Home > Yoga Poses > Vajrasana

Siddhasana in Yoga: Steps & Benefits of the Accomplished Pose

Does the pose make you accomplished or do the accomplished use this pose? Let’s find out.

VINEET KAUL | Last Updated on August 8, 2022

  • Steps to practice Siddhasana with perfect form.

  • Valuable insights from yogis to fine tune the pose.

  • Siddhasana Benefits: Why pick this sitting posture over others?

  • Use this pose to amplify the benefits of Ujjayi Pranayama.

vajrasana_thunderbolt_pose_yoga.jpg

We think everyone should choose an asana with deliberation. One yoga pose might be more stable if you sit for long periods, another can increase inner-connect and awareness, and a third could facilitate the optimal prana-flow for yoga breathing.

 

But we are spoiled for choice today. From Padmasana to Sukhasana and Vajrasana, there are dozens of meditation postures to choose from. Generally, new students start with Easy Pose or sitting in a chair, and accomplished yogis have a wide range of sitting postures at their disposal.

 

Yet, nearly a thousand years ago, the yogi Goraksha wrote a treatise on 9th-century yoga. It only mentions two asanas for yoga - Lotus Pose and Accomplished Pose.

 

Prana Sutra frequently recommends Siddhasana as one of the best sitting postures for pranayama and meditation. A study(2) of three yoga poses noted participants meditating in Siddhasana had higher oxygen uptake and respiratory exchange ratio compared to those in Savasana or in a chair.

There are charming reasons for its storied history, but the long and short of it is Siddhasana is a time-honored asana. It’s not just the oldest but also one of the most rewarding of all meditative postures. So rewarding that even the Hindu Gods and Great Sages are depicted in it.

Below, we explain the steps, benefits and tips to master the Siddhasana pose.

Siddhasana: Meaning and Purpose

 

Siddhasana is a combination of two Sanskrit words – Siddha meaning ‘adept’ or ‘accomplished,’ and asana meaning ‘posture.’ Thereby, Siddhasana (सिद्धासन) translates in English to ‘the Pose of the Adept.’ [3]

 

However, the Siddha can be interpreted in many ways. From a mystic to a devotee to a self-realized person, the word alludes to an individual who attains physical, mental and spiritual perfection through sadhana, the practice of yoga kriyas in this context. 

 

“In the Shaiva tradition, ‘Siddha’ is used for a person who realizes the non-dual (Advaita) nature of the Universe through yoga practices,” says Vineet Kaul, a Vedic meditation and Nada Yoga enthusiast. “It is call called Shiv Anubhava – to experience Shiva within oneself,” he adds.

 

In the West, thanks to the English translation, Siddhasana is called the Accomplished, Perfect, or Adept Pose. It has a preparatory pose called Ardha Siddhasana, which we will get into later.

What is the Siddhasana in yoga

 

The Siddhasana pose is a classical yoga sitting posture that involves sitting cross-legged while pressing the left heel against the genital organ, the right heel on top of the left heel, and bringing awareness to the eyebrow center (Ajna). This yoga pose targets the hips, pelvic floor, and legs.

 

The arrangement of the body in the Accomplished Pose is extremely stable, which is desirable to sit for an extended period. It lengthens the spine, opens the chest, and balances the blood flow to the lower body energy centers. Therefore, it is widely used in asana, pranayama and meditation.

 
Siddhasana.png

Siddhasana Basics

  • Difficulty Level: Beginner

  • Sanskrit Name: Siddhāsana (सिद्धासन)

  • Pronounced: seed-haa-sun

  • Targets: Quads, knees, ankles

  • Chakra: Root and Sacral Chakra

  • Used for: Asana, Pranayama, Meditation

  • Props: Yoga towel, Blanket, or Block

  • Alternate Poses: Suhkasana, Padmasana

 

Siddhasana is a great hip opening that works on the erector spinae muscles, which help us sit up straight. It’s is a well-balanced arrangement of the body that provides physical stability for spiritual practices.

 

According to Swami Satyananda Saraswati, the Siddhasana pose preferred redirects sexual energy and circulation away from the lower centers and up the spine [3]. The Accomplished Pose balances sexual urges and sends prana to the brain, which helps enter deep states of meditation.

 

The heel pressing against the groin stimulates the Root and Sacral Chakra with an effect similar to the Root Lock and Sahajoli Mudra. According to Satyananda, sitting in Siddhasana can lead to “noticeable tingling sensations in the muladhara region, which may last for 10 to 15 minutes.”

 

Yoga texts claim Siddhasana balances the nervous system and lowers blood pressure. A peer-reviewed study (1) on meditative asanas observed eight weeks of training resulted in a significant increase in concentration (kinaesthetic perception) and movement speed among participants.

 

Note: The instructions for the Accomplished Pose are different for men (Siddhasana) and women (Siddha Yoni Asana). However, the benefits are the same.

Siddhasana Benefits

  1. Stretches the lower back, groin, calves, inner thighs, and front of your ankles.

  2. Strengthens hip adductors, calf muscles, and back muscles.

  3. Improve hip flexibility and strengthens the core.

  4. Improves posture & strengthens erector spinae muscles used to sit up straight.

  5. Calm the nervous system and balances the lower energy centers (chakras).

  6. Improves focus and upward flow of prana (life-energy currents).

 
 

Siddhasana Step-by-step

  1. Roll out your yoga mat and get into the Staff Pose (Dandasana). Pull the left foot in, touching the heel to the groin (perineum) and applying firm pressure. Press the sole of the left foot against the inner thigh of the right.

