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Lotus Posture and Yoga

Lotus Posture and Yoga

Lotus posture is not necessary for mastery of yoga. It sure helps in the achievement of mastering the asana postures which are known to be part of yoga, but it is not an absolute necessity. There were many advanced yogis who did not do the padmasana lotus posture. Some did it sloppily and still attained spiritual advancement and mystic achievements.

We read about Buddha where in the last section of his life, he reclined and gave discourses from that posture. There is also the case of Ramana Maharshi. If one looks at pictures of this yogi, one will realize that his back was curved even in his youthful years. He did not sit in a tight lotus. In fact, it was sloppily down, and yet he is accredited as an advanced ascetic.

When one sees pictures or figures of advanced yogis, usually these sit in lotus posture. The leading yogi for all time, who is Shiva is regularly illustrated in lotus pose. Hence one may derive the idea that to meditate one must sit in lotus. However when defining yoga, Patanjali did not list padmasana lotus pose as a necessity for yoga.

There is a misunderstanding where asana postures when done in final poses by anyone, is regarded as mastery of yoga. However, Patanjali listed asana postures as one of the eight requirements for yoga. In terms of meditation, he only listed the three higher subjects. These he grouped as samyama. While practicing that, one may or may not be in lotus posture

I had many mystic experiences of significance which occurred when my body was in some other pose, even when in a reclined position or even when it was fast asleep, folded and crumpled. On occasion, I did full lotus and did not have significant experiences.

What them is the ideal posture for doing meditation?

Let us a reply from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.

स्थिरसुखमासनम्॥४६॥

sthira sukham āsanam

sthira – steady; sukham – comfortable; āsanan – bodily posture.

The posture should be steady and comfortable. (Yoga Sutras 2.46)

 

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