I don’t know about you, but I had a super stressful and crazy hectic week! A few friends mentioned the same thing. Weeks like this really emphasize the importance of yoga practice to me. I can deal. If I don’t keep up with my meditation practice, I can’t deal at all. Lotus pose is meant for a meditation. Ha. Usually I meditate in sukasanna – I can barely sit in lotus pose for five minutes. Everyone’s different, though. When I had regularly practiced yoga for a while and started working toward lotus I just wasn’t there. Chris, on the other hand, hardly ever does yoga but can hop his super strong legs into lotus without even using his hands. If you’re not ready for lotus today, a sequence warming up for this seated bind is a really good stress reliever because it works into your hips. If you are ready, here’s a great sequence for how to get into lotus pose.
Lotus Pose Sequence
The following sequence is pretty low-impact. Before starting, make sure you are really warm already. A great warmup can include some standing forward folds, chair, high lunge with a twist, and downdog/updog flow. You could even do some sun salutations.
Hold each pose for at least 5 breaths, or until you feel your muscles relax. If your muscles resist the next pose, don’t force it. You may not end up in lotus today. Since lotus can be really hard on the knees, make sure to listen to your body and don’t overextend your knees. You only get one pair of knees.
To stay warm during a slower sequence like this, I’ll usually throw on another layer like this strappy open back top from Tobi.com, which has a thicker weave that’s great for tossing on over a tank. Everything else is black Lululemon. Wunder Under leggings are hands down the most reliable yoga pants in my closet (and I have like 9 pairs of them). My mat is Manduka Black Pro, which comes with a lifetime warranty. It’s still going strong after 5 years.
Begin by working your hip crease in a seated forward fold. Lengthen through your spine, and bend your knees until you sit upright. Clasp your feet and fold forward. Rock back and forth a little.
Next, draw one knee into your chest. Breathe here for a minute. Inhale and reach your opposite arm up, then exhale and hook your armpit into your knee as you twist toward the bent knee. Balance your free hand on the ground behind your lower back like a tripod. Repeat on both sides.
Bend one knee, and put the opposite ankle above it. Put your hands down behind you. Lengthen through your spine, and press your top knee down, opening in the hip. Rock from side to side. This is called figure four. It’s basically a seated pigeon.
Once your hip opens a little, cradle the top foot and knee in the crook of your elbows. Rock your leg back and forth like a baby, drawing your knee into your chest and lengthening your spine as much as possible. Straighten your lower leg. Rest your rocking foot back above your knee, and fold forward. Repeat on both sides.
Draw one leg in, and extend the other. Keep it bent. Reach your arm under your knee from the inside, and clasp the outside of your foot. Rock from side to side. Lengthen through both side bodies. You can look up or down here. Repeat on both sides.
Next up is double pigeon. Stack one foot on top of the opposite knee, and its knee on top of the opposite foot. Flex your feet to protect your knees. Lengthen through your spine. Let your hips relax. Your knees may be way up in the air and not making contact – that’s ok. Just relax here and they’ll come down eventually.
If your knees do touch, you can walk your hands forward into a fold. Maybe walk them from side to side. Repeat on both sides.
If you’ve come this far and are pretty comfortable, you may be ready for lotus. Draw one foot in, and put it in the crease of the opposite hip.
Draw your other leg in, and put the foot on top of the opposite leg crease. Don’t force it. Relax. Smile.
When you’re ready, come out the same way you came in. Carefully release the top foot first, then the bottom one. Don’t come out too quickly. Keep your legs bent, and rock them from side to side.
That’s it! Like it? Here’s a pin to save for later:
Whether you made it this far or not, try meditating to these Life Enhancing Meditations by Alan Finger. My yoga teacher, Brittany Kraft (she’s the best), gave it to me to listen to a while ago. At first I was all, who’s this guy trying to tell me what to do? But then after I listened to it a few times I totally blissed out.
Here’s the thing: you can meditate anywhere. I never do it in a perfect clean blue room with special devotional objects. Most of the time lately I just take five in my car during the day and put on Moby’s Long Ambient 1. Do you have any favorite meditation rituals or playlists? Let me know in the comments!