junio 10, 2022

You may have come across the lotus flower symbol in yoga philosophy. It is an encouraging symbol on the spiritual path. This beautiful flower continues to grow and thrive in the cloudiest of water. In the iconic yoga posture Padmasana (Lotus Pose), it appears as if the legs resemble the petals of a lotus flower. And indeed it is a beautiful asana on the outside; However, achieving it (safely) requires effort, time, awareness and patience.

From the beginning of this tutorial to facilitate a painless and safe Lotus pose, it is essential to understand that in India, yoga asana is a part of the culture and lifestyle. Traditionally, everyday activities that require being close to the ground have been a way of life. Like sitting, eating and even sleeping on the floor. On the streets of India, from Delhi to Goa, you will find shoemakers and artisans squatting as they go about their work. The aromatic smells of Indian street food will lead you to see women squatting while cooking. Even the traditional sink requires a squatting position. The daily lives of Indians have slowed themselves to their hips and knees being more flexible than those of Westerners. It is important to raise this anatomical comparison, since in India the variations of the Lotus Pose are typical of traditional yoga asanas, since it was taken for granted that the Lotus Pose could be done quite easily.

Comparatively, in the West, our daily activities require us to use chairs and sofas. How often and for how long do we find ourselves squatting for anything? Yes, in the West we have welcomed yoga. We can attend yoga class a few times a week or have a daily sixty-minute practice.

This difference in the way we use our bodies in India (traditionally), compared to everyday Western life, requires us to pay close attention to our knees. Knee pain during and after a yoga asana is common, but that doesn't mean you can never perform Lotus Pose. It just means that it is not a pose for everyone and that, if you have the opportunity to try it safely, it only requires lightness and patience until you reach the full Lotus Pose. Read on to learn how to practice Padmasana safely and painlessly.

The Anatomy of Padmasana

From an anatomical point of view, to achieve the different expressions of Padmasana, it is necessary that there be a considerable range of motion in the hip joints. The next part of the leg to consider in this cross-legged pose is the knee joint. It is common to experience knee pain in Lotus Pose, but such problems arise due to a lack of hip mobility, compensated for by the knee and ankle joints. These leg joints function as a chain and not as separate joints. As yoga teachers and practitioners, it is imperative that we always put safety first, and the knee joint is a vulnerable and complex joint that deserves close attention in poses like Padmasana.

The state of the hips, in terms of mobility, will be reflected in the joints of the legs.

To safely reach Padmasana, we need:

  • A great range of mobility to perform external rotation in the hip joint, at the skeletal level.
  • Flexibility of the lateral rotator muscle group
  • Flexibility of the gluteal and hamstring muscles
  • Flexibility of the quadriceps, specifically the lower part of the muscle group that crosses the knee.
  • Flexibility of the iliotibial band (ITB)

The Hip Joint in Lotus Pose

The main action necessary to do Padmasana is an external rotation in both hip joints. What does this mean? The hip is a ball and socket joint. In terms of definition, it means that type of joint in which a ball moves inside a socket. This allows rotational movements in all directions within certain limits. These movements are backward, forward, sideways and rotation. The socket area, called the acetabulum, is inside the pelvis. The ball part of this joint is the top of the femur. In hip external rotation, the thigh and knee rotate outward, while the foot moves toward or across the midline of the body.

The lateral rotator group

External rotation of the hip joints requires muscles to move it. The lateral rotator group is a group of six hip muscles that externally rotate the femur at the hip joint. It is made up of the following six muscles

  1. Piriformis
  2. Upper twin
  3. Internal shutter
  4. lower twin
  5. Quadra femoris
  6. External shutter

Surprisingly, we stretch these muscles in a sitting position, when our hips are in external rotation. It is common for the lateral rotator muscle group to be tight in many of us and this greatly influences our ability to externally rotate the femur at the hip joint when sitting (when our hip joint is flexed).

Read also - Sanskrit mantras to elevate your practice and your life

When we want to do Padmasana, we find ourselves using the six deep lateral rotators of both legs, since both hips have to externally rotate to a large extent. If this muscle group is tight, you're likely to get injured if you push yourself too hard. If your lateral rotators are tight, the body compensates by using the lower back. We want to avoid compensation by balancing the mobility, flexibility and stability of the joints and muscles at the origin of movement in a posture.

Hamstrings and glutes

The seated position of Padmasana requires the bones of the waist to provide a stable base for the spine in this posture. The sit bones make up the lower part of the pelvis. Sitting on the sit bones requires slight anterior rotation of the pelvis (the pelvis tilts slightly forward). Tight hamstrings and glutes make this anterior pelvic tilt difficult.

The quadriceps

Quadriceps: Literally means four heads. This large muscle group consists of four prominent muscles at the front of the thigh. It forms a sizable fleshy mass that covers the front and sides of the femur bone. It is an incredible knee extensor muscle. We need this knee extensor action when we perform activities such as squatting, running, walking and jumping. It is specifically the vastus lateralis and the vastus medialis that keep the patella and knee joint stable during these actions. The four muscles that make up the quadriceps surround and attach to the kneecap. Then, through a ligament called the patellar ligament, it is attached to the top of the tibia.

