Padamasana makes sitting up straight easier. The thighbones and knees fall to the floor, keeping the seat grounded. With the spine erect we can take advantage of the open chest, ready to breath deeply. The torso elongates, chest expands.
Why Is This Pose Named After the Lotus Flower?
Lotus flower seeds grow at the bottom of murky waters. With the roots holding firmly to the ground beneath, the flower makes its way to the top, in its quest to reach for the sun. For all the muck it goes through, the flower takes care not to stain its petals. The flower rises above the murky waters.
Our seat is the seed, rooted firmly. The spine represents the stem, reaching upwards, taking the flower to higher ground. Rooted, but moving up. According to the book, Myths of the Asanas: Stories at the Heart of the Yoga Tradition, the muck symbolizes avidya, “the misunderstanding of ourselves as something other than divine.” Divine doesn’t mean we are gods, but that all of us are nature’s beings, capable of elevating ourselves.
“Symbolically, the sun represents illuminated knowledge, or ultimate truth.” When we quiet the mind and meditate, this is what we strive for.
The journey of this sacred flower reflects the journey of the yogi. We are rooted in the earth, absorbed the the endless cycle of birth, deaths, sicknesses, tragedies, celebrations, bills, apartment leases, and family relations. The yogi knows this muck as the dirt of avidya, the great mistake of identifying ourselves with something other than our divine nature.Myths of the Asanas: Stories at the Heart of the Yoga Tradition | Alanna Kaivalya and Arjuna van der Kooij
Lotus flowers “bloom all over the world, and they don’t make a big deal about it. They know that to bloom is their ultimate goal and that it’s worth continuously reaching through the distortion to find the ultimate light. The struggle is just part of the process, and the result is pure beauty.”
Once the hips and ankles open, we should find comfort in padamasana. When entering lotus pose, flex the feet. This protects the knees and keeps the legs engaged. Try switching the top leg if you have the full pose.
- Place blocks under the knees or sit on a rolled blanket in order to elevate the hips above the knees.
- Bend knees and nestle the feet next to the groin area instead of placing the feet on top of opposite thighs if the hips feel tight.