Everyone can imagine what a lotus flower looks like. It looks like water lilies growing in ponds, lakes and rivers of our country. Examining the lotus carefully, we can observe that this flower lives in several natural elements at once: the roots of the flower are at the bottom of the reservoir in the ground, the trunk and leaves live in the water, and the lotus is in the air, and its delicate petals are facing the sky and heated rays of the sun.
Lotus position - A well-known asana in the yoga world, it is called padmasana, as well as kamalasana, but rarely. “Padma” and “Kamala” mean ‘lotus’ in Sanskrit, and “asana” means ‘pose’. This asana is one of the most bewitching poses in yoga, but at the same time it is very inaccessible. Why are people who have embarked on the path of yoga so eager to master this position of their legs? Why is it difficult for a modern European person to sit in the lotus position? What is the effect of the lotus position? How to sit in the lotus position? I will try to answer all these questions and understand this asana, relying on the sayings of the ancient sages, experienced yogis, scientific literature and my own practice.
Why are people who have embarked on the path of yoga so eager to master this position of the legs?
In various ancient Eastern religions, the lotus flower occupied a special place and was represented as a symbol in their philosophy.
- In ancient Egypt, the lotus was correlated with the universe, and it was the throne for the gods. The lotus flower growing along the banks of the Nile was a symbol of supreme power.
- In ancient times, in Greco-Roman culture, the lotus was a symbol of Aphrodite (Venus).
- In Tibetan philosophy, the lotus flower means higher spiritual knowledge.
- In China, the lotus was treated as a sacred plant that embodies purity and innocence.
- In India since ancient times, lotus has been of great importance and has been closely associated with the faith and culture of this country. The Indian deities Vishnu, Brahmu, Lakshmi are associated with this blooming flower, also in Indian philosophy the lotus is associated with human wisdom, and the lotus stem is associated with the beauty and posture of the main characters of Indian literature.
Everyone who begins to practice yoga (I mean the practice of asanas now) believes that this comes down only to physical training aimed at improving health (I was no exception to this error), but sooner or later people begin to feel the need for awareness the essence of yoga, the desire to understand its fundamental principles and come to the goal of yoga - self-development, enlightenment, overcoming mental and physical illnesses.
Patanjali's Yoga Sutras say that "the asana should be fixed and comfortable." The question arises: does this statement apply only to the lotus position or to all asanas? In what other asanas can the following steps of yoga be performed comfortably and motionless: pranayama, pratihara, dhyana?
Reading various books and authoritative discussions on yoga, one encounters the fact that they describe meditating yogis sitting in the lotus position; the illustrations related to yoga always feature the lotus position, in many oriental traditions, the lotus position is the best position for internal practices.
In Hatha Yoga Pradipika, the Lotus Position is described as the destroyer of all diseases, and only a few wise men on earth can achieve this position.
Some yoga books describe the virtues and benefits of the Lotus position with the following sentences: “A person sitting in the Lotus Position for at least fifteen minutes daily with his eyes closed, focusing on God - the lotus in the heart - destroys all sins and quickly reaches moksha (freed from the cycle of birth and death (samsara), and also gets rid of all suffering through the realization of his integrity with God)».
An important rule and condition for asanas is formed by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutra: staying in it should be fixed and comfortable. Does this mean that performing the asana will require a minimum of effort and will only be convenient, while it does not matter how difficult it is to perform.
Sustainability is inherent in many asanas, but, of course, the moment of exclusively internal stability prevails in the Lotus Position, in which the performance of pranayama and meditation is much more convenient.
It is a yoga practitioner who, having overcome the initial pain in the hip joints (remember that we do not suffer pain in the knees), understands in the Lotus Position all the charm of what is happening to him, when every part of the human body is harmonized, and the mind and breath become even and calm.
Why, then, is it the lotus position that is the main yoga posture for meditation?
And by the way, not only with yogis. In many spiritual traditions, Padmasana is the optimal posture for meditation. The thing is that crossing our legs into such a strong castle, we block the flow of energies in the lower part of the body, thereby excluding the lower part of the body from the process. In addition, it is believed that in padmasana the downward energy, apana-vayu, is reversed, thereby not only qualitatively improving meditation (if I may say so), but also removing energy blocks and clamps, or, as Christians would say, washing away sins . All this facilitates the movement of the Kundalini up.
