Why You Shouldn’t Strain Yourself To Padmasana (Lotus Pose)

Yoga is a practice that helps to strengthen your body using slow, controlled movements, in and out of poses. When practiced properly, one of the benefits is to alleviate pain. So why would you want strain to get into a pose? That hurts! Plus it won’t be short term!

The Lotus Pose (Padmasana) is forced by many during meditation. Pushing yourself in this way can lead to a sickening “pop” in the knee, followed by years of pain and limited mobility.

The safest way to practice Padmasana and related poses is to strongly rotate your thigh outward at the hip and not go deeper into the pose when you reach the limit of your outward rotation. This means that you’ll have to stop lifting your foot when your thigh stops rotating, so you may not get your foot on the opposite thigh. (Remember the upside: happy, functional, pain-free knees.) You can use your hands or a strap to help rotate your thighbone outward. Whether using your hands, a strap, or a cloth, if your knee ends up dangling in midair, support it with a folded blanket so you do not inadvertently force it downward as you turn the thigh outward.

If you have the misfortune of hurting your inner knee in Padmasana or a related pose, the first thing to do is leave it alone. You need to rest, ice, elevate, and compress it for a few days to reduce swelling and inflammation. If the injury seems serious, seek medical attention. It’s a good idea to reintroduce knee range of motion as early as you can by gently flexing and extending the knee to the extent possible. A yoga program for recovery needs to be individualized to your needs and supervised by a qualified instructor. Promoting alignment and strength with basic standing poses is ideal. You may try Trikonasana (Triangle Pose) and Virabhadrasana II (Warrior Pose II). If necessary, support your body with a chair to take weight off the knee. In addition, increase range of motion by doing Virasana (Hero Pose) with the pelvis supported on a prop, and eventually reintroduce outward rotating movements like Baddha Konasana (and perhaps Padmasana) using a rolled cloth behind the inner knee.

Your yoga practice should be pleasurable and healing. Be mindful and pay attention to your body so as to avoid long term injury. Namaste.