Siddhasana is a profoundly relaxing and steadying, but also energetically dynamic seated posture. It means “the accomplished pose” or “seat of the Siddha.”
Long ago, I was taught a standard version of siddhasana that is supposedly “for women.” After attempting to perfect this pose, I came to the conclusion that this “for women” had likely been a well-meaning, but failed attempt at inclusion. Why? It was simply anatomically impossible for most of the women I knew, even highly practiced yoginis.
Later, I received a shock of recognition when I saw a photograph of Anandamayi Ma. The photo was titled “Ma’s Siddhasana.” I immediately tried the pose and understood it to be a siddhasana that works with the female body.
Recently, a long-time reader of the Jaya Kula blog sent me a photo of a painting of Tara suckling Shiva. There was the siddhasana of Ma again!
I did a bit of research and discovered that this form of siddhasana likely comes from the Shakta tradition of Bengal, which is also the tradition of Ma’s birth family.
The way that you do this siddhasana is to place your right heel lightly against your genitals. Then place your left heel on top of your right heel. Your left foot will cross over your right foot. Both heels should ideally be in contact with your body, but this may not be possible for all practitioners. The toes, or at least some of the toes of both feet will be touching the ground.
The knees must be touching the ground, also. Place a folded blanket or pillow underneath your knees if they are not touching the ground.
This gorgeous painting of Tara shows a more relaxed siddhasana. Perhaps due to some ignorance of the painter, the heels are not going toward the groin. In any case, your heels should be as close to your body as you can get them and still feel comfortable.
You may not be able to align your heels perfectly, but the pose will still be beneficial. Hip opening yoga will help you to eventually get into the pose more completely over time.
There are variations of this pose that will cause a strong upward movement of energy and are more limited in their use. This general version promotes steadiness and calmness for a wide variety of practices. Of course, men can enjoy this siddhasana also.
In Ma’s love,