Whether you are just starting out or practicing meditation for a long time, you must know the lotus position. Indeed, it is an essential symbol. This position is used both for buddhist meditationthat for the yoga. This, because this posture allows the body and the spirit to be in harmony and thus, to allow the energy to circulate well.
The Rich and Significant History of the Lotus Pose
The lotus, referred to in Sanskrit as “padma”, is a widely recognized emblem in Asia. For millennia, this flower has embodied a variety of connotations, ranging from purity to beauty, from rebirth to awakening, or from prosperity to wisdom.
This majestic flower is deeply rooted in the legends of ancient Egypt and Indian culture. It is omnipresent in Hindu and Buddhist iconography. Deities such as Lakshmi, the goddess of fortune, Ganesh, the elephant-headed god, and the Buddha himself are often depicted with the lotus, thus signifying their spiritual and divine elevation.
Yoga, during its evolution, borrowed these sacred images. Although it is difficult to pinpoint exactly when the lotus posture was formally introduced, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, one of the foundational scriptures of yoga, emphasizes the importance of steady sitting for progress in the practice. Even though Patanjali does not specify the lotus position, its importance is clearly implied.
About four centuries later, the sage Vyasa deepens this notion and explicitly evokes the lotus posture as essential to meditation and the practice of Yoga. And, in the 15th century, writings began to highlight postures, including the lotus, as essential not only for meditation but also for physical well-being.
The deep symbolism of the lotus
Among the various names attributed to the lotus, “pankajam” is one of the most poetic. It literally translates to “born of mud”. It is a reminder that although the lotus flower takes root in swampy grounds, it rises majestically above the surface, avoiding all defilement.
This natural phenomenon illustrates the ascent of the soul from humble origins to spiritual elevation, paralleling yoga’s quest to achieve liberation. Likewise, just as the lotus leaf repels water unaffected, we should learn to navigate through life’s challenges undisturbed, reflecting the message that the lotus potentially resides within each of us, symbolizing our ability to transcend and elevate ourselves.
To learn more about the Lotus symbol, see our presentation of the symbol: Lotus Flower, Meaning & Secret Buddhist Symbolism
Explanation of the lotus position
Resulting from the meditative practices of India, the lotus position is associated with the Sanskrit word “Padmasana” whose padma mainly designates the name of the Lotus flower. It was given this name because in this lotus meditation position, the legs open like the petals of a flower. Indeed, the lotus position is a seated cross posture in which both feet are placed on the thighs. It is generally used for the practice of meditation, especially in Hindu traditions and buddhists.
The Lotus position provides better physical stability and also promotes breathing. This is why it is the best known position for meditation. In addition, “Shiva”, the ascetic God of Hinduism, and “Siddhartha Gautama”, the founder of Buddhismhave all been represented in this position.
Moreover, it should be known that practicing the Lotus requires great flexibility and some preparation. If you plan to start, remember to relax your joints. For this, you can practice by working your ankles, knees and legs. To help you, here are some exercises you can do:
- Sit down and press your feet together.
- Gradually push your knees towards the floor. You may feel a slight tugging, but over time this will go away.
- During meditation, remember to work on your breathing, as this helps relax and soften your muscles.
Lotus position in yoga
Today, the Lotus position is the most recognized posture in yoga. This is why it is said to be considered the classic yoga position. This position is generally used for meditation and the yoga sessions usually begin and end with this pose. However, you should know that this pose is not intended for those who are new to yoga. Indeed, if you are not experienced or if you have less flexibility, instead of a inverted lotus positionchoose other sitting positions, such as Easy Pose or “Sukhasana”.
Although this position is perfect for yoga, its practice requires time. Indeed, it can take months to learn the full expression of the pose. However, you should know that in yoga, the main thing is not to strike a pose, but to remain aware of the present moment. So learn to accept your current situation and be aware of what surrounds you in the present. If you know how to be yourself, instead of trying to be someone else, you can understand that you are a “whole and complete” being. With this taking awarenessyou will already bloom like a “ Lotus flower even if you don’t know how to practice this yoga lotus position.
Benefits of the Lotus Position in Meditation
There Lotus practice is traditionally known to calm the mind. It also helps prepare the practitioner for deeper meditation. In addition, it has many physical benefits, as it stretches the knees, hips, ankles… and strengthens the back and spine. In addition, this pose also allows for better circulation of blood, which can be beneficial in relieving menstrual discomfort or diseases in the female reproductive organs.
According to the “Hatha Yoga Pradipika”, a yoga manual which was written in the 14th century, the position of the Lotus is even the “destroyer of all diseases”. Ancient cultures also claim that this posture awakens the “Kundalini”, thecosmic energy which builds self-esteem.
When a meditator knows how to practice the lotus stance, it has the advantage of being able to remain in a seated position without effort and without moving for a long time. Indeed, the muscles sag and tire easily for the other postures. Namely that the lotus posture allows the meditator to learn to avoid muscle tension and restlessness. Thus, the position of the Lotus makes it possible to better relax and in meditation, the relaxation body and mind is very important.
Precautions to take before practicing the Lotus
The position of the Lotus, despite its benefits, is not accessible to everyone. It requires a lot of work on its flexibility and sometimes requires exercises. Accepting to practice this position means accepting to submit to it, that is to say, you have to be patient and be ready to devote time and energy to it.
Also, you should avoid practicing the Lotus position if you have an injury in your knees, ankles and hips. Indeed, this posture requires great flexibility and great self-confidence for it to be performed correctly. It is then very easy to injure yourself while performing this posture, especially if you already have a chronic injury. In addition, you can always practice simpler postures like the half-lotus if you do not yet have the ability to do so.
In addition to physical preparation, you also need to prepare mentally. This is why it is advisable to seek an experienced instructor if you want to learn this position. In any case, the main thing is to work within your own limits and abilities, whether you want to learn alone or accompanied. Also, if you have any medical issues related to learning this position, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor.