You are on page 1of 8

PADMASANAM

S. R AMA SW A M I
Hathasya Prathamaangatwat Aasanam Poorvamuchyate Aarogyam cha Angalaghavam. Kuryaath Tadaasanam Sthairyam

The above stanza in Hathayogapradeepika of Svaatmaaraama states that Aasanaas are des c rib e d i n f h e f i r s t place as they form the first stage of Hatha Yoga. Aasanas make one firm, free from diseases and feel exrremely l i ght and s u p p l e . B r a h m a a n anda, in h i s c o m m e n t a r y "Jyotsna" on Hathayogapradeepik a s a y s l h a t A a s a n a makes one f irm. as it weakens the Rajogun a( A a s a n e n aR a j o Ha nt i) t hat c a u s e s f i c k l e nes s (V ik s h e p a ) o f t h e c h i t t a . Si n c e as an a s e r a d i c a t e d i s help they tha eases, mi n d t o c o n c e n t r a t e . A c co rdingt o t h e a u t h o r o f Y o g asu t ras , Pa t a n j a l i , " d i s e a s e (vy adhi), du l l n e s s ( s t h y a n a ) , doubt (s am s a y a ) ,i n a t t e n t i o n (pramadha) s l o t h ( a a l a s y a ) , wo rldlines s ( a v i r a t h i ) , f a l s e ) isnot ions (bhr a n t i d a r s a n am si ng es s enti a l s ( a l a b d a b h o o ni k aira) and i n s t a b i l i t y ( a n i va s t hit ha) a r e t h e c a u s e s o f distraction of the mind and

Thc lndian Review

as such 8re tho obstacles for material or spiritual progress. Heaviness of body arises fiom a preponderance of Tamas, and asanas remove thi s. T hough i t i s i m p o s s i b l e to ex plain c l e a r l y a n d r e a l i z e th e im port a n t t f u t h s t h a t underlie t he v a r i o u s a s a n a s , o ti l l t he huma n s y s t e m i s u n . ders t ood in a l l i t s i n t r i c a c y and det ail. i t c a n b e s a i d that t he v ario u s a s a n a s b r i n g ^ about m any im p o r t a n t r e s u l t s , phy s ic al, phy s i o l o g i c a l , p s y ch ologic al,a n d s p i r i t u a l . F o r i n stanc e, d u r i n g s o m e o f them, various nerve centres are ac t iv is e d ; t h e s b e f f e c t i ve l y help t o c o n l r o l t h e i r r e gul a rit ies of t h e b o d y a n d wh at is more f a s c i n a t i n g ,b u t no les s t rue , i s t h e p u r i f i c a t ion of the mental process-the mi n d bec om i n g m o r e a n d mor at t ent iv e ( e k a g r a ) . WELL-KNO W N A S A N A

lowerback, hips. knees, ankles and toes makes it I complete posture. lt gives a very firm base for sitting for pranaya m a , Ja p a o r stu d y. No d o u b t it h o ld s th e fa scin a tio n o f m a n y yo g a a sp ir a n ts. According to Sri Sureshwa r a ch a r ya ,r h e fir st Pith d h ip a th i o f Sr in g e r i Sa n ka r a M u tt, Pa d m a a sa n a , a lo n g with swa stika , g o m u kh a ,a n d Ha m saa r e kn o wn a s Br a h m a a sa n a s, a s g ive n in th e la st Ulla sa ( ch a p te r ) in M a n a so lla sa , a n a u th e n tic, e la b o r a te co m m e n ta r y o n sr i Sa n ka r a b h a g a va tp a d a ' s, Da ksliin a m u r ti Ash ta ka m . T h e n Nr isir n h a , Ga r u d a , Ku r m a a n d Na a g a a r e kn o wn a s Va ish n a va a sa n a m sa n d Vir a , M a yu r a , Va jr a a n d Sid h a a r e Ru d r a a sa n a s. Yo n i a sa n a is kn o wn a m o n g Sa a kth a g r o u p a n d Pa sch im o tta a n a sa n a , is a Sa iva Asa n a m .

leg,

draw

the

right foot closer to the body with the hands and keep i t on top of the left thish, in lin e w i th the groi n. On the n e xt exhal ati on, i n a si mi l ar fa shi on, bend the l 6ft knee and place the left foot on top o f tha ri ght thi gh. N ow , you have a very firm base to sit a n d the l ow er back i s rel i eved o f the outw ard curve normal l y r e q ui red to keep up the b a lance of the body. N ow ke ep the pal ms ful l y coverin g the respecti ve knees, str etch the arms, the spi ne and the neck and keep the ch in on the centre of the b r e astbones, maki ng Jal and h arabandha. B reathenormally.maki nghi ssi ng noi se throu g h the parti al l ycl osedgl otti s. T h is i s P admasana. A fter a fe w breaths, do the posture with l eft knee bent fi rst.

