How to do the lotus position

For those who like missionary, but want more.

How to do the lotus position

One of the beautiful things about sex is that there are so many different sex positions to satisfy whatever craving you and your partner happen to be having. If you’re looking for something rougher that brings out your animal instincts, you might want to try these doggy style variations. But if you’re looking for something that ramps up the intimacy, then you should consider trying the Lotus sex position.

The Lotus is a classic Tantric position, though it goes by a different name in Tantra: Yab Yum. It’s ideal for someone who wants to feel close to their partner physically, emotionally, and spiritually. If you’re someone who really loves missionary because you feel connected to your partner both during (and after) sex, then you should try out the Lotus. No offense to the classic sex position, but the lotus puts missionary to shame.

“You really have access to your partner’s entire body in the Lotus position,” says Megan Fleming, Ph.D., sex expert for Lovehoney. You can grab your partner’s breasts or butt while caressing their legs. You can also “hold them” by wrapping your arms around their back.

But the biggest benefit to the Lotus “is the level of intimate connection that comes from being face-to-face,” Fleming says. “From a Tantric perspective, you have eye-gazing (i.e., staring deeply into your partner’s eyes), but you can also easily kiss your partner too.”

You may be wondering why the Lotus isn’t a staple in the boudoir the way missionary or doggy is. The reason is that it’s a little complicated to pull off. But don’t worry. We’re about to break down everything you need to know about the Lotus sex position so you can fully enjoy it. (We also provide some alternatives in case the original position isn’t working for you.)

How to do the Lotus position:

To get into the Lotus sex position, the insertive partner (the person doing the penetrating) sits down with their legs crossed. The receptive partner (the person being penetrated) then sits on their partner’s lap and wraps their legs behind their partner. From here, the insertive partner can maneuver themselves into their partner’s vagina.

How to do the lotus position

The Lotus position comes with a few challenges.

First, it’s not the easiest to pull off. You need to have incredibly open hips to get into and sustain this position. It also requires strength and endurance for the person sitting cross-legged, since they have someone placing all their weight on them.

How to do the lotus position

Then there’s the issue of partners’ size difference. “If you’re tall and your partner is short, or if one partner is particularly heavy, then this position might not be doable,” Fleming says.

It’s also not a great position for folks who like the in-and-out aspect of intercourse. “This position really lends itself to grinding [and rocking back and forth],” Fleming says. “So if a man really likes a lot of thrusting, this probably isn’t a very good position for him.”

Try these Lotus variations:

Luckily, there are variations on the Lotus you can try if you want to have an intimate lovemaking session but can’t quite pull of the classic tantric pose. You can try the Pitcher’s Mound, which is a modified version of the Lotus, Fleming explains. “Basically, it’s the same position, only you’re sitting in a chair, and your partner straddles you.”

Doing this will help take the weight off the insertive partner (the one being straddled). You also don’t need to be flexible while sitting in a chair.

If you want to make this position work for anal sex, the partner sitting on top can lean back, putting their weight on their hands. This makes their anus more accessible and gives them control of depth and speed of penetration.

How to bring in sex toys:

Say you like the Lotus’ intimacy and have the chops to pull it off; you still may dislike that it’s a “rock back and forth” position. Either you or your partner may want more genital stimulation.

Luckily, the Lotus is an excellent position for using various sex toys. “You can use a bullet vibrator on the clitoris,” Fleming says. Both you and your partner will feel those vibrations when in the Lotus. “There’s also access for nipple play and butt plugs,” Fleming adds.

This tantric sex position takes intimacy to a whole new level.

Human beings have sex for many reasons. While general desire and horniness are on the menu, of course, sometimes you want something more than instant gratification. As Karen Gurney, a clinical psychologist and certified psychosexologist, points out in her book, Mind The Gap, intimacy is often what people crave when they engage in sex with a partner. It’s natural to want to cultivate a feeling of closeness.

