Pose of the Week: Padmasana

Saturday, 03 August 2019 14:51
This week’s pose is Padmasana; Lotus Pose.
From The Serpent Power by Arthur Avalon (Sir John Woodroffe)
It’s an easily identifiable pose and most of us relate this asana (pose/posture) with yoga. It has a place in almost every yogic tradition. Why?
It is a seated asana used for pranayama (breathing exercises) and meditation. In Light on Yoga BKS Iyengar says “After the initial knee pains have been overcome, Padmasana is one of the most relaxing poses. The body being in a sitting posture, it is at rest without being sloppy. The position of the crossed legs and erect back keeps the mind attentive and alert.” (p.101)
It is the symmetry of the pose that provides this, more so than sitting in Simple Crossed Leg position (Sukhasana/Swastikasana). The base of the pose is stable providing a strong foundation for the lifted spine. As Hans-Ulrich Rieker states in The Yoga of Light - Hatha Yoga Pradipika: “The rib cage is expanded and the lungs and shoulders strengthened, the spinal column is straightened out, and the abdominal muscles stretched: an exemplary posture from a sheer physical point of view.” (p.58)
Padmasana therefore allows the structure of the body to be held completely steady for a long period of time. When the body becomes steady then the mind becomes calm, slowing the breath, then Pranayama can be done, leading into Dhyana (meditation).
Pranayama is the movement and control of the breath or prana. Prana can be defined as energy or life force. The flow of prana (see Paryankasana blog) can move upward from the base of the posture, the perineum, to the crown of the head. 
The base of the posture is the bent legs with the feet on top of the thighs. This forms the shape of the lotus flower. This flower is regarded as a sacred flower. It symbolises spiritual enlightenment. Its large and colourful bloom rises out of the muddy environment in which it dwells without residue on its petals. It re-blooms mysteriously every morning after returning to the muddy depths each night, rebirthing each new day.
BKS Iyengar in Padmasana in Light on Yoga (1966)
A similar directional energetic flow can be present when seated in Padmasana and during Pranayama. This activity flow of energy moves through an energy channel called Susumna Nadi, this energetic movement is referred to as Kundalini. BKS Iyengar says: “Kundalini is the Divine Cosmic Energy in bodies. It is symbolised by a coiled sleeping serpent in the lowest bodily centre at the base of the spinal column. This latent energy has to be awakened … [and passes] through the six chakras, the subtle centres in the body, the fly-wheels in the nervous system of the human machine.” (Light on Yoga p.100) 
More on the chakras in weeks to come….
Next Workshop is the Rope Kurunta Workshop - literally ‘fun with ropes’. Next Sunday 11 August 2-4pm. Includes afternoon tea. Book your place: https://yogapath.punchpass.com/passes/64254
See you on the mat :)
Nicole Schroeter
Certified Iyengar Teacher
Yoga Path
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