  2. Men press the heel against the soft tissue between the anus and testis. Women practice Siddha Yoni Asana, which is essentially the same pose but with the lower heel pressed against the labia majora.

  3. Now pull your right foot in and place it over the left foot. The upper heel is aligned with the lower heel (one on top of the other) touching the groin without applying pressure.

  4. Tuck the toes of the right foot in the fold of the knee - between the calf and the thigh. Either leg can be on top. In fact, you should change the leg on top every session to develop flexibility on both sides

  5. Place both stretched hands on the knees of respective side.

  6. Open the chest, drop the shoulders, and keep the upper body stable and relaxed. The head, neck, and spine should be in a straight line, perpendicular to the floor.

  7. The knees should touch the floor or be as close to it as comfortable. Fine-tune the pose as you progress.

vajrasana_front_view_close_up.jpg

Duration:

 

Siddhasana can be done anytime during the day on an empty stomach. You can hold the pose for 3 to 60 minutes. Beginners should start with a few minutes and progress gradually.

Awareness:

 

Spiritual awareness is implicit in every asana but varies based on your goals. In Siddhasana, we bring awareness to the eyebrow center during meditation. In pranayama, link your mind to the breath to amplify the Siddhasana benefits.

 
 

Safety and Precautions

The pose is only contraindicated for people who suffer from sciatica or stomach infections. Pregnant women and people recovering from an illness, operation, or injury should avoid Siddhasana. Stop immediately if you experience severe discomfort. In case of persistent pain, seek medical advice immediately.

 

Broadly speaking, Siddhasana is safe for healthy individuals. But you need baseline flexibility and fitness levels to perform this (or any other) yoga pose.

 

Modifications and Variations

Descriptions of Siddhasana are found in all major yoga tests. It boils down to two versions of the same pose, one used in modern yoga and the other used by BKS Iyengar. We practice the Iyengar version as opposed to the modern yoga version.

In the Iyengar version, you tuck the toes of the foot on top between the calf and thigh of the leg below. In modern yoga, you place the right heel on top of the left heel, placing the both knees and feet on the ground[XXX].

The Accomplished Pose is rarely done with yoga props, but beginners can sit on a cushion, block or stacked blankets to elevate the hips and ease discomfort. You can also place a towel under the knees or ankles to cushion them.

Alternate Pose: Ardha Siddhasana

Try Ardha Siddhasana if Siddhasana feels too difficult, for whatever reasons. Ardha means half, thereby Ardha Siddhasana is ‘half’ of the Accomplished Pose. In this pose, everything is the same except you place the top leg on the ground instead of tucking it into the knee fold.

Generally, the meniscus (in the knees) cannot handle twist involved in tucking the foot into the fold created by the calf and thigh. The modification reduces the strain on the ankle and knee joints.  It’s a good way to practice this pose for beginners or the elderly.

As for Muktasana, several yoga texts make no distinction between Siddhasana and Muktasana; nor do we. If you still struggle with the Accomplished Pose, learn the Easy Pose (Sukasana) and work on your hip flexor and lower body flexibility.

 
 

Tips to Fine Tune the Siddhasana Pose

 

One of the main benefits of Siddhasana is that it prevents energy from escaping through the pelvic floor (Apana) and redirects it up the spine and into the brain.

 

“Don’t omit the heel-to-groin connection. Not applying firm pressure on the pelvic floor negates most of the benefits of this pose,” says Vineet Kaul. “Secondly, don’t lift your knees too far up when you place the right heel on top of the left heel. It can strain the lower back,” he adds.

 

Sitting upright with an elongated spine is not as easy as it seems. Most beginners round the back after a few minutes of practice. Keep the shoulders relax, tuck the chin, and open the chest. Sitting on the edge of a rectangular yoga bolster can help.

 

Get in and out of the Accomplished Pose slowly. Don’t rearrange your legs without excessive force. If you find yourself struggling, work on your hip flexibility before attempting Siddhasana. It’s not uncommon to feel some discomfort when you start.

 

Numbness or pins-and-needles in the legs is another common experience in Siddhasana, particularly during the early days. To remedy it, massage the legs for a few minutes or stretch the legs in Corpse Pose with the toes pointing the ceiling.

FAQ:

Is Siddhasana the same as Padmasana?

 

Siddhasana are Padmasana are the oldest and most important asanas in yoga. But Siddhasana (Accomplished Pose) is not the same yoga pose as Padmasana (Lotus Posture). It is also called Muktasana and Guptasana in older yoga texts.

In Conclusion

We hope this guide to Vajrasana and its benefits provides instructions, motivation, and answers to the commonly asked questions. Check out our Instagram (@pranasutra.yoga) and share this free resource with your friends and family.

There is inexplicable variance in the online information available for Siddhasana, and some of it is downright egregious. The two main variations of the pose we have referenced are Siddhasana as per the writings of B.K.S. Iyenger and its gentle-on-the-knees cousin - Ardha Siddhasana. What you may learn or practice will vary based on your choice of text or teacher to guide you.