PADMASANAM - ? firm base for sitting for prana-yama, ... Padmasanam. lnhale raise the aams and ...

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PADMASANAMS. RAMASWAMIHathasya Prathamaangatwat Aasanam PoorvamuchyateKuryaath Tadaasanam Sthairyam Aarogyam cha Angalaghavam.The above stanza in Hatha-yogapradeepika of Svaatmaa-raama states that Aasanaasare descr ibed in fhe f i rstplace as they form the firststage of Hatha Yoga. Aasa-nas make one firm, free fromdiseases and feel exrremelyl ight and supple. Brahmaa-nanda, in his commentary"Jyotsna" on Hathayogapra-deepika says lhat Aasanamakes one f irm. as it weakensthe Rajoguna (Aasanena RajoHant i ) that causes f ickle-ness (Vikshepa) of the chi t ta.Since asanas eradicate dis-eases, they help thamind to concentrate. Ac-cording to the author of Yog-asutras, Patanjal i , "d isease(vyadhi) , dul lness (sthyana),doubt (samsaya), inat tent ion(pramadha) s loth (aalasya),wor ld l iness (avirathi) , fa lse-not ions (bhrant idarsana) mis-sing essent ia ls (alabdabhoo-nikaira) and instabi l i ty (ani-vasthi tha) are the causes ofdistraction of the mind andThc lndian Reviewas such 8re tho obstacles formaterial or spiritual progress.Heaviness of body arisesfiom a preponderance ofTamas, and asanas removethis. Though i t is impossibleto explain c lear ly and real izethe important t fuths thatunder l ie the var ious asanas,o t i l l the human system is un.derstood in al l i ts intr icacyand detai l . i t can be saidthat the var ious asanas br ing^ about many important resul ts,physical , physiological , psy-chological , and spir i tual . Forinstance, dur ing some ofthem, various nerve centresare act iv ised; thesb ef fect i -vely help to conlrol the i r re-gular i t ies of the body andwhat is more fascinat ing, butno less t rue, is the pur i f icat-ion of the mental process-themind becoming more andmor at tent ive (ekagra).WELL-KNOWN ASANAPaclmaasana is one of thewel l -known asanas and holdsths pr ide of p lace among si t t -rng postures. l t easi lV f i tsinto the def in i t ion of Patan-ja l i on asana, "Sthira SukhamAsanam" which def inesasanas as staying steady andcomfortable, Padmaasana,especial ly i ts important var i -at ion Badhapadmaasana.completely imggilizgs- rhel imbs and gives steadiness rothe yogi's posture. The stret-- ching experienced in all thestubbo(n joints, as the neck.shoulders, e lbows, wr ists,lowerback, hips. knees, ank-les and toes makes it I com-plete posture. lt gives a veryfirm base for sitting for prana-yama, Japa or study. Nodoubt i t holds the fascinat ionof many yoga aspirants.According to Sri Suresh-waracharya, rhe f i rst Pi thdhi-pathi of Sr inger i SankaraMutt , Padmaasana, alongwith swast ika, gomukha, andHamsa are known as Brahma-asanas, as given in the lastUl lasa (chapter) in Manasol-lasa, an authent ic, e laboratecommentary on sr i Sankara-bhagavatpada's, Daksl i ina-murt i Ashtakam. Then Nris i -rnha, Garuda, Kurma andNaaga are known as Vaishna-vaasanams and Vira, Mayura,Vajra and Sidha are Rudraasanas. Yoni asana is knownamong Saaktha group andPaschimottaanasana, is aSaiva Asanam.Svast ikam, gomukham,padmam, hamsaakyam,Bhrahmamaasanam!Nris imham, garudam,A kurmam, naagakhyam,, , VaishnavaasanamlViram,i Mayuram, Vajraakhyam,. s idhakhyam, rudramaa-sanam! Yonyaasanamviduhu. Saaktham.Saivam Paschimataana-kahy;n.PADMAASANAM : Si tup, stretch the legs keep-ing back straight. Exhaledeeply, bend the rightleg, draw theright foot closer to the bodywith the hands and keep i ton top of the left thish, inl ine wi th the groin. On thenext exhalat ion, in a s imi larfashion, bend the l6f t kneeand place the left foot on topof tha r ight th igh. Now, youhave a very firm base to sitand the lower back is rel ievedof the outward curve normal lyrequired