Lotus Pose  -Padmasana

Step by step

  • From a seated cross-legged position, ground the hips. Inhale and lengthen through the spine.
  • As you exhale, bring the right leg as far out to the right as possible, close the knee by bringing thigh and calf together.
  • Flex your foot and bring the outside of the right foot to rest in the inner left groin as you inhale. Ensure the rotation comes from the hip and not the knee joint.
  • Now pick up the left leg. Pivot the leg from the hip and slide the left leg over the right with your left foot into the right groin.
  • Draw the knees as close together as is comfortable.
  • Bring the backs of the hands to the knees with your fingers in Jnana mudra - thumbs and first fingers touching.
  • Keep the spine long. Your drishti (focus point) is to the floor ahead of you.
  • Stay in the pose for 10 breaths or longer.
  • Come out of the pose the reverse way you came in by uncrossing one leg carefully and then the next one. Repeat starting with the left foot.

Beginners tips

  • Warm your hips up with preparatory poses such as cradling the leg in the arm to open up the hips.
  • Start by working on Easy pose, Cow Face pose and other hip openers.
  • Always make sure you are rotating from the hip and not the knee.
  • Practise with awareness and patience - Lotus pose is not suitable for all people’s bodies. Your bone structure may mean another seated pose is a better option for you. For more about this read Tension versus compression in yoga.

Benefits

  • Increases flexibility in the hips.
  • Used for Pranayama practice.

Watch out for

  • Both beginners and experienced students need to take extra care of the knees in this pose. Flex the foot and push out through the ball of the foot to help protect the knees
  • As we talked about in beginners' tips above, Lotus pose is not suitable for certain people’s skeletons and so another variation or pose should be used such as Cross-legged Pose / Sukhasana which can provide the same benefits.
  • Substitute with another seated pose if you have any problems with your knees or ankles.

Variations

  • Push down through the arms and lift your body off the floor into Scales Pose / Tolasana.
  • Reach the arms around the back to to clasp the opposite foot or forearms. Fold forward into Bound Lotus Pose / Baddha Padmasana.