If this is your goal, there’s no sex position quite as intimate at the lotus. In this position, you’re essentially wrapped around your partner’s body like a snake. It doesn’t get much closer than that.

The lotus’s true name is “Yab Yum” and is rooted in Tantra, an ancient spiritual belief system that originated in India and has been around for thousands of years; in this belief system, anything can be part of your spiritual path, whether that’s eating, meditation, exercising, and yes, sex. While sex is just a small part of tantra, it’s the part people tend to focus on, Layla Martin, a highly-regarded tantra teacher and host of the YouTube series Epic Sex & Legendary Longing previously told Shape.

Taylor Sparks, an erotic educator and founder of sexual wellness shop Organic Loven says that Yab Yum received a new name “because it was easier on the Western ears.” The good news: Whether you choose to call this position the lotus or Yab Yum, it certainly belongs in your go-to sexual rotation.

How to Do the Lotus Sex Position

To move into the lotus position, the penetrating partner should sit cross-legged on a bed, chair, or couch. This is called “half lotus.” You get a “full lotus” when you add another person.

The person being penetrated then “sits on top of them and can wrap legs around them and basically koala them, like they’re a tree,” says Kenneth Play, a sex expert and educator. Instead of bouncing up and down, the person on top moves their hips back and forth in a rocking position.

It’s important to note that while this position traditionally includes penetration, it is not necessary. Instead, you can easily enjoy this position by “grinding and rubbing against each other instead of the usual bouncing up and down, which also allows you to stimulate the clitoris,” says Sparks.

A small bullet or finger vibrator — such as the Hot Octopuss DiGit (Buy It, $104, ellaparadis.com) — can be used for “direct clitoral stimulation without interrupting your connection as it fits right over the fingers,” she says. That said, hands, dildos, vibrators, strap-ons, and penises are all great options for the lotus sex position.

The Emotional and Physical Perks of the Lotus

As mentioned above, the main appeal of this position is intimacy. It’s not to say that it’s off-limits for a casual sex encounter, but keep in mind that there is a lot of face-to-face interaction while in this position. (More here: How to Build Intimacy with Your Partner)

While you can definitely put your chin on your partner’s shoulder to avoid staring at each other, eye contact is one of the reasons this position is so popular. So, if you don’t enjoy eye-contact during sex, you might not be a huge fan of the lotus sex position.

Physically speaking, this position is optimal for clitoral stimulation. Since you’re not bobbing up and down and are, instead, rocking back and forth, the penetrated partner can rock against the bottom’s pubic bone, hand, or toy. Plus, you get to avoid the dreaded thigh burn that so often companies the Cowgirl or Rider position.

Play says that a penis-owner can also get a lot out of the lotus, especially if they have trouble maintaining an erection or experience ejaculation too quickly. “This position can provide more mild, prolonged sensation, so you can really draw out the experience,” he explains.

How to Make the Lotus Sex Position Work for You

While Yab Yum certainly makes the list of the most straight forward sex positions, it may not be the best choice for everyone. If you have poor hip flexibility, for example, this position may cause discomfort. Or, maybe you don’t love moving slowly during sex. Luckily, there are some expert-approved adjustments to fit all your lotus position needs.

No matter which lotus sex position variation you try, make sure to listen to your body and to get in and out of the position slowly (think: as with a yoga pose) to avoid pain or discomfort.

The Straight-Legged Lotus

If your hips are tight, one or both partners can extend the legs out straight in front of them, says Lucy Rowett, a certified sex coach and clinical sexologist. If you’re on a couch or chair, the bottom partner can also place their feet on the floor instead of crossed. (Also consider trying these yoga poses to release tight hips.)

Sparks suggests utilizing a sex pillow if you need extra support. “If your hip flexors are tight, using a wedge pillow can assist with the lack of flexibility,” she says. Try the Liberator Jaz (Buy It, $100, lovehoney.com). “Leaning back or forward into the position or having your legs be straight out may also feel more comfortable for the person on top.”

