A lot of intermediate and advanced postures seem inaccessible. A great example is Lotus. Once we can do Lotus there are loads of advanced postures that become available: Spider, Fish, Cock. Not to mention Lotus inversions like Headstand, Tiger and Handstand.
But how does one approach Lotus? It seems like one of those postures that you've either got it or you don't. And it is very easy to force yourself into Lotus before you're ready and injure your knees. There are several Lotus preparation postures in the Ghosh series. I will save those for another post. The most effective and safest Lotus prep posture is Tree Pose.
There are a few important aspects of Tree to focus on to improve your progress toward Lotus. Hopefully you balance is sufficient that you don't have to spend much energy to keep from falling over. When you put you foot on your upper thigh (in Half Lotus Tree), bring it as high as you comfortably can. Then, as you use your leg muscles to push your bent leg down and back don't let your foot slip down your thigh at all! It is very important to create a stretch on your inner hip and leg. It will feel cranky and tight in your hip and inner thigh, so go to a point that is stretching but not painful. Stay here and let your body open. Keep your hips even and your back upright.
As you progress with this, pull your foot up higher on your thigh as you set up the pose. This will increase the rotation in your hip and the stretch on your inner leg. Then start to pull your foot closer to your midline, heel closer to your belly button. Again, when your leg pushes down and back, don't let your foot slip down! It will want to but you have to pull up on it with your hand to prevent it from moving.
Eventually your foot should be in the crease between your leg and pelvis, so when you bend into Toe Stand or Short Man your foot and bent leg don't move at all.
Practice Tree pose a lot. Do several sets, not just the one or two that are common in Bikram's class. I usually do 5 sets of Tree before moving on. This way your hip rotation will open and the Lotus will become available. And once you can do the Lotus, many advanced postures become accessible.
This journal honors my ongoing experience with the practice, study and teaching of yoga.
1) Sridaiva Yoga: Good Intention But Imbalanced
2) Understanding Chair Posture
2) Why I Don't Use Sanskrit or Say Namaste
3) The Meaningless Drudgery of Physical Yoga
5) Beyond Bikram: Why This Is a Great Time For Ghosh Yoga