Paclmaasanais one of the we ll-k nown a s a n a sa n d h o l d s ths pride of p l a c e a m o n g s i t t rng pos t ure s . l t e a s i l V f i t s i n to t he def i n i t i o n o f P a t a n - A j a l i on as ana ," S t h i r a S u k h a m ,, Asa nam" which defines i asa nasas s t a y i n g s t e a d y a n d . comfortable, Padmaasana, esp ec iallyit s i m p o r t a n t v a r i ati o n B ad h a p a d m a a s a n a . completely imggilizgsrhe l i mbs and giv e s s t e a d i n e s sr o a marvel among the yogathe yogi's posture. The stretPADM AASANAM : Sit sa n as. One l eel s extremei y up, stretch the legs keep- secure on a firm base, the - ching experienced in all the stubbo(n joints, as the neck. in g b a ck str a ig h t. Exh a le lower back enjoys a freedom sh oulders , e l b o w s , w r i s t s , deeply, bend the right a n d comfort unknow n even

Ini ti al l y there i s bound to b e excruci ati ngpai n, but w i th Sva stika m , g o m u kh a m , d e ep exhal ati on, one shoul d p a d m a m , h a m sa a kya m , b e abl e to sl ow l y rel ax and Bh r a h m a m a a sa n a m ! r e p eat the movements, E speNr isim h a m , g a r u d a m , cia lly peopl e w ho are not ku r m a m , n a a g a kh ya m , u se d to squatti ng may have Va ish n a va a sa n a m lVir a m , p r o bl ems i n tho earl y stages. Mayuram, Vajraakhyam, sid h a kh ya m , r u d r a m a a But once the i ni ti al resi ssa n a m ! Yo n ya a sa n a m ta n ce i s overcome, sl ow l y vid u h u . Sa a kth a m . o n e w i l l start experi enci ng Sa iva m Pa sch im a ta a n a - th e rel axi ng effects of P adka h y;n . m a asana. l t i s undoubtedl y

palms on the respectivg r h ighs, w i th fi ngers poi nti ng inward. Stretch the elbows rnd ralse the trunk ond rhainta i nJaal andharabandha. D o between six and twelvs long in hal ati ons and exhal ati ons with the B andhas. Thi s i s very good for the wrists, shoul ders, neck and the spine. (Refer sketch 2.) P A R V A TA A S A N A M: Inhal eand rai se the arms o verhead, i nterl ock fi ngers, the stretching spine, . shoulders. n6ck, e lbow s and w ri sts. K eep the ch in l ocked i n Jaal andhatab andha. Thi s i s P arvataasa nam. (P arvatha: Hill) Refer Sketch (3). This postu re hel ps to devel op the sh oul ders and make the sh oul der j oi nt suppl e. D eep in hal ati on al so hel ps to e xpand the chest and i s e speci al l y useful for chi l dren, te enagers and young men a n d w omen. l t al so hel ps i o for Pranayama, meditation stretch the abdomi nal musa n d Sa m ya m a s, ( Re fe r cles; and i t i s benefi ci al to th ose sufferi ng from respi rasketch 1 ) to ry ai l ments. There are a numbei of va r ia tio n s in Pa d m a sa n a Afterabout 6 to 12 breaths, wh ich h e lp to ir n p r o ve cir cu - e xhal e. bend at the el bow s, la tio n , str e n g th a n d d e ve lo p lo wer the arms and keep the p a lms on the back of ths the body proportionately. n e ck; w i th the pal ms faci ng BHADRAASANAM : u p w ards the el bow s stretBh a d r a : Pe a ce . Sit in ch ed outw ards and the Pa d m a sa n a m . ln h a le sh oul der bl ades approxi matr a ise th e aams a n d in g each other. On i nhal ati on on e xh a la tio n , raise the arms and on exhalalower the arms and keepthe tion lower them with good

