This pose is a beautiful representation of the lotus flower, a symbol of perseverance and fearlessness. The lotus flower is able to grow and blossom while surrounded by muddy waters. This metaphor is used to encourage us to reach our full potential, despite any obstacles or negativity we encounter.
Lotus Pose, while it looks quite simple, actually requires a lot of patience and practice before one can fully bloom in the pose.
Lotus Pose is commonly used for meditation, a place where we come to sit in stillness and silence. Meditation, like Lotus, is much easier said that done. Achieving both physical and mental success in this pose is incredibly rewarding and beneficial.
The challenge of Lotus Pose lies in the tightness of our hips, something a lot of people experience. It would be very difficult to get into Lotus at the beginning of a practice, and thus we need to warm our bodies up through a series of hip opening stretches.
I’d recommend a wide-leg Child’s Pose, a few Warriors, Pigeon, Fire Log Pose, and Bound Angle in preparation.
How to do Lotus Pose
- Start by sitting on the floor with legs out straight.
- Firmly root down through your sitz bones.
- Bend the right knee and bring the foot across the body towards the left elbow.
- If you can, hook your right foot in the left elbow and the right knee in the right elbow, bringing the hands together and creating a cradle for the leg and foot.
- You can gently rock the leg back and forth to open the hip up a little more.
- Then, bring the right foot down so the outside edge rests in the left groin.
- Leaning back slightly, lift the right leg off the ground and bend the left knee.
- Swiveling at the left hip, bring the left foot across the body and into the right groin.
- Firmly press your heels into your belly.
- Sit tall, keeping your spine long.
- You can rest your palms on your knees, facing up or down.
- If this pose is comfortable, stay here for a meditation or a couple minutes of deep breathing.
- Make sure to practice on both sides.
Modifications and Cautions
If this pose is difficult at first, try Half Lotus by only bringing one foot into the groin and leaving the other on the floor in a crossed leg position. You can use a blanket to support the bottom leg. Practice on both sides to work on flexibility evenly.
People with knee or ankle injuries should avoid this pose.
Physically, this pose opens and releases the hips, and stretches the ankles and knees. It can ease symptoms of menstruation and is even said to ease childbirth when practiced regularly. Lotus Pose also strengthens the spine and improves posture.
On a deeper level, this opening of the hips releases negativity, stress, and fear, all of which are stored in our hips. As it is a pose utilized for meditation, Lotus allows us to calm our thoughts and find relaxation.
The physical yoga practice is said to be a vehicle for calming the body in preparation for meditation. Lotus Pose is that place that all the work of a yoga class leads up to. The body is open and ready to find stillness and reap the benefits of Lotus.
Finding this deep release is therapeutic, but can also be overwhelming. Doing the physical work to get in this pose is just the beginning for the mental work that can happen when you get there.
Do you incorporate Lotus Pose into your regular practice? What do you love about it? Share with us below!