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
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
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
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.
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.
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.