On a purely physiological level, padmasana is also the most ergonomic posture for long sitting with crossed legs. Of course, provided that you own it freely. The fact is that the closer the knees to the floor, the more directly the back is fixed, and the less its muscles are included in the asana retention. Try yourself to sit down, for example, in Turkish with your knees raised high - your back immediately rounds off by itself. Lower your knees below - she will straighten. Of course, there are all kinds of deviations, we are all different, but in general, the body works just like that. Padmasana firmly fixes her knees by the floor. Again, I repeat, under the condition of free mastery of it, i.e. quite inverted hip joints.
How to sit in the lotus position
Starting to master padmasana, striving for immediate success, many people forget one simple thing: to reach the lotus position, one should not stretch the knees, but the hip joints. Nature conceived man in such a way that our knees bend only in the “forward-backward” direction, but not “right-left” in any way, as some often think. The result of such an error can be irreversible processes that can only be solved surgically. There are many preparatory asanas for the development of the hip area, the most effective of them are jana sirshasana and various interpretations of the butterfly pose, which is also performed in a dynamic version.
How to sit in the lotus position and what does it depend on?
To perform this asana, you need some training. Hindus believe that the lotus position is obtained the first time in people who are pure in soul. In other words, your success depends on the state of the energy industry. But not everything rests on high matters. More often, problems lie in the innate features of the body or in the absence of stretch marks. Sometimes the structure of the hip joint is such that sitting in the lotus position seems impossible, but in practice there is not a single person who could not cope with this task, albeit with some delay. In order to prepare the ligaments and tendons for the development of the main yoga exercise, you need to spend some time.
Not everyone is able to feel comfortable and relaxed in the lotus position. Over time, the ligaments will become more elastic, and the feeling of tension and discomfort will pass. The lotus position, correctly performed, has a beneficial effect on the physical, mental and energetic state of a person.
Why is it difficult for a modern European person to sit in the lotus position?
The position of the crossed legs for a modern European person is unusual and completely unusual for him due to the fact that he mainly uses in everyday life various pieces of furniture that relax his body, and his hips only enslave. Just as shoes enslave our feet, so do all these pieces of furniture do not contribute to the emancipation of the lower spine, pelvic region and joints. People of the East and Asian type are another matter, they have been sitting in the pose of crossed legs since childhood, and this helps the disclosure of the hip joints. For example, in India, the Lotus Position is a hereditary, innate pose and does not cause any difficulties. European modern man sits on a chair for most of his life, and his joints are not stretched in the legs, pelvis and back, so most modern people can not even sit on the rug for long, stretching their straight legs forward, while not rounding the spine.
The main thing that interferes with crossing the legs in the "lotus" is the ligamentous-muscular apparatus in the hip joint (and karma ed.), which is difficult to disclose, and it is necessary to approach this gradually, therefore, it is necessary to work on opening the hip joints longer, using the pelvic bones, joints, ligaments and lower back more. There are people to whom the Lotus Pose is given immediately and easily, while others will have to work hard a lot of time. The flexibility and softness of the ligamentous-muscular hip apparatus in people is different, someone has endowed the rigid structure of the pelvic girdle with some people, and due to the anatomical nuances they may require a longer amount of time to open the hip joints. To date, I have not yet sat in the Lotus Position, although Siddhasana has already succumbed to me for a short amount of time, and please note that this does not mean that my yoga practice is inferior, I definitely have an intention.
How to sit in the lotus position without discomfort?
As mentioned above, the most important thing is stretching and preparatory exercises. The better the tendons and ligaments are stretched and warmed up, the less the risk of injuries, the easier it is to complete the exercise. By the way, yoga practitioners are mistaken when they say that they "stretch the muscles." Muscle tissue, in principle, is unable to stretch. All exercises are aimed at increasing joint mobility and tendon elasticity. Consider the most effective preparatory exercises. They will also help to understand what the lotus position looks like. Photos will provide an idea of the exercises.
How to sit in the lotus position?
