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Lotus Position

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The Lotus Position, also known as Padmasana, is a posture used in Yoga and Meditation. It consists in sitting cross-legged with each foot placed atop the opposite thigh and the hands resting on the knees.

In fiction, this position is used as a visual shorthand for any character practicing meditation, using Psychic Powers or entering any kind of trance. In this context, the pose is used interchangeably with Sukhasana, another Yoga posture known simply as "sitting cross-legged". This will be so even if in the story's context (different world, time period, dimension, etc.) said character would have absolutely no contact with yoga or Eastern meditation techniques. Some characters tend to sit like this even in everyday circumstances, which usually serves to indicate that they are into meditation and Eastern spirituality, and have a meditative/spiritual mindset even in ordinary situations.

Beginners start with a Half Lotus, in which only one foot is resting on the opposing thigh. The Full Lotus is considered an intermediate or even advanced posture. The real-life purpose of the Lotus Position is to be relaxed enough to meditate but not so relaxed that you fall asleep, and to prevent the yogi from falling either forwards or backwards during meditation. See also the Useful Note.

See Levitating Lotus Position for when the meditator is also floating a few feet above the ground. Compare with Seiza Squirm, its Japanese counterpart. A comedic subversion of the trope often involves Asleep, Not Meditating. See also Mystical Lotus, the motif that this position is named after.


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  • The Granola Girl customer in the Direct Line house insurance adverts, who insists the salesman also does so.
    Salesman: Is it supposed to hurt?
    Customer: A little bit.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In the 3×3 Eyes manga, Yakumo Fujii uses this posture to contact the Sanjiyan through telepathy.
  • L is shown this way in one of the early chapters of the Death Note manga. He doesn't seem to be meditating, though; on the contrary, he's thinking consciously and hard.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • Stardust Crusaders: After ZZ is beaten by Jotaro, the team leaves him stranded out in the canyons tied to a rock and muzzled in a lotus posture, and put up a sign saying he is a monk in training and not to disturb him.
    • Stone Ocean: Once Jotaro receives his stolen Star Platinum, his unconscious body arose into a stance like an aesthetic monk while still being in deep sleep, as Star Platinum acts as a instinctive defense.
  • In Ranma ½, Ranma and Genma have assumed this pose on occasion; though sometimes they alter it, such as doing it upside-down (head on the floor, crossed legs in the air).

    Audio Plays 
  • In "W.C. Fields Forever" by The Firesign Theatre (off the album Waiting for the Electrician or Someone Like Him), the listener is given a guided tour through a hippie commune. When you get to the athletic department, you're greeted by Mello Jello, who then says "Okay, beginners — everybody do the Full Lotus Position!" Cue agonized groans and moans, with Mello saying "Very good! Now you are going to stay there until you attain True Enlightenment!"

    Card Games 

    Comic Books 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Oz is reintroduced sitting like this, on the porch of a Buddhist monastery in Tibet.
  • Hybrid Force: When Octo and Lizard Lady are locked up for turning against Testify, Lizard Lady is seen sitting in this position. She's doing so to try and recover more repressed memories.
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (1992): Sahasrahla is seen meditating in this position when Link first meets him.
  • In Richard Dragon, Kung-Fu Fighter, the main character meditates sitting this way about once an issue.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics): Meditation is an integral part of a Guardian's training. It pops regularly, most of the time in Knuckles-centric stories. Levitation comes into play only when Chaos Forces are involved. Besides Knuckles, Locke and other Guardians, other characters that are shown meditating are Espio (comes with being a Ninja) and Guru Emu (more like a tripped-out trance. It's sill his default sitting pose, though).
  • Superman:
    • In Supergirl storyline Crucible, Kon-El is seen meditating in Lotus position during his stay in a Tibetan monastery.
    • DC Retroactive Superman: In "The 70s" issue, Van-Zee uses a similar pose as practicing Torquasm Vo, an ancient Kryptonian type of meditation similar to Yoga: he is sitting cross-legged, but lifting his knees and crossing his arms over his chest.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • The Lion King: Rafiki has been known to meditate in this position now and again.
    • The first instance occurs before the appearance of Mufasa's ghost.
    • Next, we see it in The Lion King 1 ½, when he explains to Timon that he must "look beyond what he sees" to find Hakuna Matata.
    • In the spin-off TV series The Lion Guard, he shows his apprentice Makini how to meditate in this position in order to calm herself down.
  • In an earlier version of Turning Red, Mei and Ming would have attempted to meditate in this position.
  • Zootopia: The Yak at the Mystic Spring Oasis is first seen at the reception desk in this pose, humming the "ommm" mantra.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • God of Cookery has a partial subversion, as a shaolin master sits down like this in the middle of a cookery contest and appears to be levitating — until the camera moves and reveals that he's being carried out by security officers.
  • In Maps to the Stars, actress Havana Segrand is attempting to meditate when her agent calls with bad news: a movie role she'd been campaigning to get went to another actress. Havana remains calm until the agent hangs up — then smashes her cell phone and lets out a Skyward Scream.
  • In Shaolin Soccer, Empty Hand the goalkeeper is seen in this position above the ground when the Shaolin monks start getting serious. He's not levitating, though, but holding himself up effortlessly with just one hand on the goal post.
  • In TRON: Legacy, Kevin Flynn resembles a stereotypical Far Eastern sage in many, many ways. Living a secluded life, reading classic Buddhist and Taoist texts and meditating in a Lotus Position certainly helps.

