The Thunderbolt Pose
Vajrasana (Sanskrit: वज्रासन vajrāsana n.) is a posture in Yoga, namely the heel seat. This upright sitting posture is also suitable as a posture for meditation or performing Pranayama. Vajrasana is derived from the two Sanskrit words vajra and asana. Asana means position. Vajra means thunderbolt or lightning. Why it is called lightning is relatively clear: lower legs, thighs and torso together are jagged several times like lightning. Vajrasana is also meant to express that if you hold the position longer, the energy can go up in a flash, and so it is also like the thunderbolt. On the other hand, Vajra also means diamond, because the diamond is strong and valuable. Similar to the diamond, you can be firm in Vajrasana for a long time and you can achieve something very valuable: namely, the calmness of mind and intense energy.
Health Benefits of Vajrasana
1. Improved Digestion
One of the key advantages of practicing Vajrasana is its positive influence on digestion. By sitting in this pose after meals, you encourage the blood flow to the abdominal area, optimizing digestion and reducing digestive discomfort. Vajrasana helps alleviate issues such as bloating, gas, and indigestion, making it an excellent choice for those seeking digestive health. Diaphragmatic Breathing is the key to exercise this pose correctly. By consciously directing the breath into the abdomen, rather than shallowly into the chest, we activate the diaphragm and unlock a myriad of benefits. Flatulence is combated and digestion is boosted. Regular practice of this asana has a positive influence on the Kanda, the most energetic point in the body. It is located about 30 cm above the anus and is the point of origin of 12000 Nadis.
2. Spinal Alignment
Furthermore, Vajrasana promotes proper posture and spinal alignment. When you sit in this pose, it engages and strengthens the muscles of the back, core, and pelvic floor. Regular practice of Vajrasana can help correct postural imbalances and enhance overall body alignment, leading to improved posture and reduced back pain. Engaging in Vajrasana aids in offering relief from sporadic pain and discomfort. Moreover, it can be beneficial in alleviating sciatica-related pain.
3. Mental Benefits
The Thunderbolt Pose also aids in mental focus and concentration. As you sit in Vajrasana, the pose promotes a sense of grounding and stability, allowing you to find stillness within. This meditative aspect of Vajrasana helps calm the mind, reduce anxiety, and enhance mental clarity, making it an ideal posture for meditation.
4. Mind - Body Connection
Moreover, Vajrasana cultivates a deeper mind-body connection. The pose activates the root chakra, which is associated with feelings of stability, security, and connection to the earth. This grounding effect enhances your overall sense of well-being and helps foster a harmonious balance between the physical and energetic aspects of your being.
How to practice Vajrasana
To practice Vajrasana, kneel down and sit on your heels as it is comfortable for you. For some people it is comfortable to keep the heels almost together, for others it is more comfortable to have the heels slightly apart, so that the seat humps are either on the heels themselves or also on the inside of the feet. Another variation of Vajrasana is to spread the heels so far apart that you are almost on the ground. This execution is also sometimes referred to as Mandukasana. You can gradually increase the duration of your practice, starting with a few minutes and gradually working your way up to longer periods.
1. Simple Variations of Vajrasana
Some people find it difficult to sit in the basic position. It is therefore also possible, on the one hand, to place a cushion upright between the heels and sit on the cushion or to use a knee bench. The knee bench is typically aligned so that the seat is slightly tilted forward. Vajrasana helps to keep the spine erect. Since you don't need rotational flexibility with Vajrasana, this posture is more comfortable for the knees. However, some people feel that after a while the knees or the back of the feet still hurt. Then you either have to take a cross-legged mediation position or put a blanket under your knees or a towel roll under your ankles so that the instep is not stretched quite as much.
2. Vajrasana compared to the cross-legged mediation position
The cross-legged positions, such as Padmasana, Svastikasana, Siddhasana, Sukhasana, Muktasana, have the advantage that by giving the knees apart, a triangle is created that points to the spine. The cross-legged seat also helps to open the pelvis forward, opening the deep abdomen and thus bringing the energy inside. In the cross-legged sitting postures, a cushion is usually needed to be able to sit straight. Few people can sit upright cross-legged even without a pillow. Vajrasana, on the other hand, is able to keep the spine upright without effort. So, there is less of a tendency to have sunk into this position. On the other hand, the knee position closes to the front and opens to the back. It is not for nothing that there is also a variation of Vajrasana called Brahmacharyasana, in which the knees are together and the feet are a little further apart, which is basically a variation of Mandukasana. This position is intended to help bring the sexual energy back so that it enters the spine and the energy can be directed upwards. All Vajrasana variations help you to close at the front and open up at the back. In addition, when you are in the kneeling position, the hip-sacral joints are pulled apart a little, in the cross-legged position they are rather compressed. Both versions therefore have their individual advantages.
3. Hand Postures in Vajrasana
In Vajrasana you can basically take the same hand positions as in the cross-legged positions. What some also like in Vajrasana is to make fists with thumbs up, since this position is also called lightning and thunderbolt and is therefore associated with fire. This hand posture is called Agni-Mudra, the Fire Mudra and expresses that in this position you want to light your fire and strive for the Supreme.
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