Floating Lotus Pose - The Foundation Pose For Mindfulness and More

The floating lotus or flying lotus is otherwise known as padmasana is best described by Yoga Journal as a foundation for meditation practice - which helps to manage stress by the conscious stretch in front of the thighs and ankles. The floating lotus represents strength because it calls for full engagement of the body.

A yoga instructor, Jane Stones in a creative way described that the strong arms which hold one up in floating lotus are ways of teaching one to be calm despite so many moments that call for us to lose our resolves. She added the key to execute it properly is the ability to trust one's self. Padmasana in Yoga philosophy means lotus and chair or throne. This pose is believed in Yoga philosophy to cure physical ailments. 

Benefits Of The Floating Lotus Pose

  1. The floating lotus pose is derived from the lotus pose. Therefore, one of the major advantages of the lotus pose is that it helps to open the hips, stretches the ankles and thighs, and  strengthens the back. The floating lotus helps the hips. This reduces knee valgus. It's very good for sports performance since the hips muscles are closely related to the core muscles which are crucial for sports and athletic activity. 
  2. Another benefit is that it helps to maintain good posture and straightening the spine. It provides a gentle stretch to the entire spine column.
  3. The floating lotus pose uniqueness is that it elevates the heart based on the full-body working together to produce the pose. It also helps to burn calories.
  4. Floating lotus also helps to calm the mind and prepares one for deep meditation. Although this pose sends painful stimuli to the body, one should learn to endure and focus on the mind over the body, which is the crux of this pose.
  5. It may help to regulate blood pressure. The time taken to sit, relax and meditate will help the body system and eases the mind.
  6. The exercise also focuses on breathing. This fakes the stress reduction to another level. 
  7. Studies suggest that the time spent floating in a sensory deprivation tank may have some benefits in healthy people, such as muscle relaxation and better sleep. Based on the way the human body is arranged, the lotus pose is said to help put healing pressure (acupuncture) on the stomach, gallbladder, spleen, kidneys, and liver. 

How To Do The Floating Lotus Pose Correctly

There are two ways to do it, the first is advanced which is doing it with the technicalities involved.

  1. You first place your hands on blocks while holding a sitting position to straighten your hands. 
  2. Then you allow your breath to move around the heart and create space between your neck and your shoulder.
  3. Start engaging the core to make the leg form a 90-degree angle to the torso. Lift yourself off the ground with the core. If you used your shoulders or you create a hunched posture, it is wrong so just relax and do it over again and keep the sense of ease focused on the upper body. If after practice one finds it easy with blocks, then you can practice with bare hands.
  4. Press your left heel in your right groin and the left heel to the right of the pubis. Hold in (press) your big toe mounds to help draw your knees closer together, to help release that action. Try to engage your spinal muscles, drawing your sacrum in and up towards your navel, then lift and open your chest. Hold for five to ten breaths.

However, it can be done like this which is the basic model of the pose:

  1. Sit back and take your right foot in your hands and slowly place your left foot on your thighs. Repeat the same for your left foot.
  2. Be aware of correct posture as you open your chest, lengthen your spine, and gently pull your shoulders up. Extend your arms over your thighs, and rest your hands and wrists on your knees, with palms facing upward.
  3. Close your eyes and hold this pose for 5 to 10 slow deep breaths. Calm your mind and relax, as you feel yourself gently floating.

This should not be done if a person has knee injuries like knee pain or knee arthritis. The body should not be forced to do the pose. Instead, one should move slowly and mindfully into the pose. If properly done, the pose could help manage stress by activation of the relaxation response (parasympathetic nervous system) and dismissing stress response (sympathetic nervous system).

Modifications and Recommendations For The Floating Lotus Pose

The floating lotus pose may be extremely difficult to master at first, one recommended alternative is the pose called The Half-Lotus Pose. The Sanskrit name for this pose, "Ardha Padmasana. This pose requires a great deal of flexibility. This pose is beautiful in inducing slow flows and flexibility, it works on the back, hips, and knees simultaneously. The pose also is very popular in Yoga and also helps to prepare the body and mind for deep meditation. It is a wonderfully challenging pose that will strengthen and lengthen your body and back. 

You can refer to this video from Yoga with Alina 

Steps of the Half-Lotus Pose

  1. Begin by sitting straight on the floor or mat. 
  2. Extend your legs, spine straight, and arms resting at your sides. This is Seated Staff Pose (Dandasana).
  3. You then bend your right knee and hug your knee to your chest. After that, bring your right ankle to the crease of your left hip so the sole of your right foot faces the sky. The top of your foot should rest on your hip crease.
  4. Bend your left knee, and cross your left ankle beneath your right knee.
  5. There are several hand variations you can take : A. Rest your hands on your thighs with your palms facing up or down B. Place your palms together in a prayer position (Anjali Mudra) at your heart. C. Gyan Mudra, create a circle with each index finger and thumb. D. Any other mudra appropriate for your meditation.
  6. Keep your spine straight throughout.
  7. Close your eyes and let your gaze be inward.
  8. Hold for up to one minute or the duration of your meditation or pranayama practice.
  9. Release the pose by extending both legs along the floor in Staff Pose. Repeat the pose for the same amount of time with the opposite leg on top. Release the pose, and then rest in Corpse Pose (Savasana) for at least five minutes.

Another alternative is seated meditation posture in a chair. This requires one to be in a comfortable sitting position. For a taller person, consider also sitting on a folded blanket. If you are shorter, try putting blocks under your feet to bring you up. If accessible, sit forward in the chair, with a neutral spine try to feel the crown of your head lifting upward, avoid slouching and lengthen your spine into a neutral curve.

The floating lotus is an ideal exercise. It serves so many benefits. Jane Stone recommended it for women especially after childbirth as it helps to calm the body, relieve stress, and gives strength to carry on. Furthermore, it is so not a difficult technique, although it may take a while before the body adopts it fully.