By Soror Tzadkiel
Sukhasana, or Easy Pose, is probably the most accessible asana for sitting meditation. One enters this posture by simply crossing one’s legs and sitting with the spine erect. One has the option of placing their hands in jnana mudra on the knees, with the palms facing to the ceiling. Among Sukhasana’s benefits are strengthening the back, improving posture, and stretching the knee and ankle. It is also a hip opener, and is said to relax the mind. It is not recommended for anyone who has a severe leg problem, or pain in the lower back.
Padmasana, or Lotus Pose, is a more advanced form of Sukhasana. To enter Padmasana, the practitioner sits on the floor with the legs stretched out in front with the spine tall. Next, one bends the right knee, and places the outside of the right ankle on the top of the left thigh, with the heel close to the abdominals, and the sole of the foot facing upwards. Then, one repeats the same with the opposite leg. Next, with both legs crossed, and with both soles of the feet facing toward the ceiling, the practitioner may place their hands on the knees in Jnana Mudra. One should keep the spine tall as they begin to engage in their pranayama or meditation practice. This practice is said to relax the mind, enhance digestion, lessen muscular tension, and bring blood pressure into balance.
Vajrasana, or Thunderbolt Pose, can be entered into by sitting on your knees with the legs together, and the roofs of your feet flush against the ground. Your glutes will be supported by the soles of your feet. Ensure that the spine is tall. This posture is said to aid digestion, and to assist with nerve issues. It is also said to help with bowel movements specifically, since it increases blood flow to the abdominal and pelvic areas. It is also said to increase the vitality of the liver.
Dandasana, or Staff Pose, can be entered into by sitting on the floor with one’s legs together and extended out in front, with your feet and toes flexed. Sitting with the spine erect, the shoulder blades flush against your back, and the palms of the hands gently on the thighs, one should then engage in the relevant pranayama practice or meditation. This pose is said to increase posture, strengthen the muscles of the back, and stretch the This pose shouldn’t be done with any lower back injury.
Janu Sirsasana, or Head to Knee pose, is said to be a posture that invigorates the body, assisting the digestive processed by stretching the descending and ascending colon. To enter Janu Sirsasana, begin by sitting in Dandasana, Staff Pose, and then bringing your right heel in next to your perineum, so it will be resting right below the pubic bone. Gently move the right knee out so that the outer angle of the thighs is larger than 90 degrees. With a deep inhale, bend the torso over the fully extended left leg, and grasp with both hands onto either the shin, ankle, or the sole of your left foot. Breathe deeply. Note that the aim is to have the torso centered over the extended leg. Avoid rounding the spine, as the aim is to have a straight spine.
Baddha Konasana, or Bound Angle Pose, is said to stimulate the ovaries, prostate, the organs located in the abdominal region, as well as the kidneys and bladder. It improves digestion and high blood pressure, and may help to aid depression and anxiety. To enter into Baddha Konasana, sit tall in Dandasana. Bring the heels of your feet in close to your pelvis, and then lower your knees out to each side while pressing the soles of the feet together, with the outer edges of the feet flat on the floor. If the student is able to grasp the toes with the index finger, middle finger, and thumb, they should do so, but one may use each hand to grasp the same-side ankle or shin if that is more accessible. Grow tall out through the spine, adding length in between each vertebrae, and begin the pranayama practice at hand. One may stay in this posture anywhere from 1 minute to 5 minutes.
Upavistha Konasana, or Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend, is a pose known for its benefit on the kidneys as a detoxer, and is also good for arthritis. To enter this posture, begin in Staff Pose, Dandasana. Sitting tall, open up your legs to approximately a 90 degree angle. Flex the feet and ensure that the knees are pointing toward the ceiling. Now allow the torso to forward bend, keeping the spine straight. You may place the forearms on the floor with the palms facing up or down. Engage in deep breathing in this pose for anywhere from 1-3 minutes.