While keeping the legs tensed and spine erect, place hands besides hips to attain a posture like stick.
Padmasana (lotus pose)
1. Sit in dandasana.
2. Slowly and carefully bend one leg and place the foot on top of the opposite thigh.
3. The sole should face upward and the heel should be close to the pubic bone.
4. When this feels comfortable, bend the other leg and place the foot on top of the opposite thigh.
5. Both knees should, ideally, touch the ground in the final position.
6. The head and spine should be held upright and the shoulders relaxed.
7. Place the hands on the knees in chin or jnana mudra.
8. Relax the arms with the elbows slightly bent and check that the shoulders are not raised or hunched.
9. Close the eyes and relax the whole body. Observe the total posture of the body. Make the necessary adjustments by moving forward or backward until balance and alignment are experienced. Perfect alignment indicates the correct posture of padmasana.
Note: While holding, maintain normal breathing.
Contra-indications: Those who suffer from sciatica, sacral infections or weak or injured knees should not perform this asana. This asana should not be attempted until flexibility of the knees has been developed through practice of the pre-meditation asanas.
Benefits: Padmasana allows the body to be held completely steady for long periods of time. It holds the trunk and head like a pillar with the legs as the firm foundation. As the body is steadied the mind becomes calm. This steadiness and calmness is the first step towards real meditation. Padmasana directs the flow of prana from mooladhara chakra in the perineum, to sahasrara chakra in the head, heightening the experience of meditation. This posture applies pressure to the lower spine which has a relaxing effect on the nervous system. The breath becomes slow, muscular tension is decreased and blood pressure is reduced. The coccygeal and sacral nerves are toned as the normally large blood flow to the legs is redirected to the abdominal region. This activity also stimulates the digestive process.