  • In Artemis Fowl: The Eternity Code, after agreeing to be fully mind-wiped after dealing with Jon Spiro, Artemis meditates for hours to come up with a plan to beat Spiro and find a way to keep the memories of Haven City from being completely lost.
  • In the Deptford Histories book Thomas, the Holy One (or sadhu) of the City of Hara sits in this position to meditate.
  • Safehold: About halfway through the series, Merlin has taken to sitting in lotus position whenever he's officially "meditating". Though in his case it's camouflage for what he's really doing (monitoring a network of spy satellites or holding comm conversations). It works as camouflage because everyone expects a seijin to meditate regularly.
  • Swellhead has Diogenes Club hero of The '70s, psychic detective Richard Jeperson, come of retirement in the modern era to take on a reality-warping supervillain. In their final confrontation Jeperson gets into this position for a battle of willpower, but not without some assistance from his pretty female sidekick as he's not as flexible as he used to be. The position comes in handy though when the supervillain tries opening a trapdoor to his pit of alligators beneath our hero.
  • The Three Investigators: In The Mystery of the Invisible Dog, a young man called Sonny Elmquist is into meditation and Hindu spirituality, and tends to sit in the lotus position even in everyday situations.
  • The Witch of Knightcharm: Starlyght, a new student at an evil Wizarding School, meditates in this position while readying herself for a race. However, since the race is life-or-death and the students are even allowed to kill each other in order to ensure they don't finish last and get eliminated, Starlyght's calm meditation appears more unnerving than peaceful.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Blake's 7. The episode "Voice from the Past" opens with our crew of dangerous rebels doing relaxation exercises at Cally's behest. Cally is in a Lotus Position, Avon is in a Child's Pose, Blake in a Bow Pose, while Jenna just reclines on her couch in a tight leather bodysuit enjoying the sight of them looking very silly.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Tara sits in this position when doing a location spell in "Bargaining".
      Tara: Willow and I always know how to find each other.
      Anya: With yoga?
    • Buffy is sitting on a picnic table this way in "The Wish", causing Xander to address her as "Wise One".
    • Xander himself does it in "I Only Have Eyes For You" when doing his part of a Hollywood Exorcism, albeit for practical reasons — the room he's in is crawling with snakes, so he has to sit on a small dining table.
    • In the last scene of "Same Time, Same Place", Willow is sitting on her bed in lotus, using magic to heal herself after her ordeal with Gnarl. Buffy then sits in lotus facing Willow, offering her own strength to help Willow heal.
  • Doctor Who. "Listen" opens with the Doctor meditating on top of the TARDIS In Space He's protected by the TARDIS forcefield, of course.
  • Get Smart: In "The Groovy Guru", Max and 99 infiltrate a hippy cult and are shown sitting in this position while they Contemplate Our Navels.
    Max: We'll just have to keep up with this foolishness, until we have a chance to see the Guru.
    99: Max, I don't think it's foolishness. I'm feeling a tingling all over.
    Max: Me too. My feet are asleep.
  • Kung Fu:
    • Kwai Chang Caine routinely adopts the position (sometimes barechested) when he has nothing to do at the moment, being a Shaolin monk and a Martial Pacifist. Often, he'll sit quietly after being captured, to conserve his strength. Too late, his captors learn it was part of an I Surrender, Suckers gambit, and that they've brought a One-Man Army into their midst.
    • So does Kwai Chang Caine the second in Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, naturally.
  • When Bonnie Franklin (One Day at a Time) appeared as a celebrity guest on Match Game, she always liked sitting in her chair in a lotus position.
  • In She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, Blonsky's Deep Haikus poetry book has a cover depicting him sitting with his feet in the lotus position, but with his palms together.
  • Stargate-verse: Interestingly, it is implied in Stargate SG-1 that Earth Buddhism is somehow connected with the ascended Ancients. It is likely that meditation practices (including the Lotus Position) were brought by them when they returned to Earth. Thus the following examples are found:
    • Jaffas like Teal'c use this position to achieve the Kelno'reem state, a deep meditation akin to sleep, allowing their Goa'uld symbiote to heal diseases and other ailments the Jaffa may suffer from.
    • The Lotus Position was apparently introduced in the Pegasus galaxy too. It is adopted by the Ancients trying to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence — and by the Humanoid Replicators copycatting them.
    • Teyla Emmagan from Stargate Atlantis use this posture when practicing meditation, or trying to contact the Wraith Hivemind. Her efforts to teach meditation to her teammates don't go well, though. Ronon manages to fall asleep while keeping the posture, and McKay (in "The Tao of Rodney") favors more lying on the floor.
  • Star Trek:
  • In Three's Company, Jack and Chrissy are meditating in the lotus position when the doorbell rings. Chrissy runs right over Jack to answer the door, causing Jack to somersault while maintaining the position. (Crowning Moment of Physical Comedy?)

