The name “Padma” means “Lotus” in Sanskrit, in this posture, the position of legs seems like a lotus therefore the name of this asana is Padmasana.
This asana is more popular because most of the gods in Hinduism use this asana whenever they are shown sitting in a meditation stage like Lord Shiva, Mahatama Buddha, etc.
Padmasana is also known as one of the best asanas for prolonged meditation as the body becomes completely stable. This posture seems difficult in the beginning but with the regular practice, it is perfected. By the practice of this posture, the position of legs and feet provides a firm base as if made of stone.
Nowadays people lose their natural flexibility and agility by spending most of their time sitting in couches, and chairs by which they feel discomfort when they sit any cross leg posture. Padmasana or any sitting pose requires the flexibility of hips joints, lower back, thighs, and pelvis. These sitting poses increase the flexibility and mobility of joints which help in reducing the chances of Arthritis, help in losing weight, reducing blood pressure level, etc.
Breathing should be natural and deep, or ujjayi.
For Beginners (Ardh Padmasana)
Sit on the mat with straight legs in front of the body and slightly separate the feet.
Then bend your left leg put it over your right thigh and press the knee with the left hand.
The position of the right leg should be straight.
Then change the position of the legs and try again.
One other variation is that put your left leg over the right thigh and then bend your right leg and place it under the left thigh, then press the knee again.
After practicing Ardh Padmasana again sit on the mat with a straight leg in front of the body.
Bend the left leg, place it over the right thigh and then, bend right leg place it over the left thigh.
The soles should be facing upwards with the heel touching to the lower abdomen.
In the end, both the knees should touch to the floor.
Next, close the eyes, straight the spine and neck, and the position of hands in Gyan or Chin Mudra.
Advance Variation (Baddha Padmasana)
Remain the same in the position of Padmasana.
Then, cross your arms behind the body, grasp the right toe with the left hand, and left toe with the right hand.
The one whose legs are flexible can do this posture easily.
Before starting this posture, practice the simple variation of padmasana.
Focus on the nose tip or close the eyes for meditation.
Precaution and contra-indications
Beginners are needed to make the hips, knees, and ankle flexible before starting the practice of Padmasana.
In the beginning, hold the posture for a short time period and gradually increase the time.
Those who are suffering from sciatica, sacral infection, weak or injured knee are not allowed to do this practice
Benefits of Padmasana
This posture is very helpful for achieving physical and mental stability and peace.
It had been shown that during such asana sensation rises up through the lower spinal column to the brain which helps to calm the mind and nervous system.
The experience of mental relaxation provides benefits to our physical health.
During this asana lower base becomes strong which provides stability and helps to reduce the muscular tensions, reducing the blood pressure.
By holding this position for long the circulation of blood is reduced in the area of the lower limb and increases the flow of blood in the abdomen which increases the digestive fire and improves the appetite.
Padmasana is counted as one of the best asanas for the practice of meditation because it locked the lower limb which makes the strong base for the spinal column. When the body becomes stable then the mind becomes calm and this calmness is the first step for stable and long meditation.