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Vajrasana is a posture that is used in the Hatha form of yoga. To perform the pose, or asana, a person would sit back on her folded legs, resting her buttocks on her calves and heels, and the big toe of each foot should touch. The hands of the yoga practitioner should rest on the thighs, palms facing downward, and fingers spread open. Although the vajrasana pose is considered to be a basic pose for use during meditation, it is not recommended for everyone, particularly for people with joint ailments.
As many people can sit on their calves and heels comfortably for long periods of time, vajrasana is often used during meditation. People new to yoga may want to assume this position for shorter periods of time each day, such as five to 10 minutes. Since the majority of a person’s body weight is placed on the spine with vajrasana, it is important to slowly build up the core muscles in the back to avoid injury. As the back muscles become stronger, the person may increase the amount of time that he or she holds this position, eventually reaching several hours in one sitting.
Aside from allowing yoga practitioners to meditate in comfort, vajrasana also helps practitioners digest their food. It is a good pose for those wanting to improve posture and strengthen the muscles in the pelvic region as well. It is also recommended for people with back problems and pain in the shoulder region. The pose is thought to uplift the spirit as well, when used during meditation.
Properly holding the vajrasana pose is only part of the practice of yoga. Practitioners must also know how to exit the position. To exit, the yoga practitioner should carefully bend forward and set her hands in front of her on the yoga mat. Then, she should slowly sit to either the right or left side of her legs. Lastly, she should straighten out her legs.
People with certain ailments should use the vajrasana position with caution. For example, people with stiff leg or hip joints should only use this pose after their joints become loose. In addition, some medical doctors caution people with knee or ankle injuries from practicing this position, particularly for long periods of time; these medical conditions can worsen, especially if tendons and ligaments are stretched beyond a healthy point.
There are some modifications that may make the vajrasana pose a bit easier. For example, if a yoga practitioner places a blanket or a pillow across her heels and calves, it might make it more comfortable for her to sit back on her legs. In addition, people with sore ankles may place a towel or small pillow underneath the ankles to give more support and prevent the ankles from fatiguing, particularly during meditation.