The full lotus pose is considered the quintessential meditative pose because it provides a strong foundation for an erect spine, and counteracts the tendency to slouch, thus cutting off the pranic flow along the spine, during prolonged sessions of ‘sitting.’
Padmasana also opens the entire lower body joints, from the ankles, knees, and hips, as well as allows deep inward concentration. Padma means lotus in Sanskrit, and it is the symbol used to signify a growth from the murk and depths of muddy water, to the clean beauty of a fully realized mind – untouched by the filth of the material world. You can also just practice the pose to improve your mental clarity and energize the body and brain. It is an excellent posture to help with a tight lower body, and can make sitting on long, intercontinental plane rides, a lot better, since the blood won’t pool in your legs as easily.
How to start out for the full lotus pose?
To start the pose, sit in Easy Pose first, (Sukhasana) and begin to bring one foot up to place it, sole facing upward, into the crease of the opposite hip. Many students cannot do this when they first begin so you can also just go slowly, and start by threading the foot between the calf and thigh instead of brining all the way p into the hip crease. You can also crank your ankles in a circle to help open up that joint, as well as practice on only one side at a time, called Ardha Padmasana, or Half Lotus pose. Practice by lifting one foot and placing as close to the hip crease as possible, then the other, crossing the ankles and calves on top of one another. The calves should roll upward, and the femur, or the large bone of the leg, should roll downward. You can even manually manipulate your calf up, and out of the way of your thigh is this helps, or you have larger muscles in this part of your body. Try the one-sided version first, and if it is comfortable add the second leg. If not, switch and just practice the Ardha, or half version until both sides are sufficiently flexible to perform the entire posture.
Warm Your Muscles & Go Slow
For the best results in trying to attain a full Padmasana, be sure to go slow. You may want to try to practice this pose only after doing some other postures first, and your muscles and warm and therefore more pliant.
Using Padmasana to Meditate
If sitting in Padmasana is your preferred pose for meditation, then go for it, but if you find that you are in exceeding discomfort in a few seconds after attempting the pose, think of it as a climb up a mountain. Don’t try to do it all in one day, and don’t neglect a meditative practice just because you can’t sit in Full Lotus pose. Try sitting with the legs crossed loosely in front of you with a tall spine until you feel more ready to try Padmasana.