Tuesday, 3 January 2012

DAY 93 Lotus Subroutine Breakdown

Padmasana, the lotus posture is, of course, the classic meditation posture. Although there are other notable meditation postures, siddhasana, gomukhasana, virasana and vajrasana, padmasana holds a special place because of it's stability. There is a beauty to it's construction, it feels symmetrical, the legs bound secure allowing for the arm balances, for example, in the final subroutine of the series. It is an excellent posture for engaging the bandhas, mula bandha feels particularly grounded and the stability of the pose lends itself to exploring uddiyana and jalandhara bandhas.

As well as for meditation practice, padmasana is an excellent posture for pranayama, again, on account of it's stability.

Some however may ind the posture boring or tedious, the subroutines allow us to explore multiple vinyasas while in padmasana, creating interest that may encourage us to spend longer in the posture which will in time allow the posture to become more comfortable.

The first subroutine day 88, the half lotus, is a good preparation for developing the lotus posture as are many of the hip opening postures and vinyasas from the asymmetric and seated sequences.

In this course of subroutines I've placed the sequences in order in which I tend to practice them, starting with standing postures moving on through seated or backbend postures up to inverted. I tend to finish my practice with one or more lotus subroutines, staying in the posture for my pranayama and meditation practice.

However, while working towards padmasana the half lotus or siddhasana for example would serve just as well.

I've tried to stress that padmasana is about the hips rather than the knees so here, again are my practice notes for entering padmasana from Day 88

Getting in to full Lotus

NB: THE most important thing to remember is to protect your knees, that it's the hip joints that do all the work, the knees only bend one way it's the rotation of the ball and socket hip joint that makes padmasana possible

Right leg
Bend the right knee and bring it up towards the chest. Reach with the right hand down inside the thigh and take hold of the right ankle.

Allow the right knee to drop out to the side through the rotation of the hip joint. Focus on that hip action, of the ball and socket joint, the femur head rotating in the hip socket, encourage it.

There's a tensing of the right buttock a lifting almost and a stretching of the thigh as you encourage the rotation in the hip joint that will bring the knee down towards the mat and the ankle to come up. This action should only happen at the hips joint your NOT pulling up the ankle and your NOT forcing the knee down.

If this isn't happening it might be best to work on more hip opening postures, mahamudra in Asymmetric, badha konasana in Seated.

Lift up through the torso, support the right foot with the left and right palms and guide NOT pull the foot to the left thigh.

Lift up again and bend forward slightly, roll onto the front of the sit bones and guide the right foot a little further up the left thigh into the groin.

Again lift and roll further onto the sit bones allowing the right knee to rest on the mat.

Left leg
Bend the left knee and again focusing on the hip joint allowing the left knee to drop out to the side.

Rock your body forward and draw the right knee out to the side through the thigh muscles. Lock the knee by pressing the calf muscles against the thigh.

Reach over the left foot and support the left ankle with the left palm, cupping under the foot with the right palm, encourage the hip joint to rotate further and allow the knee to drop further out and down. Again, your not pulling on the foot but rather supporting it to allow the hip joint to do it's work.

Lift up through the torso, rock further forward on the sit bones and stretch out through the left thigh to allow the foot to come up over the right leg. 

Using the strength of the thighs bring the knees a little towards each other this will bring the right foot finally up onto the right thigh closer to the groin.

Shuffle around on your sit bones if necessary, encouraging more rotation of the hip joints to tighten the lotus, this is preferable to wrenching, tugging, pulling the feet.

Ultimately, for many of the lotus vinyasas you will require a nice tight lotus where the heels are digging slightly into the belly, the soles of the feet pointing up and the knees closer together. In fact, the heels can be considered to be massaging the inner organs in some of the vinyasas by pressing deep into the belly

To release
Sit up straight lifting up through the torso, focus on the left hip joint and encourage it to rotate by engaging the thigh muscles which will press the left knee into the mat this will allow you to very gently encourage the left foot off of the right thigh.

As you allow the knees to draw apart the lotus will unfold, again allow the right hip joint to do it's work bringing the right knee down into the mat and allowing the right foot to glide off the left thigh.

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