Lotus Pose, or Padmasana (pod-MA-sana) as its called in Sanskrit, is among the iconic yoga postures. Like much of the practice, it may seem easy but it can be extremely challenging for even experienced yogis.
But that which is most challenging often reaps the greatest rewards, and lotus pose certainly lives up to that theory.
How to do Lotus Pose
You dont want to attempt lotus without sufficiently warming up and loosening the hips.
One simple way to loosen the hips while seated is to lift on leg and cradle your shin by placing your knee in the crook of one elbow and the bottom of your foot in the opposite elbow. Rock your leg from side to side to release any tightness in your hip joint.
When youre ready, from staff pose, bend your right leg and take hold of your right foot. Bring it up to your hip joint as you rotate your right hip open. Place your foot down so the top of your foot is in the hip crease and your heel is near your abdomen. Next, the left side. Bend your left leg to bring it closer to the body. Lift your foot and with your hands helping, bring it toward the right hip. Lower the top of the foot into the right hip crease, again bringing your heel close to your abdomen.
At this point, your weight should be on your sit bones and spine straight. With your legs and upper body in position, rest your hands gently on your thighs or knees, turned up with tips of the thumb and first finger touching.
Precautions in Lotus
This posture creates a lot of stretch through the hips and legs. If you feel any strain on your knees, modify the pose.
Tips for Beginners
This pose can take time and patience depending on your body. If this is too much for you, start with half lotus with just the right leg raised to rest in the left hip crease and the left leg folded under the right. Repeat this on the other side to work both hips and legs equally. If you cant reach your hip crease, thats ok. Listen to your body.
When youre ready move toward the complete posture.
You may find it easier to get your feet into position by leaning back slightly and then returning your weight to a neutral position.
It may also help your ankles to flex your feet slightly and think about pressing your heels into your belly.
Benefits of Lotus Pose
People often talk about holding stress in the back and shoulders, but the hips also often serve as a reservoir for restrained emotions which can lead to tightness and blocked energy. Lotus forces the release of those withheld emotions, thereby helping to calm the mind and increase awareness.
It also calls for sitting with an erect spine, which helps to encourage the flow of energy.
Additional Padmasana stretches the ankles and knees, improving posture and stimulating the bladder and pelvis, which means it helps with menstrual discomfort and childbirth.
Like its namesake that grows out of the muck to become a flower able to let mud slide right off of it, with practice, you too will be able to let negative energy slip away and let your light shine through for all to share.