The lotus position is an advanced yoga position that increases blood flow and strengthens muscles. It is not a position a yoga novice should tackle immediately. You need to perform several stretches to loosen your knees, ankles, hips and lower back before you attempt the lotus position. As with most yoga stretches, if you feel pain you should relax and try again later.
Seated Angle Posture
The seated angle posture stretches your groin, thigh and buttock muscles, which are all important areas when attempting the full lotus position. Sit with your back straight and your legs fully extended in front of you. Spread your legs out to the left and right as far as you can. Take a deep breath and lean forward toward your left leg with your arms fully extended until you grab your foot. Stop stretching if you begin to feel discomfort or pain. Straighten up and then stretch toward your right leg. Fold your knees to help you reach your foot if necessary.
The reclining hero position will stretch and lengthen the muscles in your thighs, making the lotus position less strenuous. Start the position by sitting on your knees. Move your calves out from underneath your thighs so they rest on either side of your thighs. Slowly recline until you are lying flat on your back with your feet facing up toward your head. Extend your hands over your head and take a deep breath. Bring your hands down to your sides and slowly lift yourself up into a sitting position after you finish the stretch.
The comukhasana position increases the flexibility of your knees, hips and ankles. The position looks difficult to achieve, but it is actually quite simple. Sit down with your back straight. Lift your bottom off the floor about 6 inches and slide your right foot under it (your right leg should bend at the knee so your calf is parallel to your thigh). Lower your bottom down on your right foot. Cross your left leg over your bent right leg. Position your left ankle so the outside joint touches the ground. Place your hands folded on your left knee and breathe slowly. Alternate your position when ready.
The janu sirsasana is one of the easiest stretches to help prepare you for the full lotus position. It stretches the muscles in the thighs, calves and lower back. Sit down with your back straight and extend your left leg in front of you. Bend your right leg at the knee and position it so your right knee extends away from your left leg at a 90-degree angle. Stretch your right leg back toward your hips. Lean forward without lifting your hips off the ground and touch your left foot. take care not to try so hard to touch your foot that you pull a muscle.