The Cheater’s Guide to Sitting in Lotus Pose.

Via Ricardo das Neves
on Jan 2, 2013
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So you’ve always wanted to be a real meditator—or a real yogi—able to sit in lotus position like the grown-ups.

You have visions of your friends snapping a photo of you in that venerable pose in front of a monastery in Tibet… but so far you haven’t even arrived at half lotus (one leg crossed on top of the other). Nor one-quarter lotus, nor one-eighth lotus. Your hips just don’t seem to get with the program, and don’t even get started about the ankles.

Fret not—I have pre-suffered for your convenience to bring you an easy way to achieve lotus in addition to that much sought-after feeling that you’re making progress in your meditation and/or yoga path.

Of course, there’s the question as to whether being able to sit in lotus is essential for meditating or calling yourself a yogi (I’ve explored this idea in the past and don’t subscribe to it), but that’s beside the point if you’re set on wanting to come across as one of the “Ones.” (Vanity as a Spiritual Pathway, anyone?)

So, here’s how you do it. You’ll need a belt or a yoga strap.

1. Wearing comfortable clothing, lie on the floor.

2. Wrap the strap around your left foot and pull it onto the top of your right thigh.

Step 1 of Cheater's Guide to Lotus Position

(If you can’t get your left foot onto your right thigh, I’m sorry, but you’ll need to go back to yoga class for a few months and come back later. I never said anybody could do this; just people who aren’t terminally rusty. On the plus side, you won’t hurt yourself and you’ll be wiser and less vain.)

3. Once your left foot in on your right thigh, leave it there and take the strap to your right foot.

Step 2 of Cheater's Guide to Lotus Position

4. Using the strap, pull your right foot to the underside of your left knee.

Congratulations. You’re in half lotus position now. This may be it for you for right now if your hips are crying uncle. Do these four steps daily and hold (breathing deeply) for a minute or so on each side, and only proceed to step five after two weeks, two months, two years or two martinis.

5. If your ankles and your hips are reasonably okay with this, using the strap, pull your right foot to the top of your left thigh.

Step 3 of Cheater's Guide to Lotus Position

And there you are! Lotus pose!

If this is your first time, call someone over and tell them to snap a picture of you. If it’s not your first time and your legs are reasonably okay, try sitting up like that and behold the world from your newly enlightened state!

Benefits: If you can get into lotus, it’s a fantastically stable position to sit in that requires no back support for comfort.

Skip if: Your hips, your ankles or your knees are making you cry. Try the half lotus instead (up to step four). Rejoice in the knowledge you don’t have to prove anything to anybody.

Final thoughts: I’ve been sitting in lotus position for years and sometimes I prefer to use a chair or lie down for meditation. According to some people, this may be why I’m not enlightened.


Ed: Lynn H.

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About Ricardo das Neves

Ricardo das Neves is the author of Unenlightened: Confessions of an Irreverent Yoga Teacher, and is occasionally known to tweet (@spirithumor). See more VISUAL YOGA BLOGS here. When heโ€™s not trying to be funny, he acts very serious teaching yoga classes in and around Seattle. Subscribe to future VISUAL YOGA BLOGS here. Connect with him on Google+


14 Responses to “The Cheater’s Guide to Sitting in Lotus Pose.”

  1. Gary says:

    Thanks I like it and will try it, and I DON'T consider it cheating or necessary for meditation. I always thought it would look cool, kind of like handstand.

  2. Eddy Lee says:

    Thanks! I will try it ๐Ÿ™‚ and I will be vainly enlightened

  3. Rachel says:

    In lotus, isn’t the left leg suppose to be on top, based on the flow of energy? So first placing your right foot on top of the left thigh & then bring your left foot on top of your right thigh crossing @ the ankles.

  4. […] thoughts: Master the Wobbly Crane and you’ll confidently tackle yoga’s more advanced poses. Master those and I’ll be paying money to attend your riveting performance at Cirque du […]

  5. Ricardo says:

    You want to balance the stretch on both sides of the body. If you're doing that, do whatever leg on top you want first. I personally tend to be more interested with what happens with alignment in the body (which is physical and easily provable) versus "flow of energy", which is mystical and hence subjective… but that's just Unenlightened me. :- ) =R.

  6. […] around me. My flame seemed small during meditation, and my stupid ankle refuses to cooperate with lotus pose without a good 45-minute Primary Series warm-up. 4:30 a.m. is meant to be the perfect time to […]

  7. […] trying the “Better Spinal Twist”—your ego chimes in with, “Dude, I can do poses much harder than this!” be sure to hear your back reply, “Which is why I’m tight and desperate for a […]

  8. shridev says:

    Who got the longest sitting record sitting on lotus posture and who is he/she ? Please let me know on my
    e-mail adress. Thanking you.

  9. Assaf Koss says:

    This looks like sound advice! I've heard about lying down and using a wall as opposite force, as well, but this seems more comfortable. I'll give it shot!

    I wish I could sit in lotus, eh. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Someday, someday…


  10. PHardt says:

    You're not funny.

  11. Paul says:

    For women, it's right leg first, then left leg on top. For men it's left first then right on top.

    Source: Qigong Master Wang Liping wrote an addition to the ancient Taoist cannon about teaching women on the spiritual path.

  12. Paul says:

    It seems that many spiritual masters sit like this, and many in the East do cave meditations for reallly long periods, never leaving the posture. The man who founded Zen (Chan) Buddhism meditated in a cave for 9 years, having food brought to him. Not sure if he ever left the pose.

    But Qigong Master Chunyi Lin did a cave meditation for like 3 months in full lotus, and says he wants to do a year really bad but is too busy healing people.

  13. Paul says:


  14. Eduardo Baldan says:

    Thanks for the hints, body. You are very funny!
    Sat Nam.