The Lotus posture, or Padmasana in Sanskrit, can be considered the most important posture in the practice of Astanga Yoga. The aim of Astanga Yoga is to enable the body to sit in the Lotus pose for meditation, in order to improve breathing and physical stability.
The most important thing about the Lotus posture is to sit upright, with the spine elongated, breathing softly and smoothly, without feeling any discomfort on the knees or ankles. The lotus posture can cause extra stress on the knees and hip joints, so in case of discomfort it is best to abandon the posture and try the half-lotus or a simple crossed leg position, until the body is flexible enough to practice the lotus pose comfortably.
Start in a sitting position, placing the right foot on the left thigh and the left foot on the right thigh with the soles of the feet facing up. So, the feet should be upturned and the toes should rest against the lateral sides of the thighs. Keep the chest open, and the spine straight and elongated.
Exhale and bring your hands to your knees with the palms facing upward, making the seal of consciousness (chin mudra) by bringing your index finger and thumb together, helping to circulate energy around the body.
Bring the chin down slightly toward the throat, making a throat lock (jalandhara bandha). Hold this position for about 10 breaths and increase each time, as long as it is comfortable.
The lotus pose helps to improve meditation, strengthen the back, help to reduce belly fat and clean the body, as it improves the functions of the digestive and excretory system.
This is a good posture to finish your yoga session with. Alternate the foot positions between each yoga practice.
Variations of the Lotus pose:
Interlock the elbows and place the palms of the hands against one another.
Lifted Lotus Pose (Utthita Padmasana)
This posture helps to strengthen the muscles and joints.
The lotus posture is the most significant symbols of yoga, as it brings a feeling of relaxation and tranquillity to the mind. It signifies a sense of floating in water and yet secured firmly to earth by a single strong thread.