In Hatha Yoga Pradipika, the lotus position is described by the following sentence: "Place the right heel on the left thigh, the left heel on the right thigh."
When you see how some people easily braid their legs in the "lotus", it seems that this asana is not so difficult, but believe me, this is an illusion. If you do not have enough stretched muscles, ligaments and mobility in the joints, it can hardly be repeated. Some yoga practitioners have the idea that the lotus position is too complex and difficult to perform, and only very naturally flexible people, advanced in yoga practice, or hermit monks can braid their legs in it. But I assure you that these are definitely wrong thoughts! Approaching the Lotus Position and acting correctly and consistently, following common sense and drawing on the experience of wise teachers, you can achieve success in its development.
In the book "Gheranda-samhita" there is a saying: "neither sitting in the lotus position, nor standing on the head, nor mowing the eyes on the tip of the nose is yoga."
Yoga practices that are only suitable for the development of the "lotus", strive for immediate success, forget, or maybe at first simply do not know the basic principles of the structure of the human body (and I was no exception) that in order to sit in the "lotus" in which case it is impossible to pull the knees, but it is necessary to exert effort and have patience in stretching and opening the stiff hip joints. Nature very smartly approached the anatomical structure of man and arranged so that our knees only bend and unbend. Movements such as rotation, abduction or reduction to the right and left are unacceptable for the knee joints, and if this norm is not observed, then this can lead to pain in the knee joint or even permanent damage to the knees, which can only be resolved surgically.
The pose that will lead to the development of the Lotus Pose is Sukhasana, or it is also called the Turkish Seating Pose, you can also try to master Virasana, Baddha Konasana, Jana Shirshasana, Upavishtha Konasana, Pashchimottonasana, Ardha Padmasana nare, where only one lies on the opposite but the closest to the lotus is Siddhasana. To change the quality of these preparatory poses faster, it is advisable, at every opportunity, sitting in front of a computer or musical instrument while reading a book, to be with legs crossed.
It is important for some time to remain in these asanas in a state of immobility and not to use force and pressure on the knees. While in the asana, you need to focus your attention, relax your muscles as much as possible and direct your breathing towards muscle relaxation.
The definitely wrong method of doing the Lotus Pose is to make physical efforts trying to twist your legs into the "lotus". There is no need to injure your knees to achieve the Lotus Position. Moreover, while reading authoritative treatises on yoga, a practitioner should already know that one of the main principles in yoga is not to harm, including your health! A practitioner of yoga should not set an end to the Lotus Pose and turn into a destroyer robot that is set up for self-destruction and will not be able to make normal contact with the world and himself.
The Bhagavad-gita treatise states: "For the moderate in food and temperance, moderate in activity and deeds, moderate in sleep and wakefulness there is a yoga that takes away grief." For example, in the texts of the Naths the following is stated: "A yogi freed from all diseases develops a body that is flexible and soft, like the inside of a lotus stalk, and so enjoys youth and longevity."
St. Anthony in his writings (though not at all about yoga) said (his words can also be attributed directly to the essence of yoga): “There are people who have exhausted their body with asceticism, and, however, have retired from God because they had no prudence ".
From the above quotes, we can conclude that the only true thing is to do nothing with the body such that it will respond with pain or undesirable sensations. B. K. S. Iyengar said: “Yoga is a donkey's work, but the result is magnificent!”
A significant source on the philosophy of yoga "Bhagavad-gita" says: “Only be directed at actions, but turn away from the fruit, let the fruits not distract you, but be not constrained by inaction. Free from attachments, in yoga stands, doing a deed, equating failure with luck: this evenness is called yoga ".
It is necessary to approach the development of the Lotus Pose gradually: if your hip joints are not open enough and there is no inherent flexibility of the legs, then you will not succeed in braiding your legs in this asana right away. However, do not despair, create an intention and zeal with constant awareness and readiness for a long practice, and sooner or later you will conquer this peak.
Exercise number 1. Inclined legs
Sit on the floor and stretch forward one leg, and bend the other and lay on the thigh. Grasp the toe of the straight leg with both hands and, gently springing, begin to bend, trying to touch the leg not with your forehead, but with your stomach and chest. It will be, to put it mildly, unpleasant.
