Gaining flexibility in your legs for the lotus position involves stretching muscles throughout your upper and lower legs. Prepare for the lotus position with yoga poses that stretch the same muscles that require flexibility for the lotus pose. Warm muscles are more elastic than cold muscles. Warm up your leg muscles with 10 minutes of low-intensity cardio exercise, such as walking, before working on flexibility poses and exercises. A qualified yoga instructor can help monitor your form and progress to ensure safety.
Sit with your legs straight out in front of you as you begin the bound angle pose to increase flexibility in your knees and ankles for the lotus position. Bend your knees, and pull both heels toward your pelvis. Press the soles of your feet together with your heels as close to your pelvis as possible. Hold your big toe or ankle on each foot, and keep the outer edges of your feet on the floor. Position your pelvis in a neutral alignment, and lengthen the front of your torso. Release the top of your thighs toward the floor, but do not force your knees down. Hold the pose for one to five minutes.
Practice the half lord of the fishes pose to build hip flexibility. Sit on the floor with your legs straightened forward. Bend your right knee up with the foot flat on the floor. Bend your left knee to the side with the outside of the leg on the floor. Slide your left foot under your right leg, and position it outside your right hip. Twist your torso to the right, and press your right hand against the floor behind you. Place your left triceps outside your right knee. Turn your head, and look over either shoulder. Lengthen your torso with each inhalation, and twist more with every exhalation. Hold the position for 30 to 60 seconds.
Perform janu sirsasana to increase flexibility in your hamstring, groin and spine. Sit on the floor with your legs straightened forward. Bend your right knee, and bring the heel toward your groin. Rest the sole of your right foot against your inner left thigh. If your right knee does not rest comfortably on the floor, support it with a folded blanket. Press your right hand against the right side of your groin, and press your left hand on the floor beside your hip. Turn your torso slightly to the left, and lift your chest as you push down on your inner right thigh. Align your navel with the center of your left thigh, and try reaching for your left foot with the opposite hand while lengthening your spine evenly.
Stretch the plantar fascia muscle, and perform calf raise exercises to build shin and feet flexibility. Sit on the floor with your knee pointing up, and heel against the floor. Grasp the top of your foot just beneath your big toe, and pull your foot toward your shin. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds. Then position the balls of your feet on an elevated surface with the arches and heels extending off the edge. Lift your heels as high as possible, then lower your heels until your calves stretch for each repetition. Perform three sets of 20 to 25 repetitions, while focusing on moving throughout a full range of motion.