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Lotus

The lotus posture or stretch is an advanced stretch that opens up the hips dramatically. If you have difficulty with the previous hip stretches demonstrated earlier, do not attempt the lotus at this time. Be patient, and continue to work on the stretching of the hips until the muscles let go.
First, sit upright, and place your foot on top of your thigh. Have your other foot in front of your lower leg. Then, gently press down on your knee. (picture below) Only one side is demonstrated, make sure you work both sides by alternating which leg goes on top of the opposite thigh. When you have one leg up this stretch is called the half lotus.
Hint: Try sitting in the half lotus position whenever you have to sit. If you do it often, the hips and legs will get more flexible while you are doing other activities. Half lotus position is my preferred way to sit for any length of time. It can even be done in an office chair provided there are no arms on the chair.
Warning: You may spend SEVERAL months doing this before progressing further. That is fine: when stretching your ligaments and muscles, you want to avoid injuries. Better to go slow and work to relax the muscles.

Keep working your leg down to the floor. (picture on left) Eventually, you will be able to pull your lower leg on top of the inner thigh of your upper leg. (picture on right).



It is important to keep your legs relaxed. If your legs feel tense, there will be pressure between the bones and tissues of the lower leg. This can be uncomfortable to painful for some people. You may want to work on the above positions before attempting to pull the lower leg up into lotus for several months.

The completed lotus position is shown below.

Here's a good way to utilize a leg stretch with the half lotus position. Alternate sides. Working on this exercise will help you to stretch the hips, hamstrings, and eventually get into lotus.


There are some variations to lotus position that allow you to open up your hips even more. First, it is necessary for you to comfortably get into the lotus position. If that is possible, raise up on to your knees, and lower your body down to the floor, as shown below. At first, your hips will not be able to relax to the ground. With the attention placed on letting go of the tension in the hips, the hips will slowly come down.


Warning: DO NOT FORCE THIS POSITION. Repeat with the opposite leg on top in lotus position.

The next variation shows a similar stretch to above, only in this exercise, you lie on your back while in lotus and slowly release the tension in the front of the hips until the legs lower to the floor. Try to keep the back as flat to the ground as possible. Repeat with the opposite leg on top in lotus position.
Warning: If you arch your back to get the legs to touch the ground, you may strain a muscle that will not easily heal.

Disclaimer

It is possible to injure onself in any physical activity. Consult your physician if in doubt about your physical condition before embarking on a stretching program. The author of howtostretch.com accepts no liability for any injuries sustained while practicing any of the stretches described within.

 

 

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