Half Lotus vs Full Lotus: What’s the Difference?
The Lotus position in yoga and meditation is quite recognizable, even by those who don’t practice either discipline. It is a pose that is quite advanced and can take a long time to achieve. It is often used for meditation and requires a good amount of flexibility.
Because a Full Lotus position can be out of the reach for many beginners, there are alternative poses available. One of these is the Half Lotus, which you can try to master before moving on to the Full Lotus. Here, we will take a close look at the Half Lotus vs Full Lotus and how to achieve both.
Half Lotus vs Full Lotus
Both of these poses require some preparation before getting started. You need the right amount of flexibility to perform both, so an adequate stretching is necessary.
Before trying either pose, you should perform some preparatory steps. This will get your body ready to achieve and hold the pose. The primary focus with preparation is to make sure that you’ve exercised and stretched your hips so that they can fully open.
The Full Lotus is considered the ideal position for meditation. However, it requires a great deal of flexibility and can take a lot of practice and patience to master.
Getting into Position
The steps to achieve a Full Lotus Pose are as follows:
- Sit down and extend your legs. Hold your spine straight and rest your arms at your sides.
- Bend your right knee and bring it into your chest as if you are hugging it. Bring your right ankle to your left hip, allowing your right foot to face upward. The top of your foot will rest on the crease of your hip.
- Bend your left knee. Take your left ankle and cross it over the top of your right shin. Your left foot’s shin should be facing upward. The top of your ankle and foot should be resting on the crease of your hip.
- Bring your knees as close together as you can. Press your groin to the floor and sit up with good posture.
- Place your palms face up and rest your hands on your knees. Get your hands into Gyan Mudra.
- Relax your face.
- Hold for your designated timeframe. Start with shorter intervals as you adjust to the pose.
- To release, extend both legs very slowly and gently to the floor. Rest.
It is believed that the Full Lotus position has benefits for overall mental health and calmness. It is said to clear and calm the mind, which is why it is most often used for very deep meditation.
Physically, it has its benefits as well. It is known to stretch out various areas of the body, including the hips, ankles, and knees. It also strengthens areas such as the upper back and the spine. It increases circulation in the pelvis and spine.
You do not want to attempt a Full Lotus Pose if you have chronic injuries to your hips, ankles, or knees. The same is true if you’ve recently injured one of those areas. It can be easy to injure yourself trying out this pose, so it is always advised that you do so under the guidance of a skilled instructor.
The Full Lotus Pose can be tough to achieve and even harder to hold for long periods. So, there are variations of the pose.
Alternatives include the following:
- If your knees don’t reach the floor, support them with something, such as a blanket or meditation pillow.
- Practice the Half Lotus on your way to achieving the Full Lotus.
The Half Lotus might be your desired endpoint, or it may be your transition to achieving a Full Lotus. It is a seated posture that allows you to open up your hips while stretching the ankles and knees. This is an excellent option for anyone who is a bit more limited in the flexibility of their lower body.
Getting into Position
The steps to get into the Half Lotus position are as follows:
- While sitting on the floor, extend your legs out in front of you. Be sure to keep your spine straight. Rest your arms at your sides.
- Bend your right knee and bring it into your chest. Put your right ankle at your left hip’s crease. This will bring your right foot to face upward. The top of your foot should be resting on the crease of your hip.
- Take your left knee and bend it. Then, cross it over your left ankle.
- From here, there are several variations of the pose:
- You can place your hands on your thighs and either place your palms facing up or down.
- You can put your hands together in a prayer position.
- Make sure your spine remains straight.
- Keep your eyes closed.
- Hold the position for however long you want.
- When you want to get out of Half Lotus, simply extend both of your legs to the floor. Then, you can repeat the pose, this time putting the opposite leg on top. Be sure to hold it for the same length of time.
Physically, you can increase strength, primarily in your back, with the Half Lotus Pose. You will also find that you can get a really deep stretch in the thighs, knees, ankles, and hips with this position. The Half Lotus will also help to improve blood flow and circulation to the pelvis area.
For mental benefits, keeping your spine aligned while sitting in an upright position can help to calm anxiety and reduce stress.
Even though the Half Lotus is a bit easier to achieve than the Full Lotus, it still is not necessarily suitable for those just starting their meditation and yoga journey. There is still great flexibility required.
Similar to the Full Lotus, you won’t want to try this position if you have issues with your hips, knees, or ankles. You also should never force the pose if you feel too much tightness in any of these areas. There are further modifications and other poses to try to work up to a Half Lotus as your flexibility increases.
The Half Lotus position is intended to be held for a reasonable amount of time. Therefore, you want to make sure you are comfortable completing it. If you aren’t fully there yet, you can try some of these modifications:
- Support the knee of your top leg if you can’t yet rest it on the floor. You can use a blanket or meditation pillow.
- Rest against a wall for back support.
- Try a more comfortable pose to start, such as the Easy Pose.
Performing a Half Lotus vs Full Lotus can make for a tough decision. However, bear in mind that both require a good deal of flexibility and technique. There is no shame in starting out with a Half Lotus and working your way up to a Full Lotus.