Kneeling Lotus

To place less weight on the bottom partner or to give the top partner’s hips a break, the person on top can also opt to kneel on the bottom partner’s lap, rather than wrap their legs around their waist, says Charyn Pfeuffer, sex writer and author of 101 Ways to Rock Online Dating.

The Active Lotus

“If you’re the type that wants more of an athletic position, you can modify this position by leaning back and supporting yourself with your arms,” says Play, for those who aren’t into slowness during sex. “By doing this you increase the angle between your pelvises, which can be a better way to stimulate the G-spot, and also get increased leverage to make this position a little more active.”

This one is intimate AF.

How to do the lotus position

How to do the lotus position

As far as sex goes, you have quite a selection of positions to try depending on what you and your partner are in the mood for. Want to be in charge? Cowgirl. Craving some deep penetration? Doggy-style. Working on those squats and want to show off that peach? Reverse cowgirl.

But what’s the sexiest and most intimate position of them all? The lotus. Here’s everything you need to know about le best position for “I’m sorry” sex, “I love you” sex, and “I just want to be really, really, really close to you” sex.

The basics

In this position, two people sit facing one another with their legs and arms wrapped around each other (I told you, intimate AF). It’s also known as the “yab-yum” position in tantra.

How to do the lotus position

Get into it

Instruct your partner to sit with their legs crossed on the bed (or wherever you’re having sex). While facing your partner, sit as close as you can to them and wrap your legs around their torso. Then, your partner should tuck their legs under you. After, wrap your arms around each other in a hug-like embrace and feel your chests melt together.

Pro tip? The person sitting first should be stronger and willing to support the other partner during intercourse.

“This is a tough position to get into, depending on your shape, size, differences in height, and capacity for body mobility,” says sex expert and psychologist Jenn Gunsaullus. “Use pillows or wedges under your butt or knees to lean back against—that can be helpful.”

Also, keep in mind that this position is more about grinding than it is thrusting. Use your hips and legs to move your body against, around, and on top of your partner—even if they’re not necessarily inside of you.

How to do the lotus position

Why it’s so great

“It’s a wonderful position to just practice eye gazing, syncing your breath, or passionate kissing. It’s about slowing down and being present with each other and tapping into your personal and joint energies,” says Gunsaullus. In other words, think less about that orgasm and more about the passionate experience and energy you’re confronting with your partner.

How to adjust

If you find that the position is too intimate for you, place your hands behind you and lean into a non-restraining back bend. Encourage your partner to hold your hips as he controls the thrusts of your body. By doing this, you also open up your body to your partner for some extra clitoral stimulation* or a nice breast massage.

How to do the lotus position

Fun extras

*Okay, remember when I mentioned extra clitoral stimulation? Yeah, I wasn’t kidding. Encourage your boo to use their finger to stimulate your clitoris as they’re inside of you (double yum), or try this bullet vibe to make it

How to do the lotus position

What other women think

“Yes to this position! With his legs crossed like that, I felt like I was in a little love nest. It’s great because you’re v close but also v supported—I didn’t feel like I was going to fall off. There was nowhere to go but climax!” —Haley, 24

My boyfriend has bad knees, so this position actually felt really nice for him. It’s deep, intimate, and also great for some chest play.” —Liz, 25

“It takes some planning on how to position both of your legs so that you can move and gain traction. You definitely have to be the kind of person who loves looking into your partner’s face too. I’m just very shy, so eye contact is too much.” —Jamie, 31

“The angle feels really nice, and I like it because it’s face-to-face and super close. You feel more connected to your partner than you would in a position like doggy. —Valerie, 24

It’s cute because you’re all huggy and close to each other, but moving around is kind of tough and requires more core strength than my Pilates-skipping self has. It may have been tougher for us since my boyfriend is leggy—like, the dude is 6’4”. —Julia, 27

So you’ve always wanted to be a real meditator—or a real yogi—able to sit in lotus position like the grown-ups.

