The lotus pose or padmasana is a great pose with which to continue one's learning curve in yoga. Since it's so importantly connected with mental and spiritual benefits, this pose is one worth cultivating. It may also be used as an additional prop to other poses one can already do. This column is directed at those who already practice yoga and can do the lotus pose with ease, holding it for longer.
The lotus pose which came naturally to Indians just a few generations ago, has today become a difficult asana or pose. This is largely due to lifestyle changes: the westernised toilet in place of the Indian-style one, the use of the chair rather than the floor on which to seat oneself, the reduced use of legs for various activities combined with gadgets that discourage the use of our legs. The main culprit being a largely sedentary lifestyle and the choice of rest or reclining as the most preferred way to unwind.
In such a scenario, unfortunately, the lotus pose is not just difficult but also aggravates existing problems in those who attempt it late in life. Such problems include knee pain, lower backache, hip pain and arthritic problems. However, if you already have a healthy yoga practice and enjoy flexibility, this pose is worth cultivating.
It enhances mental focus by redirecting the flow of blood, that drains towards the lower limbs, by pushing it upwards to the torso and the spine. The digestive tract, often referred to as the 'second brain' because of its close link and reactions to our emotional selves, is serviced as well as the brain.
Shameem Akthar, yoga acharya trained with the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center, Kerala, shows you how to up the ante in your yoga practice with the lotus pose and its five variations.
Point to note:
If sitting or holding the lotus for long, when you release the legs, wriggle the toes lightly, shuffle the legs up and down, to restore blood circulation back in them, before either standing or moving about.
Some of these poses are advanced poses and meant only for those who already have a thriving yoga practice.
Text: Shameem Akthar
Photographs: Jahnavi Sheriff
Catch more of Shameem's yoga writings and about her upcoming workshops at jaisivananda.blogspot.com
Harmony Foundation recently published Shameem Akthar's book, Yoga for Silvers. To place an order, please write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
This article only attempts to enthuse readers towards yoga practice and complement your existing practice. Yoga is best learnt under the personal guidance of a teacher.
Also read: Yoga relief for the summer heat!