But here it is important to observe the middle ground, not to overdo it and not to give yourself excessive indulgences. Follow the rule that kung fu fighters adhere to in training: do a little more than you can. But yoga would not be yoga, had it been so simple. This system does not provide for victory over oneself through pain. More precisely, yoga teaches how to sit in the lotus position without raping yourself. It's all about breathing. When leaning toward your foot, take a long breath for eight seconds. Hold this position. Then, straightening up, exhale into 4 counts. Repeat the exercise on the other leg, and then bend to the two extended legs.
Exercise number 4. Butterfly with hands
This exercise is a modification of the previous one. It prepares the hip joints for the correct position in padmasan. It practically does not cause discomfort, you can do it while watching TV. The starting position is the same. But instead of leaning forward with your hands, you need to push on your knees, bringing them closer to the floor. Then, grab your feet and use your muscles to rhythmically lower your knees to the floor. В процессе выполнения упражнения вы "проскакиваете" болевой момент, в результате делать его совсем небольно.
Упражнение №5. Растяжка голеностопа
Отвечая на вопрос о том, как садиться в позу лотоса, надо отметить, что в этой асане принимают участие не только связки таза, но и голеностоп. Поэтому следующее упражнение направлено именно на разработку этой группы. Выполняется оно следующим образом. Sit on a chair and place your legs under it so that your fingers are pressed to the floor. Then, with light springing movements, press your foot 10 times to the floor to feel the tension of the ligaments. Another version of the exercise is shown in the photo. The leg with which work is being carried is laid on the thigh of the bent second leg.
Exercise number 6. Asana test
After a month of regular classes, you can try to sit in the lotus position. To do this, bend the right leg and place it with the foot up on the thigh of the left leg. Do the same with the other leg. According to the description, it may not be clear to everyone how to sit in the lotus position. Photos will help you navigate. If it’s very difficult to get into padmasana, try half a lot for a start. In this asana, one leg lies on the thigh of the other, and the second is located as in normal sitting. Another option for a simplified lotus is to simply cross your legs in Turkish.
Exercise number 7. Touching the floor with your stomach
Sitting on the floor, spread your legs as wide as possible. Reach first to one leg, then to the other. Finally, lean forward and touch the floor with your stomach, keeping your legs straight. Most likely, the exercise will not work right away, since it requires a high level of preparation and stretching. Even if you sit down on the twine, there is no guarantee that you will succeed.
The main difficulty is to ensure that the socks are pointing upward when tilted. It depends on the position of the hip joint during exercise. If you succeeded, then you almost understood how to sit in the lotus position.
Exercise number 8. Work with energy
This exercise is more energetic, not physical. Relax as much as possible and imagine that from Cosmos a stream of golden light is pouring on you, filling every cell of the body. Now imagine how you perform, for example, padmasana. Mentally feel the movement of each muscle, each joint. Then slowly open your eyes and go to bed.
Performing this exercise regularly, combined with daily practice and warming up, helps you sit in the lotus position faster. Its effectiveness is based on the statement of classical yoga that our consciousness is a bridge connecting the physical world and the spiritual world. Therefore, it can control our physical body. No matter how fantastic it may seem, the capabilities of the human brain are not yet fully understood. In addition, a group of volunteers who, in addition to training, mentally continued to work on themselves, showed better results than the second group of athletes who took part in one of the studies of American scientists.
Exercise number 9. We work with a chair
Starting position - sitting on the floor with outstretched legs or on a chair. The second option is even preferable. Put the foot of the right foot on the left thigh and with the strength of the muscles try to put the knee of the bent leg so that the foot is turned up. Change legs and continue your lesson.
Yes, many are attracted to the lotus position. How to sit down? A photo with an asana really creates a feeling of simplicity. Meanwhile, yoga is not just a stretch. In asanas, not only ligaments are involved, but also joints, which often move in an unusual direction.
Without a warm-up and preparation, many poses are simply traumatic and threaten a fracture. Therefore, instructors talk about the inadmissibility of tension and excessive pain. Remember: yoga is incompatible with violence, especially with violence over oneself.