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Feb 2011

So, you never know what benefits a yoga posture might bring.

The other day in class, several people requested that we focus on hip flexibility to sit in Lotus - Padmasana in sanskrit. Actually we spent much of the time exploring how to get the inner benefit of the seated pose. Not necessarily getting both feet equally set on top of the thighs, but how to get the energetic lift that comes from drawing the sacrum into the body - sitting in the internal 'bucket seat' of the hips rather than feeling like we are slumped on the coach.

Buddha_Padmasana (1).jpg

(Buddha at Bodhgaya, sitting in Padmasana - Eastern India, 12th century. Victoria and Albert Museum.)

Whatever - after class, one person shared that, as kids playing in the backyard by their swimming pool, they would use this same pose - without any sanskrit name of course - to build up their puny kid arm muscles. Of course, taking the bait, I said "What? How?"
Levering into the locked feet position with the natural flexibility of the young, they would then waddle on knees over to the pool, and drop in to the welcome cool of the water. Float? Skinny kid bodies? Not so much - desperate arm movements would prevail for a while, managing to keep lips just above the chloriny wavelets. Finally gravity would win out, and with a final inhale to buy time, they would sink down and frantically unwind those legs so they could kick free for the surface.

Arm strength? Sounds more like they were working on the courage to climb Everest - or maybe cave dive to the depths! Maybe that kind of strength would be resonant with the young Gautama, who famously chose lotus pose when sitting all night under the Bodhi tree, unflinching in the search for enlightenment, before awakening as Buddha.

You never know what benefits a pose might bring...

Namaste - Eugene