The lotus position.
Whatever you call it, it is a difficult position to get into, let alone sit for a long time in. You do not have to meditate in the lotus position (and you should not if your aren’t limber enough), as meditation is what you do with your mind, not your body. However, the lotus position, at least in my experiences, does have benefits such as stability and stillness during the meditation, and increases flexibility in the hips, knees, and ankles. Some people want to try to get into the lotus position because it is a challenge, and humans love challenges. Perhaps you are a similar person? There is nothing wrong with challenging yourself, as long as you do it SLOWLY AND CAREFULLY, especially when dealing with joints as delicate as the knees. So how can you prepare your body for the lotus position?You can prepare your body for the lotus position by using a series of yoga poses. A website called “Some Southern Zen” which is “Just another Zen Buddhist site…” (they called themselves that, not me) lays out a series of yoga asanas you can try to increase your hip flexibility, and eventually work your way up to the lotus position. Link: http://zenmontpellier.voila.net/eng/lotus/lotuseng.html
I like this site. It helped me get into the lotus pose, and I hope it will have the same effect on you.
Obviously, take each pose slowly, and DO NOT FORCE YOURSELF. If you feel ANY pain or discomfort, you should probably stop before you tear or twist something.
Even if you are comfortable with sitting in the lotus position now, you should take a look at the site anyway. Just because you can sit in the lotus position now, does not mean you will be able to in 10 years.
Also, if you meditate in any cross-legged position, it couldn’t hurt to check out the page either. This way the position, no matter how difficult it is, will be easier to sit in.
The only last bit of advice I can offer is this: Getting into the lotus position will not be overnight for most people. Take it slow, and do not expect immediate results, or you will be disappointed. It is not a race, and there are plenty of other positions to meditate in.
I think I will have the author of the site have the last word:
In practicing Padmasana, remember that the body and the asana must meet on their own terms in their own time. If you inflict the asana on the body, you may set up a dichotomous relationship between what you think the body “should” be and what the body is. The body then becomes an enemy to be conquered rather than a companion on the journey. By giving up your preconceived idea and images of how far you think you should go, you free yourself to explore the asana in the present moment, just as a lover might give full attention to his beloved. Practicing with true affection, let the pose become a journey rather than a destination. Then even a difficult posture like Padmasana will become enjoyable.
Here is the link again: http://zenmontpellier.voila.net/eng/lotus/lotuseng.html
Good luck, have fun, and Happy Meditating!