This is the best posture for meditation. The loop seals the prana, vital energy of the body, enabling you to reach a more profound level of consciousness.
Sit on the floor with the legs stretched out straight in front.
Now fold the right leg at the knee and catch the right foot with both hands and place it on top of the left thigh. Bring the heel as close to the navel as possible. do not try to put it forcefully
Fold the left leg at the knee and grasp the left foot with both hands and place it on top of the right thigh. Bring the heel as close to the navel as possible. do not try to put it forcefully
Both knees should be on the ground and the soles of the feet are pointed upward. This is a meditative posture, hence, spine must remain straight in its final position.
The position of the legs may be switched after a period of time if the posture becomes uncomfortable.
While releasing, first stretch out your left leg. Then stretch out your right leg.
During the padma-asana the hands can be placed in one of the following three positions:
Place one hand on top of the other, both palms facing the sky, and rest the hands on the heels (this is known as the dhyana-mudra). This variation is recommended for meditation.
Place the hands on the knees, palms down.
With palms up, place the hands on the knees, form a circle with the thumb and index finger and extend the remaining fingers straight ahead (this is known as the chin-mudra). Recommended for pranayama (Yogic breathing).
You can hold it for several minutes or until you experience discomfort in the legs. It is dependent of intention. When used as a meditation posture you hold it for the duration of the meditation (during meditation you should be balanced so, If you find the padma-asana difficult or painful, can try the ardha padma-asana).
The padma-asana has several benefits, it creates a natural balance throughout the body, mind and spirit. It also brings relaxation, concentration and meditation.
Those getting cramps in calf-muscles, suffering from chronic knee pain should consult yoga expert.