-z

i n a mos t c o s y c o u c h o r s o t a . The body is erect, but relax ed. N a t u r a l l y t h e m i n d will ba relaxed and alert. unpert urbe db y t h e p o s t u r a l di st rac t ions . . P e o p l e p r o n e to bec ome r h e u m a t i c , s t i f f kn ee joint s d u e t o d i s u s e , are benefited. l A f t er a f e w b r e a t h s , o r r e nlay practice, Mulabandha and Uddiy a n a b a n d h a . T h r : s i t is pos s i b l e t o p r a c t i c e Bandhat raya s i n Padmasanam. lt is a good posture

fa

- Kundal i ni Y oga S chool credi t It w i th the aw akeni ng of Kundalini. Stay for a few breaths and return to Parvata asanam. A nothervari ati on woul d requi re pl aci ng' the top of th head on the floor, in stead of the forehead. URD H WA MU K H A , ,M A A S A N A M:
J

PAD.

F ro m P arvataasanam, e x hal e and rol l i ng . back '-tiaei rhe shoulders, ttre p al ms behi nd the buttocks about one foot away and about one foot between the palms.f,.lnhale, press the palms and knees, r a i si ng the trunk and stretching the neck backward. (Refer sketch 5). This acts as a counterpose to Yogamudra. The front portion of the torso is stretched, the llo iw erbacl k al i o gets a massaging effect. The wrists, elbows, arms and n-.ck get r e li eved of the sl i ght pai n encountered in the previous m enti oned posturesas Y ogamudra, Parvataasanam' etc,

stretching of the neck, and who sufferfrom constipation After about 6-breaths, exhilor erraticperis- ing return to.Padmasanam. ohoulder muscles. Repeat 3 and irregular tallisis, lt helps improve ,fl2laising the trunk is done to 6 times. digestionand relieveflatu- ithile exhaling it_is ,Lsnganalance. Yogis belongingto kriya. Y OG A MU DRA: From Paruataasanam. exhale deeply and bend forward touching the floor with the forehead 4 andths armsstretchedoutward (Refersketch4). This good for those is particularly
!

UR D H WA P A D MA S A N A M This posture was describe d i n the D ecember 1977 lssue,but w as i ncl uded as a va ri ati on i n S arvangasanam. T h e same asana can be done fr om S uptapadmasanam. Exhal e, rai se l he trunk, as i n Sa rvangasanarn,but i nstead th e l egs bei ng strai ght they a r e i n P acl masanam. S tay fo r a few breaths (R efer Sketch 4 i n D ecember 1977 lss ue of Indi an R evi ew ). F r om there one may proceed lo do P i ndasanam (R el er Sketch 5 D ecember 19tj ot In di an R evi ew ). R eturn ro Pa rvatasanam.

Sl

SU P T A P A D M A S A N A M F rom P ar v a t a a s a n a m ,s l o wl y ex hale, r o u n d t h e b a c k , rais e t he k n e e s a b i t a n d l i e down on the back completel v. wit h arm s s t r e t c h e d o v e r head and f in g e r s l n t e r l u u k e d and t he I a d m a o o r t i c n a l s o on t he f loor. S t a y f o r a f e w breat hs , do i n g M u l a a n o Ud diy anaba n d h a s a f t e re x h a l ati o n. Ex ha l e , l o w e r t h e a r m s and holdt he t o e s . T r y t os t r e t c h the s pine an d k e e L i t o n t h e ground, t he n e c k a l s o r s stre t c hed s o t h a t t h e c h t n r s not upward b u t t o w a ! d s r h e ch es t . Clos e t h e e y e s a n d o o a fer,r.breaths. This is known asS upt aP ad m a s a n a m ( S u p t aj

L yin g ) . Re fe r Ske tch 6 .)

