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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. Even if in the context (different world, time period, dimension, etc.), said character would have absolutely no contact with yoga or Eastern meditation techniques.
The real-life purpose of the Lotus Position is to be uncomfortable enough to stop sleep, but not meditation. See also the Useful Note.
- 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 Sazan Eyes manga, Yakumo Fujii uses this posture to contact the Sanjiyan through telepathy.
- In Ranma One Half, 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).
- 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.
- Sonic the Hedgehog: 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 the eighth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Oz is reintroduced sitting like this, on the porch of a Buddhist monastery in Tibet.
- In The Girl Who Lived, Rose does this a lot as a part of her "Druidess" training. Let's leave it at that...
Films -- Animation
- Rafiki the mandrill, from The Lion King.
Films -- Live-Action
- The introduction of Seraph in The Matrix Reloaded.
- 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 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.
- Stargate: 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 found in the Stargate Verse:
- 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 disease and other ailment 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 Hive Mind. 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.
- Kwai Chang Caine of Kung Fu, regularly. Sometimes barechested.
- And Kwai Chang Caine the second in Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, naturally.
- In Threes 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?)
- 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".
Myths & Religion
- In the 2nd Edition Dungeons and Dragons supplement "The Complete Psionics Handbook", the symbol for the Metapsionics discipline is a character in the Lotus Position.
- Yoshimitsu of Soul Calibur heal himself by sitting in the Lotus Position.
- Poo from Earthbound does this during his Mu training.
- Jade is introduced in this pose in Beyond Good and Evil.
- The Arilou in Star Control II are depicted sitting in a Lotus Position.
- Your character in single player Jedi Academy uses this while regaining health.
- 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.
- Shy-Ann from Julias Time Adventures meditates in this position.
- Samara in Mass Effect 2.
- Justin has been seen sitting like this in El Goonish Shive. Sarah tries to imitate him and fails.
- Jacqui of Wapsi Square is seen in this position when teaching a meditation class.
- Doctor Steel assumes this position (complete with saffron robes) in his short film, "The Singularity".
- 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.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender has several people sitting lotus. Oddly enough, despite all the air and waterbending abilities -- nobody actually floats.
- Used by Junko in Storm Hawks, as he recalled his attempt at meditating.
- Lucky does this in the first episode of the 2010 Pound Puppies.
- 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.