In Lotus Pose you fully flex the knee joints, so flexibility in the quadriceps muscles is required. If this muscle group is tight, it prevents us from fully flexing the knee, which can lead to incorrect technique and, over time, strains and injuries.

How to keep your knees safe in Padmasana - Lotus Pose

We want to avoid pain or tension in the knee joint as it is an important joint. The knee joint is weight-bearing, complex, and vulnerable to injury in unsafe practice. In a hip opener pose, you should not feel pain during or after the pose. The lack of mobility in the hips is compensated for by the knee and ankle joints, and we should avoid this.

Aunque en Padmasana se produce cierto grado de rotación de las rodillas, por tu seguridad, recuerda que NO debemos rotar en absoluto las rodillas (ni los tobillos).  La rotación se produce SÓLO en la articulación de la cadera, y es crucial que sólo haya rotación de la cadera cuando la rodilla está en posición flexionada. La flexión de la rodilla permite la rotación segura de la articulación de la cadera.

Para prevenir la distensión de la rodilla y evitar el dolor de rodilla en el yoga tenemos que tener en cuenta dos principios:

  1. Tener una comprensión básica de cómo están diseñadas las articulaciones para moverse.
  2. Conocer la diferencia entre tensión/malestar y dolor.

La articulación de la rodilla es una articulación de bisagra. Esto significa que la rodilla puede abrirse y cerrarse, como una puerta.  Desde el punto de vista anatómico, la articulación de la rodilla permite principalmente la flexión y la extensión, PERO también permite un pequeño grado de rotación medial y lateral. Esta rotación sólo puede producirse cuando la rodilla está flexionada. Si la rodilla no está flexionada, la rotación se produce en la articulación de la cadera.

Según mi experiencia, tratar la rodilla como si no pudiera rotar nos ayuda a mí y a mis alumnos a mantener las rodillas seguras. Es increíblemente difícil medir o percibir el rango seguro de rotación, ya que estamos absortos en nuestra práctica.

Mi consejo urgente es que trates las rodillas como si sólo pudieran abrirse y cerrarse y crear una rotación interna o externa en una postura ¡únicamente en la articulación de la cadera!

Al practicar posturas de apertura de caderas como Padmasana, podemos proteger las articulaciones de las rodillas

  • Flexionando los pies en las posturas, siempre que sea posible. Esto ayuda a evitar la rotación de las rodillas.
  • Evitando el mecanismo de compensación del cuerpo. Así pues, al practicar la postura del Loto media o completa, flexiona siempre primero completamente las rodillas y luego gira la articulación de la cadera.
  • Evitando forzar la rodilla hacia la esterilla en rotación externa (o interna).
  • Utilizando apoyos como un bloque bajo la rodilla si ésta no puede apoyarse de forma natural en el suelo.

Leer más:  Cómo evitar el dolor y las lesiones de rodilla en el yoga

Los tobillos en la Postura del Loto

La cuestión es: ¿flexionar el pie o no flexionarlo? La constitución anatómica de cada persona es diferente. Sin embargo, flexionar la articulación del tobillo es más seguro en esta postura, ya que esta acción involucra a los músculos que tiran de la tibia hacia la rodilla y esto disminuye la rotación. En cuanto a la colocación del pie, buscamos que el borde exterior del tobillo se asiente hacia y, finalmente, en el pliegue de la cadera. Si se practica correctamente, no se debería sentir ningún estiramiento en los tobillos durante (Ardha) Padmasana.

Posturas preparatorias para Padmasana

La Postura del Loto completa requiere tiempo, esfuerzo y paciencia. Mientras tanto, puedes seguir obteniendo los beneficios de la postura mientras te abres camino hacia ella con posturas preparatorias. Para la Postura del Loto necesitamos rotación externa de las articulaciones de la cadera, flexión de las articulaciones de la rodilla y una ligera inclinación anterior de la pelvis. Aquí utilizaremos posturas para fomentar el anclaje de la inclinación pélvica anterior y la rotación correcta de las caderas.

Postura del Rey Palomo con una pierna

Esta postura se dirige a las principales zonas de rotación externa de la cadera para prepararnos para la Postura del Loto: los Seis Rotadores Laterales Profundos. Cuando practicamos la Postura de la Paloma, nos encontramos con los seis rotadores laterales profundos de la pierna delantera. Si este grupo muscular está tenso, te costará llevar la nalga delantera a la esterilla. Cuando practicamos la Postura de la Paloma con una Pierna, nos encontramos con restricciones en los cuádriceps y los flexores de la cadera en la pierna trasera extendida. Si estos músculos están tensos, te costará llevar la parte delantera del muslo posterior hacia la esterilla.

