced Yoga, which will be converted to a DVD to sell on this site and I will take the images from that.)

Eugenia's Method

  • Extend your right leg (straight) in front of you with the knee relaxed.
  • Bend your left knee and lift your left foot with your left hand on the ankle and right hand around the foot.
  • Lift your foot up off the floor as high as you can and then move it toward you your right thigh (keeping your back straight).
  • If this is easy, put your left foot as high as possible on your right thigh. Hold this position until you begin to feel a very slight tension (not a pain, a tension!). If it is difficult, just hold your foot up off the floor as high as you can without pain, then release. Feel the stretch.
  • Release and shake your foot loose with your hands on your ankle. I don't mean to shake your foot with your foot...but to shake your ankle so that your foot is completely loose and shakes on its own.
  • Extend your left knee and shake your knees loose. Try again. Repeat with your right leg. Do not overdo this, especially if it is difficult for you. Believe me when I tell you ... if it is difficult now and you push yourself, you might never sit in the Lotus. You can cause great injury to your knees if you don't strengthen and stretch them first. Breathe normally while you do this.

If you are very stiff!

  • If the above is too difficult for you, sit with your legs crossed and press your left knee down to the floor as much as you can.
  • When it becomes easy, start trying to get your left foot up on your thigh (as described above), and repeat by pressing your left knee down to the floor.
  • If you left foot feels comfortable on your right thigh, bend your right knee and lift your right foot with your right hand on the ankle and left hand around the foot. Lift your right foot as high as you can on your left thigh. If you get up there, you are in the Lotus Posture. Do not hold this posture in the beginning. Just get the feeling of it for a moment. Keep practicing all of the methods given here, and you will finally be able to sit in the Lotus without negative results.

Why is it important to sit in the Lotus? There are too many reasons to list them all. One reason is how much easier other postures are when you have the ability to sit in Lotus for stability. It is easier to keep the back straight when sitting this way. And, of course, it is recommended to sit in the Lotus for meditation. It is not mandatory, but it makes it much easier to sit straight and be still without discomfort (once it is comfortable to sit in this way).

Eugenia also taught The Butterfly as a preliminary to the Lotus posture (see below).

The Butterfly Preliminary for Lotus

setup
  • This is an easy way to begin. Bring the soles of your feet together as close as possible to your body (as shown in the illustration, left). It doesn't matter if you don't come close at all. Just try to get the soles of your feet together out in front of you and hold them with your hands while you straighten your spine. (There will be another solution if you can't do this.)
  • Clasp your feet with your hands and stretch your back straight again. Inhale as you try to press your knees as close to the floor as possible. Exhale. Inhale as you tilt your head back, stretching your neck.

This is how it looks when it's done right. I am moving to the music on my DVD, YogaNata, in this image.

Butterfly stretch for Lotus
  • My knees will touch the floor with the next beat. Here you are inhaling as you tilt your head and press your knees down. This gives an incredible stretch to the inside muscles of the thighs, knees, feet, back, and just about everything in your body actually. (Note: It's also a great way to get rid of flab in the inner thighs!)
  • I have found that most of my students were unable to keep their back straight, so I had them sit against a wall and press their backs against it while they practiced this posture. If you are not advanced and have never done this before, I suggest doing this until you have strengthened your spine to sit straight without tension.

The next step is to bring your knees up and your chin into your chest:

Butterfly chin down knees up
  • With exhalation, try to press your chin into your chest. Bring your knees up relaxed. Repeat several times, down and up, down and up, like a butterfly (which is why this is its name).

 

 

 

 

  • To stretch the inner thighs even more, try to come forward in the Butterfly pose (after exhalation and drawing in your tummy) with your forehead to your feet. Remember to press the small of your back in towards your navel, so your back is not rounded as you do this (which can cause injury). If you are very limber, this will be easy. If you are not, this will be extremely difficult in the beginning. If you only come a couple of inches forward, just hold wherever you end up, and breathe deeply with your abdomen (keeping your back as straight as possible even while coming forward). The only time to move forward is with exhalation.

  • This is a half-cobra from the knees. It is also one of the best stretches for the psoas muscle, which causes pain for a lot of people in their abdomen or low back.
  • As you can see, Eugenia is also stretching the muscles that will be used for the Lotus posture, and when done on both sides, the knees become more limber.
  • Get into the position first, just as shown here, and then inhale and lift your arms and stretch back as you come forward with your lower body to stretch the muscles in your body all the way from your toes to your fingertips.

  • Here you are doing a preliminary stretch to begin to get one leg at a time in the position for the goal, the Lotus Posture. If you want to learn how to do this correctly, go to the Head to Knee Pose on this site and then come back to this page. There is an entire article on this and it will be very helpful. You will see more images of this stretch. Suggestion: Print that article and staple it to this printout.

  • Note: If you have had serious thyroid problems, do not stretch your neck back here.

Benefits

  • Excellent for removing extra fat from the thighs, while stretching the legs and feet. Good for urinary disorders and hernia. If done daily, this exercise helps to relieve pain during childbirth.

This is how the Pradipika describes this posture (with slight editing to make it understandable):

  • Place your right foot on your left thigh and your left foot on your right thigh. Grasp the toes with your hands crossed over and around your back. (This is for the Bound Lotus, called Padmasana in Hatha Yoga Pradipika, shown above as an illustration.)
  • Press your chin against your chest and gaze on the tip of your nose. This posture is the “destroyer of the diseases of the Yamis.”
  • Variation: Place your feet on your thighs (soles facing upward). Place your hands on the thighs, with the palms upwards. Gaze on the tip of the nose, keeping the tongue pressed against the root of the teeth of the upper jaw, and the chin against the chest, and raise the air up slowly, i.e., pull the air up slowly from perineum, gently upwards.
  • This is considered one of the most powerful asanas to help awaken the Kundalini. Whoever can sit in this posture and control their breath completely is free from physical bondage and attachment while experiencing this.
  • Inhale as you stretch your right elbow up and exhale as you pull your left elbow down. Up and down, up and down with exhalation and stretching at the same time (this is only after you have been able to get your arms crossed behind you and grasped your toes in the Lotus, which is too difficult for beginners to even attempt). This is a powerful stretch for the arms, back, legs, feet and every part of your body. It's sort of a Yoga all-in-one pose for the ultimate stretch of every muscle.

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