Benefits of Padmasana and How to Do it By Dr. Himani Bishtj

September 13th, 2022

Introduction: 

Yoga, as mentioned in various Vedas and Upanishads, focused on meditation, avoiding worldly attachments and attaining harmony between our body, mind and soul. This definition of yoga is completely different in modern world, especially, western countries that focuses on techniques that are posture-based targeting physical fitness and relaxation.  

It is quite interesting to see how ancient amalgamates with modern bringing a beautiful product that is much in demand these days!1 Yoga helps in integration of the internal environment with the external environment so a harmony is achieved in all possible aspects.2 Asanas or postures have gained recognition and admiration as one of the potential approaches to gaining holistic health.3 

What is Padmasana?  

Padmasana [pɑd-mɑ-sɑ-nɑ] is also known as Lotus pose.4 

It is an ancient Indian practice, where a person sits in a cross-legged posture placing his/her feet on the opposite thighs. Lotus pose is an established meditative asana in Hindu, Jain and Buddhist traditions. Padmasana allows the body to be held completely steady for a longer period.5 

Those who feel that the full lotus pose is intense can practice the easier version of Padmasana. In this variation, only one foot is put at the top of the opposite keeping the other foot under the out-stretched thigh. This version is known as the Ardh-Padmasana or Half-Lotus pose.4 

Padmasana helps students in focusing and diminish stress, especially during exams. It holds the wandering thoughts and stabilizes the mind. The steadiness and calmness are the real steps toward meditation.2 The lotus pose also encourages the digestive process and tones sacral nerves (nerves that provide control to the pelvis and legs) by increasing the flow of blood.3 

How to do it? 

To attain maximum health benefits and maintain proper posture, it is essential to follow proper techniques. Christopher Hutton (2014), in his research paper on “Benefits of Yoga Pranayama, Asana, and Meditation Techniques for Classically Trained Singers and Voice Educators” mentions that getting into the lotus pose involves four steps: 

  • Sitting on the floor with legs extended outward, keeping the spine erect. 
  • Slowly bring the right foot on top of the left stretched thigh. The sole should face towards the sky and the heel towards the navel adjacent to the pubic bone.  
  • Once you are relaxed, repeat the same steps with the left foot on the right thigh and crisp of the hip. 
  • Place the hands on the knees and imagine the ascend of breath from the lower abdomen, up the spine to the head. 

The elbows can be slightly bent but the shoulder should not be hunched or elevated. The position can be held as long as the person feels comfortable with eyes closed, thus relaxing the whole body. Essential arrangements like moving forward and backward, should be made to maintain the alignment and balance with accurate posture.2,4  

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Do You Know? 

Padmasana commonly depicts the sitting posture of monks or devotees in Jainism resembling the image of Mahavira constructed in this position.  

Lotus pose or Padmasana refers to “the power to walk over the flames of fire”, which is classified as extraordinary power under ākāśagāmini-ṛddhi also known as Sky-faring powers. It is believed to be the pose granting the extraordinary power to move into the sky. 

It is prescribed that the icons of deities be shown in a worshipful position.  

Goddesses Lakṣmī, Sarasvatī and Amman are found to be seated in padmāsana orardha-padmāsana postures. 

According to the Sakalgamasra-sagraha, sivaracan (invocation of Lord Shiva) consists of five support sets, Padmasana is the posture when invoked lord Shiva is offered flowers through the ceremonial procedure during sivaracana.6 

Benefits of Padmasana: 

Padmasana has several benefits that help in enhancing physical, mental and spiritual health. Some of them are: 

1. Benefits of Padmasana for Managing Diabetes: 

Kumar et al. 2017 mention the study involving 20 patients with diabetes (increased glucose level) subjected to 40 days of yoga, involving Padmasana as one of the postures, showed a decrease in glucose levels and increase s in insulin levels.3 

2. Benefits of Padmasana for Knee Pain: 

Padmasana helps in diminishing the pain of leg and knee joints related to Arthritis (swelling of joints). It also helps in delaying the process of Genu valgum (a condition where knees touch each other while ankles remain apart) caused by arthritis.5 

3. Benefits of Padmasana in Maintaining Stability   

The lotus posture helps in distributing the pressure on the lower spine, thus allowing the body to be steady for a longer time. It helps in securing the base of the body by gripping the trunk and head.2 

4. Benefits of Padmasana in Digestion: 

Padmasana helps in relieving constipation and improves the digestive process. The usual blood flow to the legs is diverted to the abdominal region, aiding digestion.2,3 The improvement in digestive process may help in maintaining body weight. 