You have visions of your friends snapping a photo of you in that venerable pose in front of a monastery in Tibet… but so far you haven’t even arrived at half lotus (one leg crossed on top of the other). Nor one-quarter lotus, nor one-eighth lotus. Your hips just don’t seem to get with the program, and don’t even get started about the ankles.

Fret not—I have pre-suffered for your convenience to bring you an easy way to achieve lotus in addition to that much sought-after feeling that you’re making progress in your meditation and/or yoga path.

Of course, there’s the question as to whether being able to sit in lotus is essential for meditating or calling yourself a yogi (I’ve explored this idea in the past and don’t subscribe to it), but that’s beside the point if you’re set on wanting to come across as one of the “Ones.” (Vanity as a Spiritual Pathway, anyone?)

So, here’s how you do it. You’ll need a belt or a yoga strap.

1. Wearing comfortable clothing, lie on the floor.

2. Wrap the strap around your left foot and pull it onto the top of your right thigh.

(If you can’t get your left foot onto your right thigh, I’m sorry, but you’ll need to go back to yoga class for a few months and come back later. I never said anybody could do this; just people who aren’t terminally rusty. On the plus side, you won’t hurt yourself and you’ll be wiser and less vain.)

3. Once your left foot in on your right thigh, leave it there and take the strap to your right foot.

4. Using the strap, pull your right foot to the underside of your left knee.

Congratulations. You’re in half lotus position now. This may be it for you for right now if your hips are crying uncle. Do these four steps daily and hold (breathing deeply) for a minute or so on each side, and only proceed to step five after two weeks, two months, two years or two martinis.

5. If your ankles and your hips are reasonably okay with this, using the strap, pull your right foot to the top of your left thigh.

And there you are! Lotus pose!

If this is your first time, call someone over and tell them to snap a picture of you. If it’s not your first time and your legs are reasonably okay, try sitting up like that and behold the world from your newly enlightened state!

Benefits: If you can get into lotus, it’s a fantastically stable position to sit in that requires no back support for comfort.

Skip if: Your hips, your ankles or your knees are making you cry. Try the half lotus instead (up to step four). Rejoice in the knowledge you don’t have to prove anything to anybody.

Final thoughts: I’ve been sitting in lotus position for years and sometimes I prefer to use a chair or lie down for meditation. According to some people, this may be why I’m not enlightened.

How to do the lotus position

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People who have never practiced yoga often shudder at the prospect of folding themselves into poses that resemble pretzels. Ironically, a good number of yoga poses are expansive and heart-opening, but watching a person intertwine his legs into the Padmasana, or Lotus, pose does indeed foster the image of a pretzel. Classified as one of the most difficult and even dangerous yoga poses, the Lotus requires a high degree of flexibility and sound knees. If you have ever had issues with your knees, do not attempt the Lotus pose. If your knees are healthy, you can improve your flexibility and work your way up to a full Lotus pose.

Mechanics of Lotus Pose

Lotus resembles a slightly more compact and complex version of the simple cross-legged pose. The yogi begins on the floor with his legs outstretched in front of him. Then taking his right foot into his hand, he’ll guide the outer side of the foot to nestle in the crook of the groin and upper thigh of the opposite leg. The outer side of the right leg and knee will rest on the floor. He then repeats the maneuver with the opposite foot; but in this case he’ll lift the entire left foot and lower leg over the top of the right lower leg before settling his left foot atop the upper right thigh and against the groin. Finally, he’ll press his feet firmly into the crease of the groin to bring the knees closer together and to force his spine to elongate.

