In the early texts, the posture called Padmasana (Lotus Posture) is taught in two different ways.
In the Dattatreyayogashastra, the earliest text to describe hathayoga, Padmasana is instructed as the single most important posture.
"Turn the soles of the feet upward and carefully place them on the thighs. Put the hands in the lap and turn them upwards in the same way. Then focus the eyes on the tip of the nose, lift up the base of the uvula with the tongue, put the chin on the chest and, slowly inhaling as much as possible, slowly fill the abdomen. Then slowly exhale as much as possible. This is said to be the lotus posture. It destroys all diseases and is hard for anyone to attain; it is attained by the wise man in the world." (Dattatreyayogashastra, verses 35-38)
This version is similar to what we call Padmasana (Lotus Posture) today: Bound legs and relaxed arms. It is worth noting that this is not considered an easy posture. It "is hard for anyone to attain." This posture can take years to perfect.
The second version of Padmasana is what we call Bound Lotus today, performed by wrapping the arms behind the back and holding onto the toes. Some of the earliest texts teach the posture this way, simply calling it Padmasana.
The Hatha Yoga Pradipika, an encyclopedic compilation of practices, instructs the posture as follows:
"Place the right foot on the left thigh and the left foot on the right thigh, and grasp the toes with the hands crossed over the back. Press the chin against the chest and gaze on the tip of the nose. This is called the Padmasana, the destroyer of the diseases." (HP 1:46)
This "bound" version of the posture is quite common in old texts, at least as common as the un-bound version.
Scott & Ida are Yoga Acharyas (Masters of Yoga). They are the head teachers of Ghosh Yoga. This blog is about their experience with yoga practice, study and teaching.
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