  • The cover of Technical Death Metal band Gorguts' Obscura depicts an old man seated in the lotus position, although it is difficult to tell this on the CD cover. On the vinyl cover it's obvious.

    Myths & Religion 

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Japanese pro wrestler Konaka Pale One can work entire matches while in the Lotus Position, even performing complex moves like arm drags and kip-ups without breaking posture.
  • The rarely seen lotus hold involves sitting on the opponent's back and putting your legs in a lotus position to suspend his arms. It's rare because applying it can be convoluted and the lotus position is actually uncomfortable to sit in for long periods of time. A more common variation also called a lotus hold is to wrap your legs around someone's arms while sitting before them, though it really doesn't look the part (Melina in particular made it look more like a leg full nelson). Another variation is to force your opponent to sit in a lotus position, though its more preferable to have his back on the mat while you press his legs so he can't just push you away and you can maybe get a three count.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Land O'Hands: In the episode "Old Land Sign", Grandma is seen listening to the land with her arms in this position (the puppet's feet were too big to be positioned in the usual way).

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons: In the 2nd Edition supplement The Complete Psionics Handbook, the symbol for the Metapsionics discipline is a character in the Lotus Position.
  • Pathfinder: The empyreal lord Korada's official art depicts him meditating cross-legged, with each foot on the opposite knee and his hands in the air above them, on top of a giant lotus bloom.

