Happy Friday yogis!  This week’s fun pose friday, we’ll break down how to get into lotus pose, known in Sanskrit as Padmasana (padma means lotus). This grounded pose resembles the petals of the flower it’s named for, with legs flowering out in layers.

Lotus requires a great deal of flexibility. Hip-opening poses like half lotus (Ardha Padmasana), bound angle (Baddha Konasana), hero pose (Virasana), head to knee pose (Janu Sirsasana) and half lord of the fishes pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana) are all helpful to prepare the body for full lotus.

To get into the posture, start off seated on your mat, with legs stretched out in front of you. Sitting up tall, take your right foot and place it as close to your left hip crease as it can comfortably go. Now take your left foot and slowly place it on your right thigh or as close to the hip as it will go.

Once you have your feet positioned, sit up tall, extending the crown of your head toward the sky, rolling shoulders back and opening the chest.  Nice form Ida (pictured below)!

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When using as a meditative posture, many assume a mudra, where the hands are placed on the legs with palms up, thumb and finger(s) together.  Check out Annie in her half lotus and shuni mudra (tip of middle finger and thumb touching)…

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You can have fun with your lotus and all it’s variations!

Try bound full lotus, where you reach arms behind your back and grab onto the big toes.

Take it easy and warm up with half lotus. YogaNag rockin half lotus and hands in prayer…

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Take it up a notch and levitate your lotus in scale pose.  Oh hey, yogi Maeve:

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Or take padmasana to work, like Julie (pictured below)!

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Take your lotus on the water too!  Too cute~ Sara and her daughter Maya:

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Other variations keep legs in lotus while in headstand (Sirsasana), fish pose (Matsyasana) or shoulder stand (Salamba Sarvangasana).

Benefits of lotus pose include:

• Calms the mind

• Stretches hips, ankles and knees

• Eases menstrual discomfort and sciatica

• Practicing lotus during pregnancy can help open up hips and aid in childbirth.

Lotus is typically labeled an intermediate to advanced pose. It is not recommended for anyone who has a knee or ankle injury.

If full lotus pose causes pain or discomfort in ankles or knees, practice half lotus until you’re flexible enough to sit comfortably in the pose. If half lotus also is too intense, try easy seated pose (Sukhasana).

If you sit in lotus during meditation or pranayama, make sure to alternate which leg is on top. It’s common for students to cross their legs the same way every day, and this can cause imbalance in the hips.

Yoga Journal offers some great tips on flowering your body into lotus.

And check out Kino’s full lotus instruction too:

Enjoy yogis! See you on the mat!