Poses by Type

Lotus Pose

Lotus Pose, or Padmasana in Sanskrit, requires open hips and consistent practice. This pose creates an essential foundation for meditation practice while helping to manage stress with a conscious stretch in the front of the thighs and ankles.

How to say Padmasana in Sanskirt

(pod-MAHS-anna)
padma = lotus

Lotus Pose Step-by-Step Instructions

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Photo: Christopher Dougherty; Mat: Jade Yoga; Props: Hugger Mugger
  1. Begin seated in Dandasana (Staff Pose) with your legs extended forward. 
  2. Press forward with your big toe mounds, and draw back with the outer border of each foot. 
  3. Engage your spinal muscles to elongate and activate your spine. 
  4. Maintain your left leg in Dandasana, and bend your right knee, externally rotating from deep in your hip socket so your knee falls open to the right. 
  5. Take your right ankle in your left hand, holding from below so your palm faces up. 
  6. Support your right outer knee with your right hand, and bring your leg into a Figure 4 position with your shin parallel to your torso. 
  7. Revisit the Dandasana foot actions with your right foot, pressing into your big toe mound and drawing the pinky toe side of your foot back. 
  8. Maintaining the external rotation in your hip, start to draw your right heel toward your navel, increasing the flexion of your knee and gently swinging your knee forward and down toward your midline. 
  9. Allow your left leg to fall open, and place your right foot in your left groin with your heel to the left of your pubis. 
  10. Lean back slightly, and begin to bend your left knee, drawing your left foot toward your right knee. 
  11. Clasp your left ankle from below with your right hand (palm up), and carefully swing your left knee toward your midline. 
  12. Place your left heel in your right groin with your left heel to the right of your pubis. 
  13. Press into your big toe mounds to help draw your knees closer together, then release that action. 
  14. Rest your hands on your knees palms up, then draw them back slightly to align the heads of your upper arms with your side body. 
  15. Engage your spinal muscles, drawing your sacrum in and up toward your navel and lifting and opening your chest. 
  16. Stack the crown of your head directly over your pelvis, and soften your gaze. 
  17. Hold for 5–10 breaths, then release.
  18. Repeat on the other side.

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Lotus Pose Cues

Cautions and Contraindications of Lotus Pose 

  • Avoid or modify if you have any knee pain, knee injuries (particularly knee ligament injuries), knee arthritis, knee replacement, or any other knee limitations or concerns. 
  • Avoid, be cautious, or modify if you have hip arthritis, pain, injury, or replacement. 
  • Don’t force your body into the pose; instead, move slowly and mindfully in and out of the pose. 
  • If you have any pain with the pose or other limitations, try pose variations and modifications, or visualize doing the full expression of the pose in any position. Always ask your health care team if you are unsure of what you can and cannot do with your particular health concerns. Also, seek a qualified yoga instructor or yoga therapist to help you individually adapt the pose for safety.

Benefits of lord of Lotus Pose

  • Creates a foundation for meditation practices
  • Can help manage stress. When done in a relaxed manner, this pose activates the relaxation response (parasympathetic nervous system) and deactivates the stress response (sympathetic nervous system)
  • May help regulate blood pressure taking time to sit, relax, and meditate may help to lower and regulate blood pressure
  • Stretches the front of the thighs (quadriceps) and ankles

3 Ways to modify Lotus Pose

1. Half Lotus Pose

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Photo: Christopher Dougherty; Mat: Jade Yoga; Props: Hugger Mugger
  • Sit cross-legged, and use the support of your hands to slowly lift one leg on top of the other; stop if you feel any knee pain, and try another meditative posture like basic cross-legged—Sukhasana (Easy Pose).

2. Half Lotus with props

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Photo: Christopher Dougherty; Mat: Jade Yoga; Props: Hugger Mugger
  • Sit cross-legged, and use the support of your hands to slowly lift one leg on top of the other; stop if you feel any knee pain and try another meditative posture like basic cross-legged—Sukhasana (Easy Pose). 
  • Rest your thighs on blocks or folded blankets; find support with props to avoid pressure on the hip and knee joints.

3. Seated Meditation Posture in a Chair

  • Come to a comfortable seated position in a chair wth your feet directly under your knees, allowing a 90 degrees
  • If you are taller, consider also sitting on a folded blanket. If you are shorter, try putting blocks under your feet to bring.
  • If accessible, sit forward in the chair, with a neutral spine
  • Feel the crown of your head lifting upward, avoiding slouching and lengthening your spine into a neutral curve 
  • If needed, you can use the back of the chair for support or add a pillow behind your back.

Preparatory Poses for Lotus Pose

Follow-up Poses after Lotus Pose

Sequence Tip

This is a great posture for seated meditation at the end of your practice once your hips have been warmed up. 

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