Below are some vital warm-up steps, posture cues, and related relaxation positions recommended by yoga teachers that offer numerous benefits in opening the pelvic muscles before beginning the Siddhasana practice, and keeping your legs safe post-practice.
Part 1 - Preparatory Poses for Siddhasana
Flexing the hips and ankles is vital in the practice of Accomplished Pose, which allows students to sit for extended periods for meditation.
The following are a few preliminary poses for warm-up, which helps in opening the lower body before the main practice:
1. Ankle Rotations - Sit or stand to move the feet and ankles in circular motions, both clockwise and counter-clockwise. This will enhance the blood circulation in the foot and help prepare your ankles for the seated pose.
2. Sukhasana (Easy Pose) - Sukhasana is a meditative stance in which the legs are crossed in the most basic formation, unlike other meditative poses. It’s a warm-up yoga stance that gets the lower body ready for more rigorous yoga poses and yoga flows. Also, it aids in the development of hip and lower back endurance and stability.
3. Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) - Bound Angle Pose is a hip-opening posture that strengthens the pelvic floor, psoas, and hip flexors while stretching the groin, abductors (inner thighs), and knees. Also, the spine can be lengthened and decompressed as the hip flexor muscles soften up in this pose.
Part 2: Step-by-Step Instructions to Perform Siddhasana
The steps for obtaining an accomplished pose position can be found below:
Step 1: Take a seated, upright stance on the floor.
Step 2: Spread your legs a foot apart in front of you.
Step 3: Bend your left leg from the knee so that the sole of your left foot can rest against the inside of your right thigh.
Step 4: At the knee, bend the right leg and insert the foot between the left leg’s thigh and calf.
Step 5: With your spine erect, rest the wrists of both hands on the corresponding knees. Here, take a few deep breaths.
Step 6: Sit in this deep meditative position for as long as you feel comfortable.
Breath Awareness: Throughout the practice, follow a steady pace while breathing continuously. Make sure to inhale deeply and exhale twice the size you inhale.
Performance Duration for Beginners: Sit and hold Siddhasana pose for 5-10 minutes.
Performance Duration for Advanced: Sit and hold for as long as you wish to meditate in the Accomplished Pose.
Part 3: Things to Keep in Mind
The hip joint is the only joint that rotates here, and it can only rotate when the knees are flexed. So, make sure the hip joint can rotate safely when the knees are flexed.
Also, a few added elements must be considered while doing yoga, in order to avoid knee strain or knee pain:
Have a basic level understanding of how your joints are intended to move.
Understand the difference between pain and stress/discomfort.
If you feel any unnecessary pressure stop performing the practice.
The same leg crossed for too long- To properly complete Siddhasana, you must alternate which leg you cross on top each time, that way you can keep the blood flowing smoothly in both legs.
Forcing your knees to go down - Do not force your knees down closer to the floor if you’re new to this position or have limits in your hips or knees. Only descend to the depths to which you are at ease. If you can’t get your knees into a comfortable posture, sit on a cushion or a folded blanket. This will relieve some of the strain on your knees and hips.
Avoid upper and lower back rounding - The success of this asana depends on having a straight and upright posture with a flat back and long spine, especially during long meditation periods. So, consider sitting with your back straight against a wall if you tend to round your lower back.
Part 4: Relaxing Poses After Siddhasana
Relaxing after a long sitting session in Siddhasana can be helpful to regain blood circulation back around the legs and hip muscles. Here are a few counter yoga poses for relaxation after your Accomplished Pose practice.
1. Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend Pose): Relax the body by spreading your legs out in front of you and taking a few deep breaths while keeping the spine straight, especially after a long practice of seated Meditation or Pranayama in this pose.
Inhale and lift your entire body forward and bend down, place your chest close to your thighs and your face resting on your knees. This position will help circulate blood back to the legs by relaxing the entire spine and hips.
2. Savasana (Corpse Pose): After using Siddhasana as a deep meditation yoga pose, relaxing in Savasana is a great way to release all the tension from the spine, legs, knees, and glute muscles. To bring the energy back into the body, lie down in Savasana and recite the “Om” mantra for approximately 12 rounds.