No w p la ce th e p a lr n s b y th e sr d e o f th e b o d y o n th e g r o u n d . Pr e ss th e p a lm o n e xh a lin g , r a ise th e p a d m a p o r tto n to a b o u t 3 0 . in h a le r e tu r n to Su p ta p a d m a sa n a m . AD H OMU K H A P A D MA S A _ Re p e a tth e r n o ve m e n tsa b o u r NAM : S i t i n padmasanam. Citim e s. T h is h e lp s to \r /o r k Extend rhe arms forw ard and

0*
o n lh e lo we r h ip a n d a lso h e lp s to co u n te r th e a ch e cn e m a y d e ve lo p d u e to str e tch in go f th e b a ck in Su p _ ta p a d m a sa n a m . ( Re fe r Ske tch 7 ) . p la c e the pal ms on the fl oor. l\o w exhate, rai se the hi ps a n d stand on the knees, w i th th e support of the pal ms, F le x the el bow s, and l i e face d o wn, so that the enti re body with the l egs i n padmasanam is on the ground. Now' in h al e, press the pal ms and th e kneesand rai se the trunk, slr etchi ng the arms, el bow s a n d shoul ders. Thi s i s A dhom u khapadmasanam. (R efer ske tch 8).S tay {or a few breaths.Then pressing the pa lms. e xh al i ng, sl ow l y push the

Ysmi naam P admaasanam prochyathe Pl ace the ri ght foot on the le ft thi gh and the l efr foor on th e ri ght thi gh, cross the h a nds behi ndthe back (one s O - o wn back, of course!) and fir mty take hol d of the roes ( th e ri ght toe w i th the ri ght h a nd and the l eft toe w i th th e l eft.) P l ace the chi n on th e breasts and gaze at the tip of the nose (N aasaagra). r e p e a t, ch a n g in g th e le g s' T h is i s cal l ed P admaasanam. p o sitio n . T h is g r o u p is e xce p - It destroys the di seases of tio n a lly g o o d to tJn e u p a ll th e sel f-restrai ned yogtns, th e r h e u m a tic p r o n e jo in ts, ( Yami s). R efer sketch 9. m a ke su ch stu b b o r n jo in ts a s kn e e s, h ip s, sh o u ld e r s su p p - DES TR OY S D IS E A S E S le , im p r o v:s sta m in a , cir cu la tio n a n d g e n e r a l we ll b e in g . Baddhapadmasana requi res It is a co m p a ct a n d a ve r y a very subtl e control of the u se fu l g r o u p fo r p r a ctice fo r d e ep muscl es of the shoul yo u n g m e n a n d wo m e n . d e r s and l egs. l t i s a very, T h e r e a r e a n u m b e r o f o th e r d e ep cl eansi ng exerci se. l f m o r e d ifficu lt va r ia tio n s.On e o n e can stay i n the posture, o f th e m Ba d d h a Pa d m a a sa - d o l ong i nhal ati on and exhan a m is ta ke n u p . la tion i t i s excepti onal l y b e nefi ci al . A s menti oned by Ba d d h a p a d m a sa n ais d e s- Svaatmaarama, and atso cr ib e d a s "Pa d m a sa n a m " in co ntended by authori ti es l i ke m y A charya thot i t removes Hat ayogap radeepi ka. a ll the di seases, emanati ng Va a m o r o o p a r Da i ksh in a mch a fr o m the stomach and abdoCh a r a n a mSa m sth a p yaVa m e nal regi ons, P regnant a m a n T a th a wo men shoul d not practi ce Da ksh o r o o p a r iPa sch im e n a th is aasanam. vid h in a Dh r u th wa Ka r a a b h ya a m P admaasanam, as menti Dh r u d h a m oned before is not merely an An g u sh ta u Hr id a ye Nid h a a ya e xqui si te physi cal posture, Ch ib u ka m Na a sa g r a m a a lo - b u t al so i s bel i eved to hol d kayeth the key for proper meditation Ye ta th Vya a d h ivin a a sa ka a r i a n d rousi ngof K undal i ni .

bac k and b o d y , s o t h a t o n e si ts in Padm a : a n a m a n d t h e upperbody st r e t c h e d f o r w a r d i n Y ogamud r a . I n h a l e , r a i s e trunk bac k t o P a r v a t a s a n a m . Padm as a n a a n d t h e v a r i ati o ns c an b e p r a c t i s e d i n a se ries and i s r e c o m m e n d e d b y our A c h a r y a t o a t t a i n Aas anas idd h ia n d d e r i v e t h e max imum b e n e fi t o f e a c h va rrat ion. lt s a v e s t i m e a n d e ns urest hat o n e w o u l d e x e r ci s e all t he p a r t s o f t h e b o d y . This s eri e s c a n b e d o n e es f ollows : 2. Parva1. P adm a s a n a r n taas anam 3 . S u p t a p a d m a a s anam 4. Urd h w a p a d m a a s a n am 5. P inda a s a n a m6 . P a r v 7. Adhomukhapaataas anam dm as anam 8 . Y o g a m u d r a 9. U rdhwam ukh apadmasan am 11. Pad10. Parv at a a s a n a m mas anam T his s eri e s i s t o b e d o n e a few t im es w r t h t h e r e c o m mendad b r e a t h i n q . T h e n

