Step-By-Step Breakdown: Lotus Pose
The Lowdown on Getting into Lotus
Close your eyes and picture a calm yogi. What did you see? Chances are it was a person (maybe even you!) meditating in lotus pose with a serene face.
Lotus requires serious flexibility in the hips, along with healthy knees and ankles. If your knees or ankles don't feel good at any point during this breakdown, maybe lotus pose isn't for you right now. Absolutely nothing in your life will change if you master lotus pose today (or in this lifetime), except that you will be in lotus pose.
Take this one step at a time and one breath at a time. Don't force anything! The pose will come if and when your body and mind are ready. Breathe deeply and enjoy the process!
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Prep Pose: Easy Seat
Sit cross-legged with one shin in front of the other, knees wide, and feet underneath opposite knees. Allow hands to relax on thighs with palms facing up for energy or facing down for grounding. Draw shoulder blades down and together on back. Lengthen back of neck and breathe here for at least 5 deep breaths.
Prep Move: Kundalini Frog Squats
Begin in a low squat with heels together and toes apart, balancing on balls of feet. Knees should point out to either side with fingertips on the ground or blocks (fingertips as opposed to hands provides extra length). Take a deep inhale in squat position and on the exhale, keeping feet as they are, lengthen legs, keeping knees soft (don't lock them!). Bring hips high, then inhale back to starting position. Do 20 to 30 reps at an easy, smooth pace until body is very warm.
Prep Pose: Squat
From standing, heel-toe feet wide apart, pointing toes out so that hips are open. Start to soften and bend knees, releasing hips toward the ground, hovering above at whatever height feels good for you. Take elbows inside of thighs, lightly pressing them out, and bring hands together like a prayer at the center of chest. Try to keep spine long. Breathe here for at least 5 deep breaths.
Prep Pose: Bound Angle Pose
Come to a seated position. Bend knees out wide to the sides and bring the soles of feet together, about 1 to 2 feet in front of you. Take hold of ankles with hands. Inhale to lengthen spine, and then hinge torso forward as far as the movement feels comfortable. Breathe here for at least 5 deep breaths.
Getting Into the Pose: Bow and Arrow
Sit with both legs long and in front of you. Bend right knee, pulling it toward right armpit, and take outer edge of right foot in right hand. Move leg and hip around in circular motions (or forward and back like you are drawing an arrow in a bow) until it feels loose.
Getting Into the Pose: Half Lotus Forward Fold
From there, use hands to place top of right foot at top of left thigh in left hip crease, foot flointed (half flexed, half pointed like a Barbie foot). Forward fold over left thigh and breathe here for at least 5 deep breaths. (Opposite side is shown.)
When you are comfortable with half lotus forward bend, bend left knee and use hands to place top of left foot at top of right thigh where right hip creases, foot flointed. Release hands to thighs in gyana mudra (thumb and forefinger touching, palms face up or down). Breathe here for at least 3 deep breaths. Repeat the breakdown on the opposite side.