Yoga Stories: The Lotus Flower

by Melissa West on May 9, 2011

Throughout this spring and summer Namaste Yoga will be unfolding a new series of yoga classes entitled yoga stories. Each week we will explore a yoga pose and the mythology and symbolism behind it.

Last week we started with lotus pose or padmasana.

Lotus pose is based on the lotus flower which has its roots in muddy waters, but blooms above the water without becoming dirty by the mire below. The mud which roots the lotus flower is staid to be symbolic of our attachments and desires.  It is said that the lotus flower’s unfolding petals suggests the expansion of our soul. As such the lotus flower is a symbol of the purity of our body, speech, and mind. The way that water droplets easily slide off the petals of the lotus flower is said to be symbolic of detachment. 

The lotus flower is a metaphor for the quest of the yogi. Just like us, the lotus flower is an example of how something beautiful can emerge from something unpleasant. As yogis we can experience the flower of spiritual progress emerging from the mud and muck of our actions as we exercise consistent efforts to improve and grow. The lotus flower is an important symbol of spiritual progress for the yogi as we can grow from the muck of even the worst circumstances.

The Goddess of abundance and beauty, Lakshmi, chooses the lotus flower as her throne. Lakshmi reminds us that we can create beauty and abundance from any situation.

The lotus flower is also a metaphor for spiritual progress through our chakra system. The lotus flower is rooted at the base of our spine at the root chakra. It grows up through the spine to its crowning glory at the seventh chakra – the 1,000-petaled lotus flower which symbolizes the expansion of our soul. Each one of our chakras are also interchangeably referred to as lotus flowers. Like the lotus flower our chakras can be open or closed, dying or budding all depending on the state of our consciousness and our interaction in the world. The heart chakra is often referred to as a lotus flower, encouraging us to open our hearts in the same way as the petals of a lotus flower would unfold.

Relfective Questions:
1. Describe something beautiful that has emerged out of the “mud” of your life?
2. What current unfoldings are you experiencing in your life?
3. Where do you experience attachment in your life? Where are you able to practice detachment?
4. Name 5 things of beauty in abundance with which you are blessed.
5. How does your yoga practice contribute to the unfolding of your soul?


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