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Strike a Yoga Pose: Bound Lotus

We're up to the last three poses in the closing sequence of Ashtanga Yoga. They're all poses that involve having your legs in full lotus. This pose not only stretches your hips, but it also opens your chest and stretches your shoulders and lower back.

Sanskrit Name: Baddha Padmasana
English Translation: Bound Lotus Pose

How do you get into it? To find out

  • If lotus doesn't work for you because it hurts your knees or hips, just sit cross-legged.
  • If you want to try doing lotus, bend your right knee and place your right foot up by your left hip bone. Then carefully bend your left knee and pull your left foot over your right shin and place it by your right hip bone. If your knees or hips are hurting whatsoever, come out of lotus and just sit cross-legged.
  • Once you've got your legs into position, it's time to do your arms. Traditionally, you cross them behind your back, lean forward slightly and your right hand holds your right big toe, and your left hand holds your left big toe. If you feel like your toes are too far away, you can take your legs out of lotus and then fold them back in, readjusting your feet so they're as close to the sides of your waist as possible. If you can't hold both toes together at the same time, just hold one. If you can't reach either toe, just keep your arms crossed behind you, fold forward over your knees and pretend you're holding your toes.
  • Stay here for five deep breaths, eventually working on bringing your forehead towards the ground. On your next inhale, sit up.
  • Fit's Tips: Some people are born with really open hips so lotus is easy for them from the start. If you're not one of these people, you can work on opening your hips by practicing Pigeon and Double Pigeon.

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