Bound Lotus is also known as Baddha Padmasana or psychic union pose, with roots in Kundalini, Ashtanga, and Hatha Yoga. In Kundalini Yoga, as Taught by Yogi Bhajan, Bound Lotus is held for up to 31 minutes, providing many physical, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits to the practitioner. Bound Lotus is a restorative posture, and it engages the entire body by binding it into the symbol of infinity. The legs are in full-lotus with the arms crossed behind the back, hands holding the toes with the forehead on the ground. Bound Lotus can be seen as the “Seat of Awareness” that allows you to merge into the spirit realm where all healing is possible.
“When any posture is held over time, the universe comes to support that person”. - Yogi Bhajan
Bound Lotus has a self-sustaining energy. Once you connect and tune into the energy of the posture, it carries you. People who are not able to hold the perfect posture will still receive many benefits.
The beauty of this practice is that we can experience our body as a vehicle for powerful transformation and healing. This Kriya works on all levels of our being at once, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual, and heals through the awakening of the chakra system.
This is a challenging posture, because it requires a fair amount of physical flexibility and endurance. Most of us have to gradually develop more flexibility of the spine, muscles and joints in order to do it correctly. The hips and shoulders are often contracted and tense from the pressures of our lifestyles and the lack of appropriate regular exercise. Opening and balancing them brings strength and integrity to the posture. While practicing the posture, the digestive organs are in a fetal position of rest so that they can rejuvenate. The Kriya strengthens and calms the nervous system, allowing it to recharge. A strong nervous system is essential for maintaining physical vitality throughout life.
With the legs folded into the full lotus position, a helix ( - the symbol of infinity) is created. This locks the lower Chakras (energy centers) into a position where the flow of energy is directed towards the heart. Our lower 3 Chakras are our centers of creativity and vitality. In Baddha Padmasana, this energy is focused up towards the heart, the seat of the soul and virtue.
The arms crossed across the back holding onto the toes creates another helix, this time locking the energy from the higher centers and focusing this towards the heart as well.
Central to the positive effects of yoga is the cultivation of a meditative mind. The unschooled mind is like a wild wind filled with useful and useless thoughts and feelings. One line from the first prayer of the Sikhs puts it succinctly: “man jeetai jag jeet”; “Once you have conquered your mind, you have conquered the World”. This posture helps grab the wandering mind and focuses it on the feelings and energies that arise as you do it, because your body is in such a restrained and confined position, your mind can either jump and go nuts, or fall silent like a drop of water on a leaf.
“When face and grace do not give into challenge, only then you can call yourself Spiritual”, - Yogi Bhajan, LA 1993.
Spirituality is how you face your self in life when you meet a challenge. In this Kriya you learn what spirituality means. Bound Lotus is certainly a challenge, and by practicing it, I find that I am more prepared to face challenges that come up during the day.