Opening the Hips

Full Lotus requires a 115-degree outward rotation of the head of the thigh bone. However, if your hips and inner groin are tight, the degree to which the femur will swivel in the hip socket will vary. Practicing the Cobbler’s Pose, also called the Bound Angle pose, will develop flexibility in your hips. For the Cobbler’s pose, sit on your mat with your legs stretched out in front of you. Bring the soles of your feet together while allowing the outer sides of your legs to flop toward the floor. Clasp your feet with your hands and slide them together along the floor as close to your groin as is comfortable for you. Never press down on your knees to force them closer to the floor; rather, hold onto your feet with your hands and lean forward slightly, keeping your back straight. Practicing the Cobbler’s pose for up to two minutes every day will allow you to deepen into the pose and open your hips in preparation for the Lotus.

Loosening the Groin

The Head-to-Knee pose is an effective way to increase your flexibility toward doing the Lotus. Part of the action is similar to the Lotus. Sitting on your mat with your legs outstretched in front of you, you’ll settle the sole of your right foot on the inside of your left thigh close to the groin; while letting the outside of your right leg and knee lay on the floor. On an exhale, fold forward from your waist, while reaching your hands toward your left outstretched foot. Stay in the pose for up to 30 seconds, deepening your forward bend with every exhale. Repeat the maneuver on the other side. As with the Cobbler’s pose, consistent practice of the Head-to-Knee will offer greater flexibility in the Lotus.

Tips and Warnings

Seek the assistance of a certified yoga instructor before you attempt the Lotus pose. Have her assess your level of flexibility. If she deems you ready, follow her instructions to the letter. Approach the Lotus pose with caution and come out of the pose immediately if you feel pain in your knees.

  • YogaJournal.com: Protect the Knees in Lotus and Other Related Postures
  • YogaJournal.com: Bound Angle Pose
  • YogaJournal.com: Head-to-Knee Forward Bend

Linda Kaban is a certified yoga teacher and professional life coach who specializes in helping people achieve their fitness goals. With a bachelor’s degree in the humanities, Kaban has been writing since 1998 and has been published in YOGALife magazine along with other healthy living publications.

We see plenty of orgasms in your future.

Sex in 2020 was mostly about comfort and familiarity, as the vast majority of us followed stay-at-home guidelines once the pandemic hit. Now that vaccines have arrived and experts believe life will start returning to normal in 2021, the year will be all about stretching your sexual boundaries (physically or virtually) and feeling a stronger, deeper sense of intimacy with your partner (or yourself) without so much stress and anxiety. Here are the moves you’ll want to try, according to three sex experts.

The lotus

This full-body, eye to eye move offers lots of physical and romantic intimacy, Gigi Engle, certified sex coach and sexologist, tells Health. Here’s how to get into it: Have your partner sit on the bed, chair, or couch with their legs crossed one over the other in the shape of a pretzel. This is called “half lotus.” You get a “full lotus” when you join in, says Engle.

Sit on top of your partner and wrap your legs around them as if they were a tree trunk. Instead of bouncing up and down after penetration, move your hips back and forth in a rocking position. “The main appeal of this position is intimacy, says Engle. “It’s not to say that it’s off limits for a casual sex encounter, but keep in mind that there is a lot of face-to-face contact while in this position.” That means the opportunity to connect deeper and tighter on many levels.

Queening

This empowering sex position pushes you out of your comfort zone, giving you the confidence to receive intense pleasure from your partner unapologetically. Sit in a chair and spread your legs over both arms of the chair. Have your partner kneel inside your legs and use their mouth and fingers to touch and stimulate you. Engle recommends a chair that’s low to the ground, which is more comfortable for you both. “Queening is a take-charge, female-centered act,” says Engle, which puts you in control and with no obligation to return the pleasure.

Bluetooth-controlled bliss

Thanks to the pandemic, virtual sex became part of many couples’ lives, Debra Laino, a clinical sexologist, tells Health. Sex toy sales also skyrocketed, making socially distanced mutual masturbation, whether manually or with a hands-free sex toy, a hot option to connect sexually, according to Engle.

