Upward Lotus Pose (Urdhva Padmasana in Sarvangasana)

How to do Upward Lotus Pose (Urdhva Padmasana in Sarvangasana) - sharp muscle
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Updated: March 15, 2023

The Upward Lotus Pose, also known as Urdhva Padmasana in Sarvangasana, is an advance level of inversion pose, which is a combination of the Lotus Pose (Padmasana) and Shoulderstand Pose (Sarvangasana).

The pose strengthens the arms, shoulders, back, spine, hips, legs and abdominal muscles, it requires a strong foundation and an understanding of breath, lock (Abdominal lock and Chin lock), stability, strength, and balance.

Information

Known as:Upward Lotus Pose, Urdhva Padmasana in Sarvangasana, Upward Lotus in Shoulderstand, Inverted Lotus Pose
Sanskrit name:ऊर्ध्व पद्मासन
IAST:Ūrdhva Padmāsana
Pronunciation:OORD-vuh pod-MAHS-anna
Type:Balancing, inversion, arm balance
Level:Advanced
Focus:Arms, shoulders, spine
Total time:30 to 120 seconds
Drishti:Nose;
Third eye
Chakra:Sahasara Chakra, Anjna Chakra, Vishuddha Chakra, Manipura Chakra
Indications:Anal and urinary channels, menstrual troubles, asthma, breathlessness, palpitation, bronchitis, throat ailments, thyroid and parathyroid glands, shoulders, reproductive organs
Counterposes:Padmasana (Lotus Pose), Salamba Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand Pose)
Preparatory poses:Sarvangasana (Shoulderstand Pose), Padmasana (Lotus Pose), Halasana (Plow Pose, or Plough Pose)
Follow-up poses:Matsyasana (Fish Pose), Uttana padasana (Raised Legs Pose), Shirshasana (Headstand)
Contraindications:High blood pressure, surgery on the back or waist, spinal column ailments on the lower vertebrae, back injury, hip injury, ankle injury and knee injury, hernia, headache

Meaning

Urdhva Padmasana Pronunciation

Urdhva Padmasana derived from the Sanskrit name that made from three words — Urdhva + Padma + Asana:

  1. Urdhva” = “upward”
  2. Padma” = “lotus”
  3. Asana” = “pose or posture”

Benefits of Upward Lotus Pose (Urdhva Padmasana in Sarvangasana)

The physical and mental benefits of this yoga pose are listed below:

  1. Physical Benefits:
    • Strengthen the neck, chest, shoulders, hip, knee, thigh muscles, and anterior section of the spinal column
    • Stretches the shoulders
    • Reduce lower body fat
    • Reduce back pain
    • Eliminate toxins
    • Stimulates reproductive organs and enhance sexual health
    • Improves digestive health
    • Improves flexibility of spine
    • Improve the posture
    • Relief from the asthma, breathlessness, palpitation, bronchitis, throat ailments
    • Eliminate the common cold and nasal disturbances
    • Activate the thyroid and parathyroid glands
    • Stimulates the kidneys, circulation, and breath
    • Aids digestion by bringing the more blood and hence oxygen to the abdominal organs
    • Helps with the chronic migraine or headache (don’t exercise in case of acute headache)
    • Improve blood circulation and paves the way for dense hair growth
    • Slow down the aging process
    • Enhance the nutrient absorption ability of the body
    • Strong heart health
    • Good for the Celibate’s Pose (Brahmacharyasana)
  2. Mental Benefits:
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Upward Lotus Pose (Urdhva Padmasana in Sarvangasana) Practice Guide

Upward Lotus Pose (Urdhva Padmasana in Sarvangasana) - sharp muscle
© image: Instagram/Jelena

Instruction

  • Start in Supported Shoulderstand Pose (Salamba Sarvangasana), keep your both legs straight and the hands supporting your back.
  • Exhaling, bring your right ankle to your right thigh and your left ankle to your right thigh (take your one arm away from behind for support if necessary).
  • Take a deep breath, then exhale, flexing your hips to bring your thigh-bones parallel to the floor.
  • Take the hands one by one to the knees and straighten your arms. Create a stable posture by pressing the knees into the hands and hands into the knees. While opening the shoulders (tilt the head back slightly if you feel pressure at the top of the neck) look up to the nose to create a triangle base between the shoulders and head.
  • Hold the posture for 30 to 120 seconds.
  • Lower hands to floor to release, palms down (using the arms as brakes). Slowly exhale and lower your spine to the floor.
  • If you don’t think you can lower down in such a controlled manner, you can put the hands on the hips.
  • Either continue with the Fish Pose or release your legs.
  • Note: You can modify the pose as you drop the hands to support your spine until you manage to achieve your right balance.