a chi eved. Thi s i s al so referred to in the Bhagawad Gita. B y the uni on of P raana and the A paana, the Jaatar agni (gastri c acti vi ty) i s aroused and the mythi cal kundal i ni , aw akened by the heat of the gastri c fi re, strai ghtens from out of i ts coi l ed posi ti on and moves upw ard of S ushumna. Then the Praanaand A paana are to be forced through the S ushumna and the uni on of these tw o takes pl ace, w hi ch i s the ul ti mate goal of H athayoga. Wel l , suffi ce ;t to say that P admaasanam i s an excel . lent posture for physical, physi ol ogi cal , psychol ogi cal , w el l bei ng and fcr mysti cal and spi ri tual experi ences. SH A N MU K H IMU D R A A fter a strenuous sl i nt i n vari ous P admaasana lhe vari ati ons, one may w i sh to enj oy the rel axati onobtai ned by such exerci ses. S hanmukhi mudra hel ps i n drrecti ng the attenti on i nw ard. l t i s al so know n as Y oni Mudra. Thsre are some school s w ho state that i t i s al so know n as Saambhavi Mudra. Sit in Padmaasanaor othar conveni ent postures l i ke Sidhasana-Vajrasana may al so be chosen-but P admaasanam appears to bo quit good. Keep the back erect, and head level, without rho

" St ay ing w e l l i n P a d m a a sa nam, with t h e p a l m s , o n e on t he ot he r ( o n t h e l a p ) , { i x the c hin o n t h e c h e s t a n d co nt empla t i n g ( B r a h m a n o r l sht adev a t a ) i n t h e m i n d (c hit t a), re p e a t e d l y r a i s e l h e A paana up w a r d s ( b y c o n t r a cting t he a n u s . w h i c h i s Mulabandh a ) a n d b r i n g t h e inhaled Praana downward (af t er inha l a t i o n ) . B y t h i s a man obt a i n s unequalled through knowledge the F ower of K u n d a l i n i ( w h i c h i s roused by this process)".Hathayogaprad6epika.

9
It co u ld b e o b se r ve d th a t ss a fu r th e r e xte n sio n o f th e p r a ctice su g g e ste d e a r lie r , th e M u la b a n d h a sta r te d a f te r Ba h ya Ku m b h a ka is m a in ta in e d o n in h a la tio n a lio . An d b y m e a n s o f M u la b a n d h a a n d Ja la n d h a r a b a n dha both the passage of the d o wn g o in g Ap a a n a a n d th e upgoing Praana are sealed, so to say. Then by forcing the Prana downwards and Ap a a n a u p wa r d s, th e u n io n o f Ap a a n a a n d Pr a a n a is

tion of eyeballs. One should not press the eyes hard. but a very mild pressure is !o be maintained so that it is barely felt. The ring fingers close th e nostri l s Farti al l yand the little fingers are kept at the sid e of the cl osed mouth. T h e attenti on i s di rected towards the middle of eyeb r o w s. One may fol l ow the lOb r e al h. S tay for about fi ve m inutes. (R efer sketch 10). Thi s i s a very rel axi ng p r o cedure and may be adopie d after a strenous day's work, or even before starting o r after P raanyamam, l t hel ps to cal m the mi nd as the senses are under control, practi sed e speci al l y w hen in a noiseless. clean place devoid of unpleasant gllEgg a n d other di stracti ons, l i ke in sects, mcsqui tos etc. Jaalandhara b a n d h aR . a i s et h e arms, keeping the elbows at sh oulder lev e l . C l o s e t h e e a r wi th t he t h u m b s ; t h e f o r e fin g e r a n d m id d le Iin g e r s ovet the closed eyelids, the forefinger above and the m id d le fin g e r b e lo w th e p o siI t coul d be a good exercise for Praty._a"akara-or cleansin g the senses by thei r w i thd r aw al and di recti ng i nw ards.

***

*i