Here’s one way to do it: Strap on a bluetooth-controlled toy like the We-Vibe Moxie Remote and App Control Wearable Clitoral Panty Vibrator ($130, lovehoney.com) and let your virtual partner play with the 10 discreet settings to help you have a hands-free orgasm. For partners with pensises, try synced up sex toys like Lovense’s Max ($140; lovehoney.com) and Nora ($119; amazon.com) for the ultimate virtual sex experience that allows for any sex position you can dream of.

Missionary magic

With romantic sex making a comeback, Florida-based sex therapist Rachel Needle, PsyD, tells Health, this passionate missionary move will be at the top of your repertoire. Lie on your back and have your partner penetrate while on top of you. Keep your legs close between theirs and have them angle their body forward, so their shaft is stimulating your clitoris as they move in and out. The simultaneous clitoral stimulation and G-spot penetration goes beyond your usual quick missionary-and-fall-asleep sex. “You can also squeeze your legs together to make your vagina feel tighter and create more friction for both of you,” says Needle.

Edge of heaven

This move is an adventurous spin on the usual woman on top position, says Needle: Straddle your partner while they’re sitting upright in a chair or on a couch, leaning on your knees with your toes pointing at the edge. After penetration, take charge of the action by bouncing up and down for deep, deep penetration. It’s perfect for partners of all shapes and sizes; you can connect via eye contact, and your breasts and nipples cget plenty of attention, too. “This is also perfect for clitoral stimulation because the woman can maneuver her body so that her clit rubs on his pelvic bone,” she says.

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Plus, experts weigh in on the actual purpose of the text.

How to do the lotus position

Text your group chat about mixing up your sex life and they’ll recommend it. Do a quick online search and you’ll be directed to it. Ask your sister (if that’s the kind of relationship you two have) and she’ll send you a link to order it online. Yep, I’m talking about the Kama Sutra, an ancient Sanskrit text that, over the years, has become the go-to guide for intricate sex positions.

The Kama Sutra, written by Indian philosopher Vatsyayana, has garnered a lot of attention for acting as a guidebook to what seems like every sex position ever (some waaaay more adventurous than others). But that’s not really the point of it.

“The Kama Sutra has been quite distorted in how it has circulated in translation in the U.S. and other parts of the western world,” says Durba Mitra, PhD, an assistant professor of women, gender, and sexuality at Harvard University, and author of Indian Sex Life: Sexuality and the Colonial Origins of Modern Social Thought.Kama Sutra is a book of philosophy on ethics and aesthetics, never just an ancient text on sexual positions and sexual pleasure.”

The original set of texts that became known as Kama Sutra “were actually about everything from urban living to statecraft, from perfumes to gardens,” Mitra says. The “distortion” of the book happened “in part because the first edition of Kama Sutra in English was done by colonial enthusiast—and Orientalist—Richard Burton in the late nineteenth century,” Mitra says. Burton “wanted to create a fantasy for his English-speaking audience by portraying people of the East as hypersexual and unchanging, without history,”Mitra says. But, she adds, “unfortunately people still use these reductive, racist ideas to think about Indian sexuality in the past and present.”

The Kama Sutra does address sex positions, but it’s really only in one section, points out Gigi Engle, a certified sex coach. Kama Sutra “is about the art of living and loving well and obtaining and maintaining the pleasures of life—including sex and love,” says sex therapist Debra Laino, D.H.S.

That said, the section on sexuality is packed with a number of sex positions that promote emotional intimacy between partners by way of touch and physical connection. The ancient text even teaches that men should prioritize a woman’s pleasure over their own (hear hear!), by focusing on making sure she climaxes before even thinking about their own orgasm. Kama Sutra also emphasizes being present and making eye contact during sex, Laino says.

“It’s not so much about going in and being able to do all of these different positions,” says Engle. It’s more about finding techniques and moves that you can connect with and that allow you to connect with your partner on more than one level.

Now that you’re call caught up. ready to give these 13 Kama Sutra sex positions a whirl?