Leer más: Eka Pada Kapotasana: Cómo practicar la postura de la paloma para todos los niveles de movilidad

Media postura del loto

Si has calentado bien con Surya Namaskara y una rutina equilibrada de asanas, incluidas Virasana y Eka Pada Kapotasana, comienza tu práctica de la Postura del Loto con Medio Loto.

Casi todo el mundo (siempre que no tenga problemas de rodilla) puede hacer la postura del Medio Loto. Puede que no tenga el mismo aspecto que en un libro de yoga, puede que necesites utilizar accesorios, pero se puede hacer en la mayoría de los casos.

¿Cómo entrar en la Postura del Medio Loto?

  1. Empieza en posición sentada en tu esterilla, con las piernas extendidas delante de ti
  2. Flexiona la rodilla derecha y lleva el tobillo derecho al pliegue de la cadera izquierda.
  3. Asegúrate de que la parte superior del pie derecho descansa en el pliegue de la cadera izquierda y la planta del pie mira hacia arriba.
  4. Dobla la pierna izquierda y coloca el tobillo izquierdo bajo la rodilla derecha.
  5. Deja descansar las manos sobre los muslos, con las palmas hacia arriba.
  6. Mantén la columna elongada y cierra los ojos suavemente.

Modificaciones y ajustes

Si tienes la pelvis metida hacia abajo y te sientas sobre el coxis en lugar de sobre los huesos del asiento, puedes sentarte en el borde de un cojín o una manta para que te ayude a adoptar una inclinación pélvica anterior.

Si la parte superior de la rodilla no descansa cómodamente sobre la parte inferior del pie, utiliza una manta doblada o un bloque para apoyar la rodilla.

Señales de alineación

  • Be sure to generate rotation in the hip joint when bending your leg into Half Lotus Pose, and avoid straining your knee! Make sure to practice this pose on both sides.
  • Point your heel toward the crease of your opposite hip.
  • Keep the top of your foot active. You should not feel any pulling or tension on the outside of your ankle.
  • Never push the top of your knee toward the ground, because you could injure your knee. Simply focus on releasing your leg through the groin.

Step-by-step instruction of the Full Lotus Pose (Padmasana)

When you feel there is a balance between confidence and skill, be careful when attempting this pose. Here are some guidelines to remember

Please do not try this pose if you have to force your leg to cross it. Also, remember to generate rotation in the hip joints when bending your legs in Lotus Pose, as this will avoid straining your knees. You should point your heel toward the crease of your opposite hip and you should not feel any pulling or tension on the outside of your ankle. Never push the top of your knee toward the ground, as doing so can injure your knee. Instead, simply focus on releasing your leg at the groin. Make sure to practice this pose on both sides.

How to get into the posture

  1. Start in a sitting position on the mat, with your legs extended in front of you.
  2. Fully bend your right leg and then externally rotate at the hip
  3. Bring your right ankle toward or over the crease of your left hip.
  4. Make sure the top of your right foot is resting in the crease of your left hip or as close to it as possible and that the sole of your foot is facing up and flexed.
  5. Bend your left leg, and as with your left leg, externally rotate your hip.
  6. Next, gently cross (ideally without using your hands to pull) your left ankle over your right shin, and bring your left ankle to the crease of your right hip or as close to it as possible.
  7. Flex your left foot
  8. The top of the left foot rests in the crease of the right hip, and the sole of the foot faces upward.
  9. Gently push your knees toward each other while pressing your sit bones into the floor and keeping your spine elongated.
  10. Close your eyes and breathe evenly, with your hands resting on your knees. Then she releases the pose and repeats the same on the other side.

 Contraindications and precautions

If you have ankle or knee problems, tread carefully and use appropriate support. If you have tight hips, we also recommend that you tread carefully. It is better to go slowly with this posture than to force the joints into compromised positions.


As with all yoga poses, we must always apply the principle of safety first! Instead of rushing to the final expression of Lotus Pose, use the alignment cues in this yoga pose tutorial so you can feel comfortable where you are right now in this pose. Explore how you feel, in your own body. Honor the process!

Sobre la autora

Kalyani Hauswirth Jain

Kalyani Hauswirth-Jain es la Directora Creativa y profesora sénior de los Arhanta Yoga Ashrams. Antes de unirse a Arhanta Yoga Ashrams en 2011, Kalyani estudió Danza Moderna en los Países Bajos, donde descubrió su pasión por la conexión cuerpo-mente y el liderazgo personal. En 2007, Kalyani comenzó a enseñar yoga profesionalmente, y cuatro años más tarde, estaba formando a profesores de yoga en nuestros ashrams.

Ahora, con más de 11.000 horas de experiencia en la enseñanza, Kalyani es profesora principal de los cursos de formación de profesores de yoga de 200 y 300 horas, así como de varios cursos de 50 horas en los ashrams de Arhanta Yoga. Cuando no está ajustando posturas en clase, Kalyani escribe blogs informativos y guías para otros yoguis, y es coautora del libro "Hatha Yoga for Teachers & Practitioners", aclamado por la crítica.

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