As many of you know, June’s pose of the month is Siddhasana, also known as the “perfect pose”. Already in class I’ve heard students joke about the irony of this choice,
“We do this one everyday!” or, “More like pose of the year!”
And it’s true! We do find ourselves in Siddhasana more often than many other poses, which makes it an even better choice to focus on mindfully for the next few weeks (and hopefully continuing on into the future). Often times the poses we find easy or familiar are the ones that allow our minds to wander the most.
“Siddha” in Sanskrit refers to the hidden powers within the body that assist individuals in attaining spiritual upliftment. The pose is thought to be one of the most important asanas and one of the most beneficial seated poses, allowing the yogi to practice breath control (pranayama), concentration, meditation, and self- realization.
Siddhasana directs the energy from the lower psychic centers upward through the spine, thus stimulating the brain and calming the nervous system. It redirects blood circulation to the lower spine and abdomen, and tones the lumbar region of the spine, the pelvis, and the abdominal organs. It also allows for a balancing of the reproductive system and blood pressure.
Here are some technique tips to help you achieve Siddhasana:
- Sit down with both legs outstretched in front of you (Dandasana), keeping length in the spine.
- Bend the left leg at the knee, and place the heel at the perineum, then fold the right leg and place the heel against the pubic bone, allowing the foot to angle downwards.
- Both ankles should be resting, one on top of the other.
- Keep both knees and the left heel in touch with the floor.
- Keep awareness if your spine- if it is difficult to keep it straight, don’t hesitate to use a blanket under the buttocks to increase upward length
- Rest the hands on the knees, perhaps with palms facing upwards, or in Gyan mudra (allowing the tip of the thumb and the tip of the index finger of each hand, to touch one another).
- Close the eyes and look inward- scan your body and breathe into the areas that need some extra attention. Use the breath to bring awareness into the posture and into your self.
- Reversing the position of the feet and repeating for the same length of time, or, alternating the foot on top at each class can be beneficial and balancing.
The main anatomical focus in this pose is the spine, but take caution or make adjustments as needed if you have a knee injury. As always, ask an instructor if you need assistance or have a question about any component of the pose. And most importantly, find enjoyment in it!
How do I begin? It has been 22 years since I last activaly applied yoga poses….my body is older and no longer limbic…I am attracted to your messages, your lightworker identity and heartfelt approach. I am surrounded by 20 plus yoga sites here in Pahoa, Big Island, Hi and yet none are welcoming an elder who has joint problems because of athletic pursuits earlier in my life.I need to be led back into the poses…aloha and kindly- Jyoti
I’m sorry to be so delayed in replying to your question. I’m a new to this system and still getting used to maintaining it; but I’m glad you’ve expressed some curiosity in returning to your yoga practice and I hope that you are still considering this.
I believe an elder has the advantage of wisdom. Though your practice may look and feel different than your neighboring yogis whom aren’t welcoming you, I strongly believe it can be tailored to fit your individual needs utilizing the careful and intelligent discernment you’ve picked up over the years. My recommendation would be to seek out a yoga teacher who speaks to you and can work with you as an individual. If no such teacher exists in your area, try the book: Yoga For Arthritis by Loren Fishman
It’s a fantastic overview of yoga alignment, which is what makes yoga “therapeutic” vs. mere exercise. It also speaks to individuals who aren’t ready to jump deep into an asana practice because of physical limitations (not just arthritis). Get the book, and start a practice from it’s brilliant guidance. Best of luck to you.