to keep up thebalance of the body. Nowkeep the palms ful ly cover-ing the respect ive knees,stretch the arms, the spineand the neck and keep thechin on the centre of thebreastbones, making Jalan-dharabandha. Breathe norma-l ly.making hissing noise thro-ugh the part ia l ly c losed glot t is .This is Padmasana. After afew breaths, do the posturewith lef t knee bent f i rst .In i t ia l ly there is bound tobe excruciat ing pain, but wi thdeep exhalat ion, one shouldbe able to s lowly relax andrepeat the movements, Espe-cial ly people who are notused to squatt ing may haveproblems in tho ear ly stages.But once the in i t ia l resis-tance is overcome, s lowlyone wi l l s tar t exper iencingthe relaxing ef fects of Pad-maasana. l t is undoubtedlya marvel among the yoga-sanas. One leels extremeiysecure on a firm base, thelower back enjoys a freedomand comfort unknown eventin a most cosy couch or sota.The body is erect, butrelaxed. Natural ly the mindwill ba relaxed and alert.unperturbed by the posturaldistract ions. . People proneto become rheumatic, st i f fknee jo ints due to disuse,are benefited.lAf ter a few breaths, orrenlay practice, Mulabandhaand Uddiyanabandha. Thr:si t is possible to pract iceBandhatrayas in Padma-sanam. lt is a good posture-zfor Pranayama, meditationand Samyamas, (Refersketch 1 )There are a numbei ofvar iat ions in Padmasanawhich help to i rnprove circu-lat ion, strength and developthe body proportionately.BHADRAASANAM:Bhadra : Peace. Si t inPadmasanam. lnhaleraise the aams andon exhalat ion,lower the arms and keep thepalms on the respectivgrhighs, wi th f ingers point inginward. Stretch the elbowsrnd ralse the trunk ond rhain-tainJaalandharabandha. Dobetween six and twelvs longinhalat ions and exhalat ionswith the Bandhas. This isvery good for the wrists,shoulders, neck and thespine. (Refer sketch 2.)PARVATAASANAM:Inhale and raise the armsoverhead, inter lock f in-gers, stretching thespine, . shoulders. n6ck,elbows and wrists. Keep thechin locked in Jaalandhata-bandha. This is Parvataa-sanam. (Parvatha: Hi l l )Refer Sketch (3). This pos-ture helps to develop theshoulders and make theshoulder jo int supple. Deepinhalat ion also helps toexpand the chest and isespecial ly useful for chi ldren,teenagers and young menand women. l t a lso helps iostretch the abdominal mus-cles; and i t is benef ic ia l tothose suffer ing f rom respira-tory ai lments.Afterabout 6 to 12 breaths,exhale. bend at the elbows,lower the arms and keep thepalms on the back of thsneck; wi th the palms facingupwards the elbows stret-ched outwards and theshoulder blades approximat-ing each other. On inhalat ionraise the arms and on exhala-tion lower them with goodfa- Kundal in i Yoga School credi tI t wi th the awakening ofKundalini. Stay for a fewbreaths and return to Parva-taasanam. Anothervar iat ionwould require placing' thetop of th head on the floor,instead of the forehead.URDHWAMUKHA PAD., ,MAASANAM:JF ro m Parvataasanam,exhale and rol l ing . backrhe shoulders, '-tiaei ttrepalms behind thebuttocks about one footaway and about one footbetween the palms.f,.lnhale,press the palms and knees,rais ing the t runk and stretch-ing the neck backward.(Refer sketch 5). This actsas a counterpose to Yoga-mudra. The front portion ofthe torso is stretched, thel lo iwerbaclk al io gets amassaging effect. The wrists,elbows, arms and getrel ieved of the s l ight painencountered in the previousment ioned postures as Yoga-mudra, Parvataasanam' etc,who suffer from constipation After about 6-breaths, exhil-and irregular or errat ic peris- ing return to.Padmasanam.tallisis, lt helps improve ,fl2laising the trunk is donedigestion and rel ieve f latu- i thi le exhaling i t_is ,Lsngana-lance. Yogis belonging to kriya.stretching of the neck, andohoulder