The padma, or lotus, is a tropical water plant that grows in ponds all over India. The lotus motif runs through much of yoga reminding us that our bodies, contrary to appearances, are composed almost entirely of water. Yoga literally means to join. Our practice of yoga joins us with our water nature and the lotus motif symbolizes this reunion.

We sit in lotus. We invert in lotus. That is not all though. We keep the lotus motif as a guiding principle that informs our form throughout our practice. In yoga, our mind-bodies develop the tenacity of the lotus stem. It is a form of undiluted amusement for rural folk in India to watch a city boy or girl filled with an inexplicable longing for a lotus flower plunge hands into a pond and pull, and pull, and pull to no effect whatsoever. The lotus stem is almost impossible to break!

The lotus motif connects us to that ephemeral tenacity that Gandhiji called Satyagraha or Soul Force.

 Abhay Ghiara is a teacher, writer, and Gandhian economist. He studied economics and yoga at Bombay University, graduating exactly 100 years after Mahatma Gandhi. He has practiced yoga all his life.

Abhay has lectured on yoga and life in San Francisco, London, Bristol, Chicago, and Mumbai, India. photo: Maritstar

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