Padmasana – preparation for the pose

Padmasana (Lotus) is a principal yoga pose. The pose is practiced to allow the body to be held completely steady for long periods of time in order to calm the mind.
Padmasana primarily requires flexibility in the hips (deep gluteal muscles), but also in thighs (hamstrings and adductors). This flexibility  has been lost by many of us, including me, due to a number of activities we have done throughout our lives. Sports and activities which require running, jogging, cycling, sitting in chairs for a long time, or being behind a steering wheel can all lead to tight hips.
There are many poses to help to open the hips and thighs and make them more flexible. But to prepare for Padmasana we need to work on those poses that help  deeply open the hips on an external rotation.
Speaking for myself, I can sit completely steady for a long period of time in a chair, but not in a cross legged position – not to mention padmasana. At least not yet. But that doesn’t mean I will ever not be able to do it. 
For my journey to Padmasana I decided to practice the following poses:
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) stretches the adductors and the lower back, and creates space deep inside the pelvis. The external rotation of the femur in the hip joint required and developed by this pose is also necessary for Padmasana.
Sucirandhrasana (Eye-of-the-Needle Pose)  is a safe and effective way to stretch the  deep hip muscles, particularly the piriformis muscle. It is also a preparatory pose for the Pigeon pose.
Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (Pigeon) pose stretches the same areas as Eye-of-the-Needle Pose, but it allows to stretch a bit deeper as we use the weight of our body to sink further into the hips. It is said that if you only have time to do one pose, make this the one!
Modified Bharadvajasana (the pose of Sage Bharadvaja) is a great stretch for the lower back and the deep muscles of the pelvis that allows the leg to release from the pelvis and rotate out in Padmasana.
All I need to do now is practice…….
Beata, 200 Hrs YTT, November 2015

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