Padmasana or Lotus Pose is one of the most iconic traditional yoga positions. Most find that their first attempt of getting into it proves that the pose isn’t as easy as they might’ve initially thought.
A lotus is a beautiful flower that grows up out of the muddiest waters. The image of the lotus symbolizes our spiritual journey on the yogic path. The bud of the lotus symbolizes the awakening that is planted in the heart of each yoga practitioner.
Just like a lotus flower coming into bloom Padmasana has its own time and its own logic. You can’t rush the progress of being able to get into this pose. Instead, you have to be patient and let the pose develop.
Your test to see if you’re ready to try the Lotus position is if you are comfortable sitting on the floor in a basic cross-legged position. If you aren’t, you’re not ready to try this pose.
If sitting on the floor in a cross-legged position is uncomfortable for you, there are a few things you can do to make it better. Try sitting on something to elevate your hips. Once you do that draw your belly in and try to sit forward on your sitting bones. Work on sitting like this and do some hip opening poses to build up the flexibility you need to be comfortable sitting cross-legged on the floor, so you can work your way up to doing this pose.
If you have a knee or ankle injury you shouldn’t attempt this pose. Also if you feel pain in the hip joint, knee, or ankle joint in this pose you should slowly and carefully get out of the posture. You don’t want to cause injury to your joints trying to do lotus.
If you are already comfortable sitting cross-legged on the floor you’re ready to work your way up to Padmasana.
Traditionally in the Ashtanga method, we always put the right foot up first when we enter Padmasana. Start out by sitting on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Bend your right knee and bring it all the way into your body making sure the joint is completely closed.
Externally rotate your hip joint and drop your knee to the side. Keep your knee joint completely closed so your calf muscle is against your thigh muscle. Now place your right hand under your right knee and your left hand under your right foot and lift your right leg to bring your right foot into your left hip crease.
Don’t let your knee torque.
Demi point your right foot. Hold onto your foot and your shinbone and reposition your right foot so the heel is pressing in toward the navel.
If you need support under your knee here you can place a block beneath it. If you feel any sharp pain in the knee it’s important that you back off.
If your knee is off the ground do not try to push it down. It will go down to the floor when it is ready.
Make sure your foot is high enough into the hip crease to make a straight line from your foot through your shin to your knee. If there is sickling of the foot you will experience ankle pain.
If you aren’t ready to get into a full lotus work on half-lotus position.
From half-lotus position bring your left leg in by closing the left knee and preparing to enter the pose completely. Cradle the left foot and the left knee and slide the left foot over the right leg and up into the right hip crease.
The tops of your feet are resting on your thighs so the soles of your feet are up. Your feet are demi pointed to keep activation in your ankles.
Now draw your belly in and lift your sternum. Avoid rounding your back. Place the tip of your thumb to the tip of your index finger on both hands and rest the back of your hands on your knees. Your arms are straight. Your chin is pulled in. Your gaze toward your nose.
To have a deeper understanding of Padmasana watch this video with Kino.