The Lotus Family

Please read Just Sit There and do the sitting meditation for at least two weeks before starting lotus.

full-lotus

Full Lotus

The lotus family and cross-legged variants are among the most popular meditation positions. They range in difficulty from the easy half-lotus to the more challenging full-lotus and the intense bound lotus. Successful lotus meditation demands flexibility and focus.

Without lotus flexibility, the back, knees, legs and feet suffer. The discomfort ranges from mild to severe pain. There might always be some discomfort or mild pain in full-lotus especially when done for very long.

Meditators have a tendency to block out the pain they feel when meditating in full-lotus. However this is not the correct approach as it undermines the purpose of developing equanimity. What you do depends on the level of pain and your level of flexibility.

Severe pain is a warning sign to stop.

Regular practice of the proper stretches minimizes physical discomfort and helps you to have a smooth session.

Lotus works best in a state of detachment and receptiveness. Detachment allows the meditator to let go of yearning for pleasurable sensations while experiencing discomfort. Instead the meditator is receptive to feelings as they come and go.

Lotus formation aligns with the stars like a pyramid, has the strength of a mountain and is rooted like a tree. With your lower half on the ground and your head in the sky you become a living link between heaven and earth. While the body remains still the unsupported awareness of  the mind spreads out, expanding the field of consciousness.

Lotus allows for more absorption of earth energies than other postures. This energy is not easily absorbed by the inexperienced. Meditating in this position over time can awaken kundalini energy.

Overview

Advantages: When mastered, meditating in lotus can awaken kundalini and activate the chakras. It purges the body of impurities, kills disease, brings greater concentration and receptiveness to the mind. It builds strength and self-confidence.

Disadvantages: When done incorrectly it can cause serious injury and internal disturbance.

In some occult schools students fast for days while meditating in full-lotus for 40 minutes with 10 minute breaks. As the days go by sessions get more challenging. Eventually, knee pain makes it difficult for them to stand or even straighten their legs. Their empty stomachs complain. When the stress reaches a boiling point they snap and forget their purpose. Layer by layer their personalities start to peel off until they encounter a realization that cannot be described by words.

This type of training should not be tried at home. Thankfully you can have the same awakening without venturing to that extreme.

Stretches

The following stretches are the prerequisite for developing the flexibility necessary for meditating in lotus position. The stretches condition your legs and hips. They may be incorporated into your fitness routine or practiced alone. The stretches help with all variants of lotus.

You may do stretches 1 – 6 against a wall for support. When doing the lotus you should not use a wall. Never go beyond the level of your current flexibility.

Basic

1) Put the soles of your feet together and gently shake your legs like the wings of a butterfly.

2) Push your elbows on your thighs to make your legs go down lower.

3) Make the stretch deeper by pushing down with the palm of your hands.

4) Stretch even deeper by straightening your arms.

5) Put a cushion under your feet and push your legs down. This is similar to the stretch above.

5) Put a cushion under your feet and push your legs down. This is similar to the stretch above.

6) Remove the cushion. With feet together like above stretch forward on the floor.

7) Hold your left leg in your hand as if you were holding a child. Your foot and knee are locked between your elbows. Interlock your fingers and gently rock your leg from left to right.

8) Hold your left foot up to your chest. Some people will be able to go higher than others. Do what is comfortable to you without straining yourself.

9) Repeat step 7 above with the right leg: Hold your right leg in your hand as if you were holding a child. Your foot and knee are locked between your elbows. Interlock your fingers and gently rock your leg from left to right.

10) Repeat step 8 above with the right leg: Hold your right foot up to your chest. Some people will be able to go higher than others. Do what is comfortable to you without straining yourself.

11) Legs spread apart roll your feet in

12) Legs spread apart roll your feet out.

13) Feet up toes pointing towards you

14) Feet down to the side then slide your hands down to your calves.

Advanced

1) Put your right ankle on top of your left thigh and push your knee down.

2) While still in the same position as above push your knees together. The bent knee and straight knee should be as close as possible. People who are really flexible will be able to make them touch.

3) Continuing in the same position, put your hand behind your back to grab hold of your foot.

4) Continuing in the same position, use the other hand to hold your straight leg.

5) Finally bend forward while holding both feet. The more flexible you are the lower you can go.

Repeat steps 1-5 on the other side.

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