Anatomy engaging techniques

Upward Lotus Pose, also known as Urdhva Padmasana in Sarvangasana, engages several major muscle groups, including the hip flexors, glutes, core, and shoulders. By engaging these muscles, the pose helps to build strength, flexibility, and stability throughout the body. Here are some of the anatomy-engaging techniques used in Upward Lotus Pose, and how they work:

  1. Hip Flexor Engagement: In order to bring the legs into the lotus position in this pose, the hip flexors must be engaged to draw the knees towards the chest. This engages the psoas major muscle, which is a deep hip flexor muscle that plays a key role in stabilizing the pelvis and supporting the spine. By engaging the hip flexors in Upward Lotus Pose, practitioners can help to strengthen and stretch these muscles, which can help to improve posture and reduce lower back pain.
  2. Glute Engagement: Once the legs are in the lotus position, the glute muscles are engaged to lift the hips higher and create length in the spine. This engages the gluteus maximus muscle, which is the largest muscle in the body and is responsible for hip extension and stabilization. By engaging the glutes in this pose, practitioners can help to strengthen and tone these muscles, which can help to improve overall hip and back stability.
  3. Core Engagement: In order to maintain balance and stability in Upward Lotus Pose, the core muscles must be engaged. This engages the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, and oblique muscles, which are responsible for stabilizing the spine and pelvis. By engaging the core in this pose, practitioners can help to build strength and stability throughout the entire torso, which can help to improve posture and reduce the risk of back pain.
  4. Shoulder Engagement: In order to support the weight of the body in this pose, the shoulders must be engaged. This engages the deltoid and trapezius muscles, which are responsible for shoulder stabilization and mobility. By engaging the shoulders in this pose, practitioners can help to build strength and stability in the upper body, which can help to improve overall posture and reduce the risk of shoulder injuries.
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Common mistakes

Upward Lotus Pose (Urdhva Padmasana in Sarvangasana) is an advanced yoga pose that requires a great deal of strength, flexibility, and balance. While it can be a rewarding pose to practice, it is also important to be aware of common mistakes that can lead to discomfort or injury. Here are some common mistakes in Upward Lotus Pose, and why they can be problematic:

  1. Rushing into the pose: One common mistake in Upward Lotus Pose is rushing into the pose without properly warming up the body or building up to the pose. This can put strain on the hips, knees, and lower back, and can increase the risk of injury. It is important to prepare the body with other hip-opening and core-strengthening poses before attempting Upward Lotus Pose.
  2. Not engaging the core: Another common mistake is failing to engage the core muscles, which can lead to a collapse in the lower back and loss of stability in the pose. By engaging the core muscles, practitioners can help to stabilize the spine and pelvis, and maintain balance in the pose.
  3. Not supporting the shoulders: In Upward Lotus Pose, it is important to support the weight of the body with the shoulders, rather than allowing the weight to rest on the neck or head. Failing to properly engage and support the shoulders can lead to strain in the neck and upper back.
  4. Forcing the legs into lotus position: Forcing the legs into lotus position without proper preparation or alignment can put strain on the knees and hips, and can lead to discomfort or injury. It is important to gradually work towards the pose and use props such as blankets or blocks to support the hips and knees as needed.
  5. Not breathing deeply: Finally, one common mistake in Upward Lotus Pose is failing to breathe deeply and evenly. By breathing deeply and slowly, practitioners can help to calm the mind and release tension in the body, which can make the pose more comfortable and effective.
Note:
Approach Upward Lotus Pose with patience, awareness, and proper alignment to avoid common mistakes and practice safely. Working with a qualified yoga teacher can be helpful in learning proper alignment and avoiding potential pitfalls in this challenging pose.

Precautions and contraindications

The Upward Lotus Pose (Urdhva Padmasana) is practiced with a combination of Base Pose Lotus Pose and Shoulderstand Pose, so the precautions and contraindications to these pose may be mentioned.

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For additional precautions and contraindications to keep in mind in this pose which includes flexing the hips and holding the breath, which are explained below:

Injury and surgery

Avoid this if you are either injured or recovering from an injury. Injuries can be of any type, as the practice of Upward Lotus Pose involves the whole body. Of course, it goes without saying that people recovering from surgery are also at risk, but you should take care, even if the surgery performed is chronic. The Upward Lotus Pose should be offered only on the basis of complete description and analysis.

Physical conditions

Certain conditions like trauma, severe Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), glaucoma, ear infections, viral recovery, autoimmune disorders (with a clear understanding of the same), fibromyalgia, weak joints etc. are all contraindications and should be avoided practicing this pose.

Discomfort and bandha

Not everyone will be comfortable with bandhas during a pose, even if they find it easy as an independent exercise. Breathing when in inversion pose can be a challenge in itself, and can be troublesome if the person has to hold their breath as well. Therefore, unless individuals are comfortable with the practices of bandhas, they should avoid the practice of this pose.

Diversity and awareness

If you are generally fit and strong, but still have difficulty holding the pose in Upward Lotus Pose (Urdhva Padmasana in Sarvangasana), they can begin practicing it with a partner before becoming independent. This can be a great way to bring awareness to the breath-body-mind connection. Once comfortable with this change, they can move to an unsupported posture.

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