    Video Games 
  • ANNO: Mutationem: One of the denizens in the Underground City manages to do a lotus position while standing due to having multiple robotic legs.
  • Jade is introduced in this pose in Beyond Good & Evil.
  • Cloud Master have Buddha as one of the bosses. Just like in the myths, he's depicted as sitting cross-legged on a lotus while he throw attacks at you.
  • In Dark Souls III, the Path of the Dragon gesture has the player sitting in the Lotus Position. Using the gesture next to the Dragon Discipline in Irithyll Dungeon will teleport the player to the Archdragon Peak. Within the Peak, there are two different shrines in which using the gesture in front of them will grant the player the Calamity Ring and the Twinkling Dragon Torso Stone respectively.
  • Poo from EarthBound does this during his Mu training.
  • The Gladiator have the Evil Monk, Fa Ming, who's meditating in a cross-legged pose and spends the entire boss battle in a lotus-styled position, where he can summon projectile attacks and Doppelgänger Spin himself while praying.
  • Shy-Ann from Girl Detective: Sweet Sixties meditates in this position.
  • Your character in single-player Jedi Academy uses this while regaining health.
  • Samara in Mass Effect 2 can be found meditating in her Normandy chambers this way. She is also radiating a powerful Biotic aura.
  • In The Matrix: Path of Neo, Neo does a full Lotus Position after beating an Old Master in the first training simulation, as a Fade to White transition into the sword-fighting simulation.
  • Oriental Legend 2, a game based on Journey to the West, gives Tang Sanzhang an Adaptational Badass where he's given the ability to summon projectile attacks while meditating in a cross-legged, Buddhist-style lotus posture.
  • The second PAGUI begins with Huo summoning spirits by meditating using the lotus position. Complete with drawing Taoist symbols in the air with both hands while chanting away.
  • In The Simpsons Game, Lisa does this posture after gaining the freezing, lightning, and flick abilities.
  • Yoshimitsu of Soulcalibur heal himself by sitting in the Lotus Position.
  • The Arilou in Star Control II are depicted sitting in a Lotus Position.
  • One of the training games in Wii Fit, "Lotus Focus", requires you to sit on the Wii Balace Board in the lotus position and stay as still as possible.
  • The Wind Road (a wuxia game set in the Ming Dynasty) allows you to access certain checkpoints to meditate. You then sit down in this particular position as a glowing energy aura refills your health.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY: In Volume 3, Yatsuhashi meditates like this before beginning a fight, albeit with hands clasped to the opposite forearm than on his knees.


    Web Videos 
  • Doctor Steel assumes this position (complete with saffron robes) in his short film, "The Singularity".

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender has several people sitting lotus. Oddly enough, despite all the air and waterbending abilities — nobody actually floats. At least, not until The Legend of Korra, where Zaheer is shown meditating in the Levitating Lotus Position after he develops the ancient Airbending power of Flight.
  • Aelita from Code Lyoko sits in the Lotus Position when listening for "XANA's pulsations" for most of Season 1, and once in Season 4.
  • Kaeloo: In "Let's Play Catch the Mailman", Kaeloo meditates in this position to keep herself from getting angry about a fan letter she received that called her annoying.
  • The Loud House: In "Lincoln Loud: Girl Guru", Lincoln does this when he's the 'Girl Guru'.
  • Love, Death & Robots. In "Sonnie's Edge", Sonnie adopts this position while remote-piloting her Khanivore, while her opponent across the ring is more expressive. However this is misdirection. Turns out Sonnie's brain is in the Khanivore and her human body is what's being remote-piloted — it's in this position not to concentrate but because it's switched off while she's fighting.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In episode "A Rockhoof and a Hard Place", Somnambula and the rest of her motivational speaker class do a close approximation of the Lotus Position. "Close approximation" because, well, pony legs just don't work that way.
  • Suki from Pikwik Pack does this when she relaxes.
  • Lucky does this in the first episode ("The Yipper Caper") of Pound Puppies.
  • Used by Junko in Storm Hawks, as he recalled his attempt at meditating.
  • Teen Titans (2003): Raven is frequently seen meditating, mostly to keep her emotions in check, and usually adopts the lotus position to do so.

    Real Life 
  • In the United Kingdom, the Natural Law Party, a political party who field candidates at general elections, practice "yogic flying"... which while it sounds really cool, consists, disappointingly, of bouncing around a soft mat in the lotus position. Same thing in France with "le parti de la lévitation transcendentale"; largely considered a laughing stock.
  • Ring-tailed Lemurs do something a lot like this in the mornings, as the sun rises, to soak up sunlight and warm themselves.


Video Example(s):


Ancient Wisdom

Jackie and Jade go on searching for the mystical Lotus Temple, guided by an eccentric monk who constantly annoys them with his "Ancient Wisdom" aphorisms.

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Main / ProverbialWisdom

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