Hip Opener, Neutral Spine, Seated
Hips, Knee, Legs, Spine
Setup and Key Actions
Begin in dandasana (staff pose) with both legs extended out in front of you. If your lower back rounds, sit up on a folded blanket (or stack of blankets) so that you can maintain a gentle curve in your lower back.
Externally rotate (turn out) your right thigh, bending your right knee so that it points out to the side. Then, draw your right heel back toward your pubic bone so that the sole of your right foot rests against your left inner thigh. Your right foot and right knee should be in line with one another. From here, pick up your right foot and bring it onto your left thigh, snuggling it high up toward your hip crease so that your heel is close to your belly button. Your toes will extend beyond your thigh. Keep your toes active (spreading) and your ankle straight; avoid pushing your right knee down toward the floor.
Check in: Come out of the pose if it feels painful for your knee(s). If your knees feel good and you’re ready to move into full lotus, just like you did with the first leg, externally rotate your left thigh, bending your left knee so that it points out to the side, and slide your left heel back toward your pubic bone as far as you can, bringing your left foot in line with your left knee (it will probably come under your right leg a little).Then, pick up your left foot and bring it up onto your right thigh, toward your hip crease, as high as you comfortably can. Keep your toes active and your ankles straight. Sit tall, lengthening up through your spine. Come out of the pose if you feel any knee pain.
You may find it more comfortable to stick with half lotus: Come into the pose as described above, only instead of picking up your left foot and placing it up on your right thigh, keep your left foot under you, and slide it under your right knee.