Ode to Baddha Padmasana

I love Bound Lotus.  I have not always loved Bound Lotus – it’s definitely been a journey to get here. But I’ve learned to love it and now it’s just about my favorite pose ever! Bound Lotus (baddha padmasana) is one of the finishing postures in the Ashtanga series but it was also taught as an extended kriya by Yogi Bhajan.  It is a beautiful posture of releasing and surrendering in which your body becomes like an infinity symbol and your mind becomes still.  I learned about Bound Lotus Kriya through one of my Kundalini instructors a few years ago.  Since then, I have repeatedly chided myself – “You should do Bound Lotus – Start tomorrow – DO IT!”  But, it’s taken me a over two years to actually make it a daily practice.  I avoided even trying it for so long, mostly because I always had a zillion different 40 day meditations going on (it’s my medication!).   This past summer, after months of massage school and not much yoga, I started Bound Lotus Kriya for 3 minutes each side.  A wonderful healer and Kundalini teacher advised me to do Bound Lotus, telling me that if I did, I would “never age”.    So, it was really my vanity that got me to sit down to at least try it.  My hips were soooo tight and I had to do lots of modifications to make it possible (binding with a strap, resting my head on cushions).   My hips were not open enough at that time and it was tweaking my ankles and giving me nasty shin splint-like pain….so I stopped.  But over the summer as I did my Vinyasa YTT and then starting this fall with a daily Ashtanga practice, my hips began to open and Bound Lotus became more and more possible.  Right now I am practicing 4 minutes each side, working my way up slowly to 11 minutes each side.  In Kundalini Yoga, Yogi Bhajan taught that one can practice it up to 31 minutes total daily.  It’s really a profound practice with many health benefits such as improving joint flexibility and strength, healing digestive disorders and issues of elimination, opening the hips, and shoulders, as well as strengthening the immune and nervous systems.  Beyond the physical this practice has profound effects.  “It opens the flow of energy and clears the chakras, helps to eradicate karmic obstacles, negative tendencies and patterns acquired over lifetimes and helps to develop the state of stillness (Shuniya), supreme bliss (Anand), and awakened consciousness (Samadhi)”, according to Mahan Kirn Kaur Khalsa, who teaches Bound Lotus Kriya all over to the world by Yogi Bhajan’s request.  Her website tells you just about everything you need to know about BOUND LOTUS KRIYA.

My personal experience of the practice is that it daily instructs me in the all-healing power of SURRENDER!  Learning to let go is essential.  At first, holding this posture can be agonizingly painful.  Crossing the right leg in first (the traditional padmasana) is much easier for me, but the other way can be annoying, uncomfortable and much harder for me to bind in.  Holding still in this discomfort requires that you breathe and surrender.  Holding tight and tensing or letting your mind whirl around only makes it all the more unbearable.  To succeed, you have to surrender.  When I let go in this posture, my mind becomes still and peaceful, my body feels warm and alive and time flies by.   This practice can be an experience of the Yoga Sutra 2:45 –  “samadhi-siddhir isvara-pranidhanat”.   Letting go, giving it all up, offering yourself up in your practice – that is what this yoga stuff is all about!  Learning to surrender in your yoga practice teaches you how to surrender in your life practice – and that’s where freedom comes from.  It’s definitely not easy – remember, it’s a practice, and of course, progress is never linear in yoga, but you will feel the effects of Bound Lotus immediately.

It is recommended that you immerse yourself in the Ray Man Shabd while you practice.  This is a gorgeous prayer that supposedly makes your aura golden.  I listen to Snatam Kaur’s version during my practice.  Sometimes when I am struggling with accepting and being present in the posture, I even repeat to myself internally – “I surrender to the grace of God, I surrender to the grace of God, I surrender to the grace of God”, in hopes that with repetition I can trick myself into really surrendering.  It works (ah! the mind is so powerful!).  Perhaps because of the physical restrainment of this posture, you can only have two mental reactions – either your mind jumps around, screams and yells at you or it will become deeply still and quiet, taking you into full meditation immediately.  It’s really amazing.

I love this practice and am so grateful for it!  Learn from Mahan Mirn’s site, www.boundlotus.com and try it out for yourself!

Sat Nam.

Blessings for Peace.

Frances

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2 thoughts on “Ode to Baddha Padmasana

  1. Pingback: My Achy Shoulders and the Trappings of Ashtanga. | Lila

  2. Pingback: Ashtanga Practice Thoughts: Having It Work For You | Lila

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