Now that I’ve shown you the Cheater’s guide to getting into lotus position, you’re ready for the next step: levitation.
Well, the next step is “meditation,” but that doesn’t get you as excited as levitation… And you know us attention-mongers: anything (including pandering shamelessly to the lowest common denominator) to get you to “click here.”
Now, just so we’re clear: this is levitation in the circus magician sense, not: “Guru, you are enlightened and can overcome the laws of nature! Show me how I can levitate too!” I guarantee that the latter approach is going to put a significant dent in your wallet and your results won’t be better than my system here. That’s why I call this levitation on a budget.
On the plus side, you’ll get a longer spine, stronger abdominals and stronger arms.
Okay, here we go. For this, you need a couple of yoga blocks. It’s entirely possible to do it without blocks, but it requires more strength, more balance, and possibly a shorter ancestral lineage to orangutans and their long arms—but if that describes you to a T, go for it.
1. Sit on the floor (or your yoga mat) and lift your right foot as pictured. The yoga blocks should be on the floor at your sides and slightly behind you.
2. Place your right foot on top of the left thigh. The higher the better: edge of the left foot on top of the ridge between your thigh and and your hip joint is ideal. Congratulations: you are now in half lotus position. (If your knees and your ankles hurt here or they’re being forced, or your right knee is way up in the air, instead of half lotus just cross your ankles in what’s known as sukhasana.)
3. Now, lift your sitting bones off the floor by pressing on the blocks. Leave your left knee and foot down for this. Note that you’re engaging and lifting mostly with your triceps (the muscles at the back of your upper arms). Stay for two long breaths.
4. Now that you’ve pre-lengthened your spine, come back down. Keep your legs as they are, in the half lotus position, and without changing them, grab the left foot and bring it on top of the right thigh. If your knee and ankle are okay with this, you’ll be in lotus position (padmasana). Now lean your chest forward, press down on your blocks (or hands) engage your abdominals, and lift. Stay anywhere between one and eight slow breaths, and then repeat on the other side.
Benefits: The previously-mentioned development in strength in your arms, in your abdominals, and a nice lift and expansion for your spine.
Avoid if: Your knees or ankles hurt. Or, if it feels like the lift places too much strain on your wrists, they may be strengthened with a few months of daily downward dogs. If there’s another underlying reason for the weakness in the wrists (like carpal tunnel syndrome), then avoid entirely.
Final thoughts: “But guru, this isn’t real levitation,” you say. Fine. Have someone take a picture of you, Photoshop out the blocks, and there you go! I said this was levitation on a budget, didn’t I?
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Author’s Own