By: Jody Braverman

Published: 30 January, 2018

How to do the lotus position

Named for the way the legs drop open like the petals of a flower, Lotus pose is the classic meditation posture. Getting into it takes considerable flexibility in the hips, making it an advanced pose. To gain the flexibility needed to sit in Lotus, incorporate hip-opening postures in your regular practice. Perform seated hip openers toward the middle and end of your practice when your hips are sufficiently warm.

Head-of-Knee Pose

This seated posture gently opens the inner thighs and hips and builds knee mobility. The deep forward bend also stretches the lower back.

How to Do It

Sit on your mat with your spine erect and your legs extended. Bend your right knee and pull your right heel in toward your pelvis. Open your knee out to the side and press the sole of your right foot into your inner left thigh.

Align your shoulders over your hips. Inhale and raise your arms up over head. Exhale as you fold forward with a straight spine over your extended leg. Place your hands on the floor on either side of your shin or reach for the sides of your left foot, if available. Keep your spine straight and your neck long.

Hold the pose for up to three minutes. Return to sitting with your legs extended, then repeat on the other side.

Bound Angle Pose

Closely resembling the shape of Lotus pose, Bound Angle pose opens the hips and groin muscles and promotes mobility in the knees.

How to Do It

Sit on your mat with your spine straight and your legs extended. Bend your knees and pull your heels in toward your pelvis. Press the soles of your feet together, and allow your knees to fall out to either side.

Grab hold of your big toes with the index and middle fingers of each hand. Inhale as you extend through your spine, reaching the crown of your head toward the ceiling. Exhale as you fold over your toes with a straight spine. Stop before your spine starts to round.

Continue pressing the soles of your feet together and pressing your knees toward the mat using the strength of your outer hips. Each exhale, fold a little deeper. Use your core strength to pull your torso toward your toes, rather than pulling with your arms. Hold the pose for up to three minutes, then release.

Modifications: If your hips are very tight, place a block or bolster under your kneess to reduce the strain on your hips and bring your spine into proper alignment.

How to do the lotus position

Lotus is the classic meditation posture.

Hero Pose

This classic seated posture builds the knee flexibility needed for Lotus. It also stretches the thighs and ankles. Beginners will likely need to modify with props to gradually work up to the full pose.

How to Do It

Begin in a kneeling position on your mat with your knees together and the tops of your feet on the floor. Separate your feet a little wider than your hips, and sit your buttocks back. Stop halfway and use your thumbs to roll the skin of your calf muscles, just below the knee, outward and back toward your heels. This will make more space behind your knees.

Sit your hips down between your feet, keeping your knees together. Check that your shins and heels are right next to your thighs and hips. Your toes should be slightly angled in.

Place your palms on your thighs and re-extend through your spine. Roll your shoulders back and draw your shoulder blades together.

Hold the pose for up to three minutes.

Modifications: If you cannot get your buttocks on the floor comfortably, place a block, or two stacked on top of each other, to support your hips. As your knees, ankles and thighs become more flexible, remove some of the height until you can eventually get your buttocks on to the floor. Never force the knee joint farther than it can comfortably go.

Half Lotus

Although still a difficult posture, getting into Half Lotus doesn’t take quite as much hip and knee flexibility as Full Lotus. It’s a great way to work each hip separately before trying the full posture.

How to Do It

Sit on your mat with your spine straight and legs extended.

Bend your right knee and hug it into your chest. Place the knife edge of your right foot into the crease between your hip and leg. Let the knee fall out to the side. Your foot will naturally shift so that the top of the foot rests in the hip crease and the sole of the foot faces the ceiling.

Bend your left knee and fold your left leg in so the left ankle is resting on the floor under your right knee.

Rest your palms on your knees or inner thighs. Inhale to re-extend through your spine, stretching the crown of your head toward the ceiling. Make sure your weight is evenly distributed between both buttocks. Shift your weight forward slightly so you are sitting on the fronts of your sit bones.

Hold the posture for up to three minutes, then release and switch sides so your left foot is on top.