5. Benefits of Padmasana for calming the Nervous System 

Padmasana may help in stabilizing the body. Once the body is stabilized, the mind becomes calm. This posture relieves the tight muscles surrounding the spine, thus helping to relax and flushes out the negative thoughts of the mind, which may help in calming the nervous system.2 

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6. Benefits of Padmasana for Singers 

Padmasana or lotus pose is a spine-lengthening asana which may aid in providing balanced posture to the individuals. Singers are recommended to have balanced postures for healthy singing. Improper body alignment might affect lungs restricting overall freedom of voice.2 

7. Other benefits of Padmasana: 

  • It may reduce muscular tension by relieving the tight muscle tissues of the body.2 
  • It may help in opening the hips which can lead to decrease in the load and overuse of the spine.4 
  • It may help in lubricating the knees.4 
  • It may tone the abdominal region.4 
  • It may help in keeping three humours of body namely, wind, bile, and phlegm, in proportion. A change proportion of these humours is the root cause of many diseases like cough, asthma and gastric disorders. 3 
  • It may help in managing stress.4 
  • It may help in increasing the focus and concentration of an individual, especially the students preparing for exams.4 
  • It may also help in toning the sacral nerve.2 

Before starting yoga, always consult a qualified doctor who can assess your physical condition correctly and advise accordingly. Moreover, it is necessary to practice and learn yoga under the supervision of a trained yoga teacher to avoid any injuries. 

Risks of Exercise 

Some of the contraindications related to Padmasana or Lotus pose are: 

  • People suffering from sciatica (pain caused by a compressed spinal nerve in the lower back) should avoid Padmasana.2 
  • Those having weak or injured knees must avoid this lotus pose.2 
  • Patients suffering from the infections in the nerve providing control to the pelvis and leg should not practice this asana.2 
  • Patients with knee pain should practice pre-meditative asanas before doing Padmasana to advance the flexibility required while bending the knee. 2 
  • Padmasana should always be done after a warm-up to prepare your body for deeper stretches and to avoid blood flow restriction. 

With the guidance of a qualified yoga teacher, we can access and analyse the risk factors and continue to practice Padmasana. 

Conclusion  

The Padmasana or lotus pose is described as beneficial for physical and spiritual well-being in ancient literature. The flow of prana (breath) in the Padmasana from the pelvis (area between the abdomen and thighs) to the head amplifies the experience of meditation. The pressure on the lower spine during the lotus pose calms the nervous system. The asana or posture may be recommended and encouraged to attain the best standard of living. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Why is Padmasana called lotus pose?  

The name Padmasana is a Sanskrit word where the Padma is “Lotus” and asana is “posture or sitting”. It is also called as “seat of the lotus flower”. It is a religious meditation posture, especially utilized by yogis and sadhus in India.6 

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Which type of asana is Padmasana? 

The Padmasana is usually the seated asana, where legs are folded with the soles of feet facing towards the sky. It is an ancient Indian established asana in Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain traditions for maintaining steadiness for a longer period.5,6 

Who is not allowed to do Padmasana? 

A person suffering from knee-injury, sciatica and sacral infections are not allowed to do Padmasana. This asana should always be practiced after knee warm-up exercise for better and more effective results.2,5 

How do you sit in Padmasana? 

There are mainly four steps involved in Padmasana. The first position is to sit with legs extended outward and lengthening the spine from the lower end to the top of the head. Then slowly bring one foot on top of the other stretched thigh. The sole should face towards the sky and the heel towards the navel adjacent to the pubic bone. Repeat the same steps with the second foot on the opposite thigh. Concentrate on the breath moving from the abdomen, up the spine to the head. The position is held as long as the person is comfortable.4 

References 

  1. Phor RK. Importance of Yoga in Physical Education and Sports. Academic Discourse. 2013;2(2):42-8. https://indianjournals.com/ijor.aspx?target=ijor:adi&volume=2&issue=2&article=007  
  1. Aili S. Role of Yoga in Preventing and Controlling of Diabetes Mellitus. Journal of Advanced Research in Pharmaceutical Sciences and Pharmacology Interventions. 2021 Sep 23;4(1):1-9. http://www.medicaljournalshouse.com/index.php/PharmaceuticalSci-Pharmacology/article/view/665  
  1. Kumar YS, Nishi J. Yoga and Diabetes Mellitus: Recommendations and Benefits-Systematic. International Journal of Ayurvedic & Herbal Medicine. 2017;7:2651-5. http://interscience.org.uk/images/article/v7-i4/3ijahm.pdf  
  1. Hutton, C., Rogers, R. and Doan, J., 2014. Benefits of yoga pranayama, asana, and meditation techniques for classically trained singers and voice educators (Doctoral dissertation, Arizona State University). https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/79572695.pdf  
  1. Gope, M.C., A Comparative Study on Non-Surgical Treatment of Leg Pain due to Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome and Lateral Compartment Arthritis by the Lotus Posture” Padmasana. CHIEF EDITOR, p.1. https://www.bitmesra.ac.in/UploadedDocuments/adminpharm/files/PHARMBIT%20Jan%20%E2%80%93%20Jun%202013%20XXVII%20(1).pdf#page=3  
  1. Padmasana, Padma-asana, Padmāsana: 32 definitions, Wisdom library. [Internet] Last updated: 10 June, 2022. [Cited: 2022 Aug 19] Available from: https://www.wisdomlib.org/definition/padmasana  

Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.


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