Definition - What does Padmasana mean?
Padmasana is the Sanskrit name for a renowned yoga asana, otherwise known as Lotus Pose. It is a seated posture, in which the legs are crossed and the feet are positioned on top of the opposite thighs at the hip crease. The term is derived from two Sanskrit roots; padma, meaning "lotus" and asana meaning "seat" or "posture".
To practice padmasana:
- Begin by sitting with the legs extended and the spine upright.
- Bend the right knee, and cradle the lower right leg to bring the foot towards the left thigh.
- Place the outer edge of the right foot in the left hip crease with the sole facing towards you.
- Repeat this with the left leg, bringing it on top of the right one so that the legs are crossed.
- Once in this position, the hands can rest on the knees, with the option to form a mudra.
Padmasana is an intermediate to advanced pose which requires a great deal of flexibility in the knees and hips. As such, practitioners should warm up the body with mobility exercises prior to practicing this pose. If the top knee does not reach the floor, a blanket or block may be used for support. Beginners may work towards padmasana by first practicing ardha padmasana (half lotus pose), in which only one foot is placed in the hip crease. Those with injured or weak ankles or knees, sciatica or severe back pain should avoid practicing padmasana.
The English name for padmasana is lotus pose.
Yogapedia explains Padmasana
Padmasana is one of the most ancient yoga poses, believed to predate Hatha yoga. It comprises one of the four principle asana of The Hatha Yoga Pradipika, alongside siddhasana (accomplished pose), bhadrasana (gracious pose) and simhasana (lion pose), all of which are seated postures. Traditionally, asana means "seat" and the term was originally only intended to refer to these four postures for meditation.
This asana is traditionally used in meditation practice, as it encourages the body to be physically stable. Since padmasana promotes an upright spine, this pose allows the breath to slow and deepen, enabling prana to flow freely and the mind to enter a meditative state. In padmasana, the body’s resemblance to a lotus flower is believed to be symbolic of the practitioner’s consciousness blossoming.
Padmasana is also widely used as a meditation posture across other religious and spiritual traditions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Tantra. As such, it can often be found in depictions of ascetics and deities such as Shiva, Gautama Buddha and the Tirthankaras. The pose is symbolic of meditation, as much in Western culture as in Eastern religious and spiritual contexts. In Chinese and Tibetan Buddhism, padmasana is also known as Vajra position.
Padmasana is considered to be the ideal posture for practicing meditation and pranayama, since the body is supported with minimal muscular effort, thereby allowing the practitioner to find stillness with ease. Additionally, regular practice of padmasana provides the following overall health benefits:
Relieves muscular tension
Opens the hips
Reduces menstrual discomfort
Lowers blood pressure
Increases flexibility in the knees and ankles
Increases blood flow to abdominal and reproductive organs
Prepares the body for childbirth
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