Padamasana (the Lotus Pose) is, probably, one of the parameters to measure the extent of one’s flexibility, especially among the non-yoga practitioners. There are many other postures which are much more difficult to perform but Padamasana has always been the most coveted one. One of the reasons being, this meditative posture has been used widely by sages during their meditation and has left an impression of ‘A must’ posture in yoga. Fueling to this craving is our current life style, which has stiffened those muscles to the extent, that it has assumed a status of ‘difficult to use muscles.’ This crying out is further intensified among athletes, who have a tendency to have tighter muscles due to their nature of training. Perhaps, this is one of the main motivators, for many, to resort to Yoga.
No doubt, Padmasana is a difficult posture for many to perform but definitely not something ‘not-achievable’. In this blog, I am listing out some of the preparatory practices, which when practiced with regular dedication, would eventually help you achieve the final goal.
The obstacles in the path: One of the silent obstacles that might not be apparently noticeable but restricts movement is your adductors.
The above definition may raise the question that the thighs are going apart in this particular posture, then why these muscles. The thighs do go out, hence, abductors (thighs going apart) are engaged but when you bend your knees to place your legs (area from knee to ankle joint) above one another while assuming the final posture, your inner thighs are internally oriented and if your adductors are tight, it would not allow the ankles to sit comfortably at the top of each other, thereby, causing it to slide away from each other.
Working on making your adductors flexible
1) Adductor release with legs apart on the wall (Video)
One of the simplest ways is to lie down with your hips resting against the wall and your legs up on the wall (Viprit Karni on the wall). Then allow your legs to fall apart and be in that position for 5-10 minutes (you can start with 1-2 minutes). This automatically works on the adductors as well as opening of the hips.
Caution: In case, you feel any kind of pain on the inner knees (vastus medialis), it means your inner knees have gone into hyper extension mode. Roll your thighs in consciously and the pain will disappear.
2) Adductor release with resistance (Video)
In order to get slightly more rigorous stretch, assume the same posture as mentioned in no.1, ask your partner to push your thighs apart with their hands. Make sure that you do not hold your breath. Cooperate with your partner by exhaling deeply. This will optimize the release. To intensify it further, pull your thighs into the groin to activate your inner thighs and then push your legs close to each other while your partner is stretching it apart (opposing forces are active). This will not only make the inner thigh flexible but also strengthen it by working against the resistance.
3) Adductor release in Upavista Konasana (Video)
Sit in Dandasana facing the wall; your legs are stretched out in front with your feet resting against the wall. Now start to slide your legs away from each other while at the same time, try to move your hips, as close as possible, to the wall. Stretch your arms and touch your fingers to the wall; if you are comfortable touching the wall with your fingers, place your palms on the wall; If not too discomforting, start to get your chest closer to the wall. Make sure there is no strain on the inner sides of your knees, which would happen if there is hyper extension in that area. To counter this, roll your thighs in.
Even though the above mentioned stretches are talking about adductor release, it is also focusing on your gluteal muscles flexibility which too is a requirement for Padmasana.
Hence, working on your adductors is just half the story. Check out my next blog for the other half and then work towards mastering this committed posture in a wholesome manner.
Note: Practice yoga asanas under the guidance of a yoga expert.
Shammi Gupta, founder of Shammi’s Yogalaya holds an MA in Yoga Shastra, is a certified Yogic Therapist and Naturopath, has completed an Advanced Yoga Course and holds a Diploma in Yoga Education from Mumbai University. She is a certified trainer from American College of Sports Medicine and holds an MBA in HR & MBA in Finance from The University of Akron, Ohio, USA. She conducts Health Awareness Workshops for Corporate, Yogasana Workshops for Athletes and Yoga Therapy Workshops on different medical issues for patients. Among the celebrities Shammi trains are eminent personalities from the film and television industry and corporate world.