Workshop in French-English
On the path to padmāsana
The lotus posture has been praised since the earliest times in India (Jainism, Hinduism, Buddhism) as the perfect posture for meditation. Whether seated on an antelope skin, a tiger skin, kusha grass or simply today a mat*, the meditator connects axially to the sky through his straight spine (from the coccyx to the top of the skull) while his crossed legs, knees on the ground, form the triangular base of his inner Mount Meru. Depending on the case, the hands in jñāna mudrā rest on the knees or in the lap in dhyāna mudrā.
This being said, our bodies today do not always have the capacity to achieve this ideal posture. To get close to it, we need to be patient, careful and confident. In this short two-hour workshop, I will propose some preliminary exercises where we will work simultaneously on feet, knees, hip rotation, lower back in a lying and sitting position. If done with awareness and regularity, they will not only help to achieve the first step on the path to the lotus, namely correct sitting in siddhāsana – traditionally advocated in prāṇayāma and meditation practice – but also to resonate profitably with other important Haṭha Yoga postures such as baddhakoṇāsana or ardhamatsyendrāsana.
*There is no question of a cushion as with the Zenists.
In this respect I follow the teaching of my Master Śrī Śrī Śrī Satchidananda Yogi . Therefore no medium is used. In the work, one starts from the state of one’s body as it is today and one feeds it little by little with awareness, one tames it, one makes it push back its “limits” (which are often only those of the mind): a posture can be correct even without being completely realized.
Marie Foucher-Bénédic is a direct disciple of Śrī Śrī Śrī Satchidananda, the Silent Yogi of Madras (1910-2006), whose motto above all was “Dive within yourself: “From 1982, the date of her dazzling encounter (she says) with the Master in the south of France, Marie Foucher-Bénédic did not stop following him faithfully throughout the years until the last visit (end of 2005) that she paid him to meditate with him in Madras shortly before his death. She admits that she never received any ‘academic’ yoga training. As president of Samgha, the association in charge of organising all the Master’s trips to France and Europe, his own intensive seminars but also the coordination of all the others to which the Master was invited, she was able to benefit closely and regularly from the precious teachings that the Master dispensed concretely through his body/mind and the strength of his silence. She presents herself as follows: My “academic” career (Maîtrise de Lettres modernes 1963, Maîtrise de japonais 1979) led me first to teach French and literature in Japan and Tunisia, then much later to become a Japanese translator. I have a deep and long-standing relationship with Asia, particularly through Buddhism and Chinese medicine. On the other hand, as far as Yoga is concerned, if I have been allowed to teach it for a long time (group and individual classes, teacher training seminars), if I have at heart to transmit, even if only partially, the inspiring practices that Sri Sri Satchidananda Yogi has bequeathed to us, it is undoubtedly only to the benevolent impulse of this silent Master that I owe it and which still animates me!