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The 5 Main Sitting Postures

In Yoga Science, there are five main sitting postures. They are Sukhasana, Padmasana, Vajrasana, Siddhasana and Swastikasana. In all these postures we sit by folding the legs. Therefore, the upper part of the body above the navel gets extra blood supply. The blood perfusion gradually decreases in the lower part of the body below the navel and the heart has to strain less to pump the blood towards the brain. In this way, the internal viscera of the abdomen, heart, lungs and the head get more benefits.

THE BODY PHYSIOLOGY IN OTHER WORKING POSITIONS

There are three types of other working positions. They are lying down position in the bed, modern sitting position where the head is up and legs are down and prolonged standing position.

1. Let us see what is our lying down position in the bed. We usually keep pillow under the head. Some people keep more than one pillow. Sometimes people keep one pillow and fold it double. In these positions the level of the heart is lower than the head and the legs are still at lower level than the head. The blood circulation is more towards the legs than the head. This position is not good for the heart. The heart has to strain more to pump the blood towards the brain.

2. Next is modern sitting position where the head is having the highest level position. Most of the time we do work by keeping the legs at lower level than the heart such as using western style systems in the latrines or sitting on the chairs for taking meal or driving a car or doing office work or playing cards, carom, chess in the clubs or watching television etc. In this modern sitting position, the blood circulation is more towards the legs than the head and we are putting more pressure on the heart.

3. The third position is standing position. When we stand, blood travels long distance from the bottom of the feet to the heart, approximately five feet from the ground. Due to standing for hours the head gets less blood perfusion. The traffic police, salesmen, beauticians, cooks and painters all have to stand for a long time. Due to standing for hours, the direction of the blood flow is excessive towards the legs and they may get the problem of varicose veins. In all these three positions, the heart has to strain more to pump the blood towards the brain.

OUR ANCESTORS’ TRADITIONAL STYLE

According to the Indian tradition, our ancestors’ used to do every work either in squatting position or in cross legged position as much as possible. They used to have squatting positions in the latrines, cross legged position for bathing. Even for taking meals, for religious meetings, musical programmes, political meetings and post funeral meetings they used to sit in cross legged position. Children also used to sit in cross leg postures in the schools. That is why degenerative changes were very less. Nowadays we believe that illiterate people sit on the ground and literate and wise persons always sit on the chairs. This type of understanding has really affected our health. The modern sitting position has worn down our knees and if there is little pain in the knees the doctor would say not to fold the knees. In this situation, we will have to revive our ancestors’ traditional cross legged sitting style as much as possible.



THE FIVE SITTING POSTURES

SUKHASANA
Sit with the legs straight in front. Bend the right leg and place the foot under the left thigh. Bend the right leg and place the foot under the right thigh. Place the hands on the knees in Gyan Mudra. Keep the head, neck, chest and the spine straight and in one line.


Sukhasana


PADMASNANA
Sit with the legs straight in front. Slowly and carefully bend one leg and place the foot on top of the opposite thigh. Then bend the other leg and place the foot on top of the opposite thigh. In the final position, both knees should ideally touch the ground. The head and spine should be held upright and the shoulders relaxed. Place the hands on the knees in Gyan Mudra. It may be difficult in the beginning. Do butterfly exercise; it will be easier to do Padmasana.
Padmasana

VAJRASANA
Kneel on the floor. Bring the big toes together from behind & put the right big toe over the left big toe, Keep the knees close to each other and separate the heels. Now sit between the heels. The back and spine should be straight. Keep the hands on thighs, palms down with fingers together.

Vajrasana

SIDDHASANA
Sit with the legs straight in front. Bend the left knee and place the sole of the foot against the inner right thigh with the heel pressing the perineum. The area where both the thighs join between the genitals and anus is known as perineum. Then bend the right knee and put the right heel against the pubic bone. The right foot should be between the left thigh and the calf muscle. Both the knees should touch the ground. The back should be straight. Place the hands on the knees in Gyan Mudra.

When you practise Siddhasana, what is happening? You are pressing the perineum between the excretory and the urinary organs with your left heel. And with the right heel you are pressing the lower abdominal viscera at the root of the urinary organ or above the clitoris. You are pressing these two points, which are very important in controlling the flow of blood through the arteries and veins. Prolonged and regular pressure on this place controls semen.

Siddhasana

SWASTIKASNA
Sit with the legs straight in front. Bend the right leg at the knee and keep the heel against the groin of the left thigh so that the sole should be lying in close contact with the thigh. Similarly, bend the left leg and place it against the right groin. Insert the toes of the left foot between the right calf and thigh muscles. Make sure both the feet are between calf and thigh muscles. The back should be straight. Place the hands on the knees in Gyan Mudra.

Swastikasana


BENEFITS OF THE ABOVE ASANAS

• By sitting in Vajrasana, Siddhasana or Swastikasana for a long time the vital organs are benefitted due to extra blood supply. The big size muscles of the hips, the muscles in front and the back side of the thigh and the calf muscles don’t require extra blood supply. The extra blood supply goes to the reproductive organs like testis, ovary, fallopian tubes, uterus, the excretory organs like urinary bladder, kidneys, the digestive organs like small and large intestine, stomach, liver, pancreas, respiratory organs like lungs, heart and circulatory system, cerebrum and cerebellum, spinal cord of the nervous system, eyes, ears, nose and throat. The functions of the organs of the body are dependent on oxygen supply. These organs receive oxygen through blood circulation. More the regularity and availability of blood circulation, better is the functioning capability of the systems of the body.

• By practicing these Asanas for a long time, endocrine system is benefitted very much. The testis is one of the endocrine gland which produces testosterone as a male sex hormone. The ovaries produce progesterone and estrogen as female sex hormones. The cortex and medulla of suprarenal or adrenal glands produce the hormones that regulate blood pressure. Even the problem of prostate gland rarely arises. Hence the metabolic functions are controlled very well.

• By sitting in Vajrasana after taking meals, parasympathetic nervous system is activated and more saliva is produced. The working capacity of small and large intestine increases.

• By regular and prolonged practice of Padmasana and Vajrasna, digestion process normalizes. There is no indigestion, gas formation or colitis. There is no pain in knee and backache. The liver, kidneys, pancreas, small and large intestines, prostate, ovaries and uterus work properly.

• The menstrual cycles in ladies are regularized. If there is excessive menstrual blood loss, it gets normalized. The blood pressure also remains under control. Good parasympathetic nervous system tone results in adequate release of digestive enzymes and effective absorption of food from small intestine.

• In Siddhasna and Swastikasna the heel of the left foot pressurizes on the perineal place (Shukra Nadi). This area has sympathetic and parasympathetic nerve plexus. Prolonged and regular pressure on this place controls semen (Shukra).


Courtesy: Dr. Rita Khanna
Aum Shanti