muscles. Repeat 3to 6 t imes.YOGA MUDRA:From Paruataasanam.exhale deeply and bendforward touching thefloor with the foreheadandths arms stretched out-ward (Refer sketch 4). Thisis particularly good for those4!SUPTAPADMASANAMFrom Parvataasanam, s lo-wly exhale, round the back,raise the knees a bi t and l iedown on the back complete-lv. wi th arms stretched over-head and f ingers lnter luukedand the I adma oort icn alsoon the f loor. Stay for a fewbreaths, doing Mula anoUddiyanabandhas af ter exhal-at ion. Exhale, lowerthe armsand holdthetoes.Tryto stretchthe spine and keeL i t on theground, the neck also rsstretched so that the chtn rsnot upward but towa!ds rhechest. Closethe eyes and ooa fer,r. breaths. This is knownasSuptaPadmasanam (Supta jLying). Refer Sketch 6.)Now place the palrns bythe srde of the body on theground. Press the palm onexhal ing, ra ise the padmaport ton to about 30 . inhalereturn to Suptapadmasanam.Repeat the rnovements abourCi t imes. This helps to \ r /ork0*on lhe lower hip and alsohelps to counter the achecne may develop due tostretching of the back in Sup_tapadmasanam. (Refer Sket-ch 7).URDHWAPADMASANAMThis posture was describ-ed in the December 1977lssue, but was included as avar iat ion in Sarvangasanam.The same asana can be donefrom Suptapadmasanam.Exhale, ra ise lhe t runk, as inSarvangasanarn, but insteadthe legs being straight theyare in Paclmasanam. Stayfor a few breaths (ReferSketch 4 in December 1977lssue of Indian Review).From there one may proceedlo do Pindasanam (RelerSketch 5 December 19t j otIndian Review). Return roParvatasanam.ADHOMUKHAPADMASA _NAM : Si t in padmasanam.Extend rhe arms forward andplace the palms on the f loor.l \ow exhate, ra ise the hipsand stand on the knees, wi ththe support of the palms,Flex the elbows, and l ie facedown, so that the ent i re bodywith the legs in padmasa-nam is on the ground. Now'inhale, press the palms andthe knees and raise the t runk,s l retching the arms, elbowsand shoulders. This is Adho-mukhapadmasanam. (Refersketch 8).Stay {or a few bre-aths.Then pressing the pa lms.exhal ing, s lowly push theSlback and body, so that onesi ts in Padma:anam and theupperbody stretched forwardin Yogamudra. Inhale, ra isetrunk back to Parvatasanam.Padmasana and the var i -at ions can be pract ised in aser ies and is recommendedby our Acharya to at ta inAasanasiddhi and der ive themaximum benef i t of eachvarrat ion. l t saves t ime andensures that one would exer-c ise al l the parts of the body.This ser ies can be donees fol lows:1. Padmasanarn 2. Parva-taasanam 3. Suptapadmaas-anam 4. Urdhwapadmaasan-am 5. Pindaasanam 6. Parv-ataasanam 7. Adhomukhapa-dmasanam 8. Yogamudra9. U rdh wam u kh apad masa n a m10. Parvataasanam 11. Pad-masanamThis ser ies is to be donea few t imes wrth the recom-mendad breathinq. Thenrepeat, changing the legs'posi t ion. This group is excep-t ional ly good to tJne up al lthe rheumatic prone jo ints,make such stubborn jo ints asknees, hips, shoulders supp-le, improv:s stamina, c i rcu-lat ion and general wel l being.I t is a compact and a veryuseful group for pract ice foryoung men and women.There are a number of othermore di f f icul t var iat ions. Oneof them Baddha Padmaasa-nam is taken up.Baddhapadmasana is des-cr ibed as "Padmasanam" inH at ayog a p ra deep i ka.Vaamoroopar i Dakshinam chaCharanam Samsthapya Va-aman TathaDakshoroopar i Paschi menavidhinaDhruthwa KaraabhyaamDhrudhamAngushtau Hridaye NidhaayaChibukam Naasagramaalo-kayethYetath Vyaadhiv inaasakaar iYsminaam PadmaasanamprochyathePlace the r ight foot on thelef t th igh and the lefr foor onthe r ight th igh, cross theO hands behindthe back (one s- own back, of course!) andf i rmty take hold of the roes(the r ight toe wi th the r ighthand and the lef t toe wi ththe