The ankles and knees are the targeted parts of the body that gets stiff or tight in Lotus Pose or Padmasana, so working on stretching the ankles and enhancing the flexibility of the knees is essential via the practice of other preparatory yoga positions.
Practice the following positions before moving on to Padmasana practice:
Part 1 - Preparatory Poses for Padmasana
1. Sukhasana (Easy Seated Pose) - Easy seated stance (Sukhasana) is an excellent indicator of whether you are ready for the lotus pose or not, and it is an excellent preparation posture.
Before attempting the lotus position, if an easy sitting posture is already uncomfortable on the knees or hips, include it into your everyday practice until it is less demanding.
Bury the femur bones into the floor to start your practice. As the crown of the head elevates towards the sky, let the ankles cross and the spine extend.
The pelvis is neutral, and the abdominal button is engaged. Take a deep breath and see if your knees can finally come closer to the floor. Repeat by reversing which ankle is on top and hold for several breaths.
2. Baddha Konasana (Cobbler's Pose) - To begin, take the staff position. Bring your knees closer to you while maintaining your feet firmly planted on the ground. Inhale deeply and exhale slowly, allowing your soles to touch.
Allow your heels to get as close to the pelvis as they can without putting pressure on your knees. Hold the feet with your hands around and press the outer borders of your feet firmly into the floor.
Allow the knees to sink in while maintaining the pelvis lightly in a neutral position. Avoid straining or applying pressure to the knees. There's no need to flap the knees; merely hold for ten or fifteen breaths to soften the leg muscles.
3. Virasana (Hero Pose) - Hero's pose prepares the body for lotus by stretching the thighs, knees, and ankles, which are another essential prerequisite of the lotus position.
Kneel on the floor with your knees together and a bit wider than hip-distance apart (can place a blanket underneath your knees if you need more support).
The thighs are parallel to the ground, the tailbone is stretching toward the earth, and the crown of the head is rising. Place your feet between your legs and take a seat. Place a block or a cushion beneath the buttocks if they cannot reach the floor.
Part 2: Step-by-Step Instructions to Perform Padmasana
The steps for obtaining a Lotus position can be found below:
Step 1: Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out, and your spine straightened and relaxed.
Step 2: While bending the right leg from the knee, place the right foot at the root over the left thigh, the heel towards the lower abdomen or the navel.
Step 3: Inhale and bend the left knee, then place the left foot at the base of the right thigh, with the heel placed near the left side of the lower abdomen or the navel. Here exhale completely.
Step 4: The soles of one's feet should be turned up, with one foot's ankle piled on top of the other.
Step 5: Stretch the fingers out while touching the index finger and thumb together with the arms on the knees. The palms should face up and be positioned at the top of the knee cap.
Step 6: From the bottom of the neck, the spine should be straight and upright.
Step 7: To strengthen the legs uniformly around the ankles and knees, one might practice alternating leg postures.
Breath Awareness: Follow a steady pace while breathing continuously. Make sure to inhale deeply and exhale twice the size you inhale.
Performance Duration for Beginners: Hold the lotus pose for 1 minute.
Performance Duration for Advanced: Hold for as long as you wish to meditate in the lotus pose.
Part 3: Things to Keep in Mind
The knee joints are essential, and we want to avoid any pain or strain there. In Padmasana (Lotus Pose), the following are a few ways to keep your knee joints safe.
However, Padmasana has a considerable level of knee rotation. Thus, it is essential to remember that we do not want to rotate our knees (or ankles) for safety reasons.
The hip joint is the only joint that rotates, and it can only rotate when the knee is flexed. To avoid knee strain and pain while practicing yoga, two factors must be considered:
Is it better to flex or not to flex the feet? - The anatomical make-up of each individual is unique. In this posture, however, bending the ankle joints is safer because it activates the muscles that tighten the tibia toward the knee, minimizing rotation of the leg joint.
When it comes to placement of the foot, the outside edge of the ankle should sit near to the lower abdomen and pelvic muscles. During Padmasana, one should not feel any stretch or unnecessary flex in the ankles if the pose is done correctly.
Part 4: Relaxing Poses After Padmasana
Here are a few counter yoga poses you can perform in a yoga flow, as you move towards relaxing after cross-legged sitting:
1. Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend Pose): Relax the body by bringing the legs spread out in front of you and taking a few breaths here while maintaining the spine straight, especially after a long practice of Lotus Posture (Padmasana) or Meditating or performing Pranayama in this pose.
Inhale and lift your entire body forward and forward, bringing your chest close to your thighs and resting your face on your knees. This position will assist in circulating circulation back to the legs by relaxing the entire spine and hips.
2. Savasana (Corpse Pose): If Padmasana is being practiced as part of a yoga session to develop flexibility, relaxing the body in Savasana is recommended.
However, if Lotus Pose (Padmasana) is used as a meditation pose and the practitioner has been in Meditation for more than an hour, the practitioner should not relax in Savasana. The fact that one can sit in Lotus Pose (Padmasana) allows the body to relax as a result of Meditation.
Suppose the various Pranayamas are practiced in Lotus Pose (Padmasana). In that case, the session can end by lying down in Savasana and reciting the OM Mantra for roughly 12 rounds to return the energy to the body.