A yoga seeker (sadhak) needs the right direction to progress on the path. One such invaluable tool to deepen a yoga seeker’s practice is Padmasadhana.
Padmasadhana is a beautiful package of Yoga asanas, pranayamas, and meditation, that enables a yoga seeker to deepen their practice. The asanas help to center the mind and body; the pranayama energises and calms the system, enabling one to go deep in meditation.
How to practice Padmasadhana
Go with the flow
The padmasadhana is a graceful flow from posture to posture. It is as if the whole sequence is one process - asana, pranayama, and meditation all rolled in one. The process is meditative in nature, and hence it's best to do it after the Sudarshan Kriya.
Do the Yoga asanas gently - as if it is a meditation too!
Breathe in Ujjayi
You can use the ujjayi breath for the yoga asanas. It will help you to hold the posture, longer. About three to four breaths in each asana are recommended. It is best to keep the ujjayi gentle, not making too much effort.
Keep up the Timing
The whole sequence lasts for 40 minutes - 10 minutes asana, 5 minutes pranayama, 20 minutes meditation and 5 minutes pranayama. It is best to stick to these timings.
Relax in the Asana
In each asana, hold the posture for about 30 to 40 seconds. If you are using ujjayi breath, that would mean about 3 to 4 breaths. You can experiment and finalize the number of breaths you need in each posture to finish the entire asana sequence in 10 minutes.
Sthiram Sukham Asanam
In the asanas, remember to be gentle and meditative. The aim of the yoga asanas is to release any tensions, and prepare the body for meditation. Patanjali says in his Yoga Sutras – “Sthiram Sukham Asanam”. Sthiram means steady. Sukham means happy. Patanjali says to hold the asanas steadily and enjoy the asanas - smile while you do yoga.
Become centred with Pranayama
During the padmasadhana, do the ‘Nadi shodhan pranayama’. ‘Nadi shodhan’ helps to balance the nadis, and is an easy way to transition to and from meditation.
Get into effortless Meditation
We use 'Sahaj Samadhi' meditation during the padmasadhana. If you haven’t done the course, do it as soon as possible so that you can meditate very easily.
In the 'agama' tradition, the seat for the Devi, is made up of five layers, each representing one aspect of our sadhana (yogic practices).
The first layer is the tortoise, which symbolizes stability. During the asana, hold the posture, steady like the tortoise.
The second is the snake, which brings awareness. Stability without awareness brings dullness. So be steady, and yet aware at the same time.
The third layer is the lion. It symbolizes two aspects - one the regal aspect. The lion is lordly in whatever it does. The second is that a lion does, only as much as necessary; it hunts and then sleeps until required. In the padmasadhana, do not put too much effort. Just do as much as needed.
The fourth layer is the siddha - perfection. Perfect the postures. As you practice regularly, you achieve perfection in the posture: both physically (correct posture) and mentally (calm mind).
The fifth is the lotus - the fully blossomed state. And on this the Devi sits. The Divinity, inherent in consciousness, sits on this seat of five aspects.
In order to progress, a Yoga seeker can develop these five aspects of Padmasadhana and deepen the practice.