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.
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.
The connection between our emotions and our physical bodies is becoming better understood. Through biochemical processes, our bodies literally store emotions within the cells, tissues and bones. When we have a negative experience, the emotion is locked within the tissue, creating pain or imbalance. Over time, this can create chronic, debilitating conditions, called dis-ease. Practicing Bound Lotus can release stored emotions such as fear, insecurity, anger, resentment, and jealousy. In my experience with this practice, I have found it to be like peeling away layers of an onion. As all types of emotions surface, I release them back to the Universe. While still in the posture, you may say a prayer, either silently or out loud, or hold a firm intention to release the emotions.
Bound Lotus is said to be the most difficult of all the Kriya’s. It is also known to be one of the shortest paths to healing deep emotional blockages.
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.
-- Yogi Bhajan - Master of Kundalini Yoga
Yogi Bhajan was born in India August 26th, 1929. At age 16, under the tutelage of the great Master Sant Hazara Singh, Harbhajan Singh Khalsa (Yogi Bhajan) became a yogic Master. He came to the United States in 1969, and fueled by his mission to "create students not collect them" he began teaching Kundalini Yoga - the “Yoga of Awareness”. Before this time, this sacred technology was passed only from Master to Student, and not ever taught openly.
Kundalini Yoga is a technology that works on all different levels (physical, emotional, mental and spiritual) and has the capacity to change a person’s destiny.
The "Mah BoundLotus® Manual" by Mahan Kirn is a thorough and amazingly detailed instructional manual on the powerful practice of Bound Lotus Kriya.
Includes: Warm-ups, How to use props, Specific stretches, Modifications, How to get in and out of Bound Lotus, What to do before and after Bound Lotus, How to focus the eyes, tongue and breath, Advanced postures, Yogi Bhajan quotes and more!
* Paperback coming soonBUY ON AMAZON©
"This practice has given me a sense that my Soul is divine, that my body and mind have the blessing to serve it, and that yes- the power to heal lies within."
"I have practiced various meditations for 40, 120, and 1,000 days, but none have made me change so much and so quickly as Bound Lotus. It has taken away pain and attachments that were really deep in my soul. I feel free, secure, strong, and fearless—but most of all—happy."
"For me, the most important thing is to be properly warmed up so that then the position becomes easy. I pray that my body, even into old age, will allow me to do this position as the sublime states of physical and spiritual well-being that it brings to me are truly profound. "
If you are new to yoga, it is best to take a yoga class in your area, or attend a Bound Lotus workshop.
Long deep breathing through the nose helps to relax and calm the body and mind.
Using a mantra or Shabad is an excellent technique to enhance and deepen your practice of Bound Lotus. But it is certainly not a requirement. This is one of the most powerful Kriya in all of yogic teaching, with or without a mantra.
If you have committed to doing for example a 40 day practice you will need to start over again! The benefits of doing a set or Kriya or meditation over a constant period of time are more powerful than when you do it in an interrupted way, because your nervous system makes new habits over 40 days and so when you are consistent you train your nervous system a new pattern.
It is better if you rest your forehead on the pillow, rather then your entire face. That way you can breathe more easily and still get the support for your head.
Start out with a few minutes each day and build up.
It is OK to focus on just one thing at a time. Over time you might be able to stay in the posture for a few minutes being able to do both. This doesn’t mean you are doing the Kriya better or worse when you can ‘only’ one of the two at a time.
Yes, you can do half Bound Lotus. Simply use the leg that doesn’t have a painful knee. If both knees hurt however, you should stop doing the Kriya. Knees are very unforgiving joints and can take a very long time to heal. It is wise to wait till the pain is gone and then gently start again by doing extra stretches (especially hip openers, since hips relate to knees) and more warm ups. If your knees keep bothering you, please seek help from a qualified medical professional.
Bound Lotus is the most difficult Kriya. It is not just challenging on a physical level but also on mental, emotional and subtle levels. Often, the pains you feel in your physical body are related to emotional blocks or limitations of the mind. For example: repressed anger often shows itself as pain in the upper arms and calves. Pain in knees is often related to unexpressed emotions that lead to grudges. Also consider that this Kriya shows you where you are stiff and where your body needs to be given extra attention. For example: if you can’t reach your toe, that doesn’t necessarily mean your arms are too short. But it may point out that your back has to develop more flexibility, allowing you to bend more deeply.
This Kriya requires patience. Over time you will become more flexible and it will start to hurt less. Be gentle with yourself. This Kriya is not about perfection but about commitment to refining oneself.
Early morning, especially in the hours before sunrise, was recognized by the yoga masters of old as the most beneficial time of day to meditate. Meditation in the morning sets the spirit for the day. If your obligations make morning practice impossible, any time of day or night is a good time.
Whatever time of day you practice is only a good time after good stretching. Do NOT do this Kriya if you have not properly warmed up; this can lead to injury. Take the time to be good to yourself.
Bound Lotus requires training, practice, and personal experience in order to properly share with others in a safe and effective manner. We are working on a certification program that will allow you to learn how to teach the Kriya to others. Please contact us at the email addresses provide below.
This is a very challenging practice. You will benefit from the company of others who are going through the same experience. So try to get together with others who practice the Kriya.
Yes it is. You can use whatever uplifts you and carries you through.
This practice is about your spiritual growth and your personal experience, which is unique to you.
There is no magic pill. The best thing to do is stretch.
For more flexible joints we suggest the Indian herb turmeric. A delicious way to take turmeric is in Golden Milk.
We would love to hear from you and how you are feeling and doing with the Kriya. Please email testimonials to [email protected] Let us know in your email if we are free to share your comments with others.
We strongly recommend that you consult a licensed heathcare professional before beginning this or any exercise program, especially if you have a known medical condition.
Thirty one minutes is the optimal time. It is the length of time that allows the glands, breath, and concentration to affect all the cells and rhythms of the body. Any amount of time, up to 31 minutes, will be beneficial, However you are not to exceed this 31 minutes as instructed by Yogi Bhajan.
Disclaimer/Health Claim Waiver
Many of these exercises and postures require a significant degree of physical flexibility and may not be suitable for pregnant women, people with pre-existing hip, knee, and ankle or back injuries. Check with your physician or licensed health care practitioner before attempting Bound Lotus or any of the exercises or postures set forth herein. The reader recognizes and acknowledges that these exercises involve the risk of physical injury, including the risk of severe injury or disability and hereby accepts and voluntarily assumes any and all risk, including all risk of injury, accident and harm of any nature whatsoever which they may suffer due to their participation in any of the activities while engaged in any program of instruction outlined on this website. Nothing in this text should be construed as medical advice. While this Kriya and the exercises contained in this text have benefited many, this manual makes no claim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.Always check with your physician or licensed health care practitioner before making any significant modification in your diet, before you use any of the recipes contained in this book to ensure that these recipes and ingredients are appropriate for your personal health condition and consistent with any medication you may be taking, and before beginning any exercise regimen.