lef t . ) Place the chin onthe breasts and gaze at thet ip of the nose (Naasaagra).This is cal led Padmaasanam.I t destroys the diseases ofthe sel f - restrained yogtns,(Yamis). Refer sketch 9.DESTROYS DISEASESBaddhapadmasana requiresa very subt le control of thedeep muscles of the shoul-ders and legs. l t is a very,deep cleansing exercise. l fone can stay in the posture,do long inhalat ion and exha-lat ion i t is except ional lybenef ic ia l . As ment ioned bySvaatmaarama, and atsocontended by author i t ies l ikemy Acharya thot i t removesal l the diseases, emanat ingfrom the stomach and abdo-menal regions, Pregnantwomen should not pract icethis aasanam.Padmaasanam, as ment i -oned before is not merely anexquis i te physical posture,but also is bel ieved to holdthe key for proper meditationand rousing of Kundal in i .t"Staying wel l in Padmaa-sanam, wi th the palms, oneon the other (on the lap), { ixthe chin on the chest andcontemplat ing (Brahman orlshtadevata) in the mind(chi t ta) , repeatedly raise lheApaana upwards (by contra-ct ing the anus. which isMulabandha) and br ing theinhaled Praana downward(af ter inhalat ion). By th is aman obtains unequal ledknowledge through theFower of Kundal in i (which isroused by this process)".-Hathayogaprad6epika.9I t could be observed thatss a fur ther extension of thepract ice suggested ear l ier ,the Mulabandha startedaf ter Bahya Kumbhaka ismaintained on inhalat ional io. And by means of Mula-bandha and Jalandharaban-dha both the passage of thedowngoing Apaana and theupgoing Praana are sealed,so to say. Then by forcingthe Prana downwards andApaana upwards, the unionof Apaana and Praana isachieved. This is also referr-ed to in the Bhagawad Gita.By the union of Praanaand the Apaana, the Jaata-ragni (gastr ic act iv i ty) isaroused and the mythicalkundal in i , awakened by theheat of the gastr ic f i re, strai-ghtens from out of i ts coi ledposi t ion and moves upwardof Sushumna. Then the -Praana and Apaana are to beforced through the Sushumnaand the union of these twotakes place, which is theul t imate goal of Hathayoga.Wel l , suf f ice ; t to say thatPadmaasanam is an excel .lent posture for physical,physiological , psychological ,wel l being and fcr myst icaland spir i tual exper iences.SHANMUKHIMUDRAAfter a strenuous sl int inlhe var ious Padmaasanavar iat ions, one may wish toenjoy the relaxat ion obtainedby such exercises. Shanmu-khimudra helps in drrect ingthe at tent ion inward. l t isalso known as Yoni Mudra.Thsre are some schools whostate that i t is a lso known asSaambhavi Mudra.Sit in Padmaasana or otharconvenient postures l ikeSidhasana-Vajrasana mayalso be chosen-but Padma-asanam appears to bo quitgood. Keep the back erect,and head level, without rhoJaalandharabandha. Raise thearms, keeping the elbows atshoulder level . Close the earwith the thumbs; the fore-f inger and middle I ingersovet the closed eyelids, theforefinger above and themiddle f inger below the posi-tion of eyeballs. One shouldnot press the eyes hard. buta very mild pressure is !o bemaintained so that it is barelyfelt. The ring fingers closethe nostr i ls Fart ia l ly and thelittle fingers are kept at theside of the c losed mouth.The at tent ion is directedtowards the middle of eye-brows. One may fol low thelObrealh. Stay for about f iveminutes. (Refer sketch 10).This is a very relaxingprocedure and may be adop-ied af ter a strenous day'swork, or even before startingor af ter Praanyamam, l t helpsto calm the mind as thesenses are under control,especial ly when pract isedin a noiseless. clean placedevoid of unpleasant gllEggand other distract ions, l ikeinsects, mcsqui tos etc.I t could be a good exer-cise for Praty._a"akara-or clean-sing the senses by their wi th-drawal and direct ing inwards.**** i