The Lotus Position 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. 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 this sort of mindset even in ordinary situtations.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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!"
- In the eighth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Oz is reintroduced sitting like this, on the porch of a Buddhist monastery in Tibet.
- The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past: 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).
- In Superman storyline Crucible, Kon-El is seen meditating in Lotus position during his stay in a Tibetan monastery.
- In Thousand Shinji, Shinji often uses this position when he meditates.
- 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 1½, 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.
- Zootopia: The Yak at the Mystic Spring Oasis is first seen at the reception desk in this pose, humming the "ommm" mantra.
- 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.
- The introduction of Seraph in The Matrix Reloaded.
- 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 the Deptford Histories book Thomas, the Holy One (or sadhu) of the City of Hara sits in this position to meditate.
- 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.
- 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.
- Tara sits in this position when doing a location spell in "Bargaining".
- Doctor Who. "Listen" opens with the Doctor meditating on top of the TARDIS IN SPACE! He's protected by the TARDIS forcefield, of course.
- 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.
- 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:
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: An early episode opens with Bashir walking in on Jadzia Dax sitting in this position while doing an alien brain teaser involving a translucent floating ball. Given that Dax has the memories of a 350-year old despite her youthful beauty, it was probably meant to invoke the wise guru trope (at this stage her personality was still being hashed out by the writers).
- Star Trek: Voyager. The episode "Initiations" opens with Native-American officer Chakotay performing the pakra ritual on the floor of his shuttle. Good thing it's not a Levitating Lotus Position, because he's hit by a Screen Shake as his shuttle comes under attack.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Jade is introduced in this pose in Beyond Good & Evil.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Doctor Steel assumes this position (complete with saffron robes) in his short film, "The Singularity".
- 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.
- 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 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.
- 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.