Exercise & Fitness

Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Lotus Pose

yoga lotus pose dr weil

"The Lotus Pose provides the opportunity to relax and focus on the mind-body connection. Ultimately, one may come to see that divisions between body, mind and spirit are illusions. - Andrew Weil, M.D.

Description & History
Lotus Pose is one of the most easily recognized yoga poses. Legs crossed and hands resting on knees with thumb and index finger forming a circle, it is a popular pose to perform. The Lotus Pose, known in Sanskrit as Padmasana, comes from padma meaning lotus and asana meaning posture. The pose is often used as a resting pose to calm the mind and body as well as focus on controlled breathing. It also stretches the muscles of the hips and back.

How to Perform Lotus Pose

  • Begin by sitting on the floor with your legs out in front of you.
  • Exhale and bring your right foot in toward your body, placing it on your left thigh. Do the same with your left foot by sliding it under your right leg and placing it on your right thigh.
  • Place your hands on your knees with palms facing up. Relax your hands and touch together the tips of your index finger and thumb to create circle.
  • Press your sitting bones into the floor and reach the top of your head to the sky. Slow your breathing and focus on relaxing your mind.
  • Stay in this pose for 30 seconds to one minute. Come out of the pose and repeat with the other side. 

Potential Health Benefits

  • Stretches and opens the hips and groin
  • Provides breathing and meditation benefits for relaxation
  • Stimulates abdominal organs
  • Eases menstrual discomfort
  • May ease childbirth in pregnancy

The Lotus Pose is considered a meditative pose and is often used for relaxation. Researchers included the Lotus Pose in a study with other yoga poses to examine the health effects on sleep quality and quality of life in elderly people. The study was published in the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine and showed practicing yoga poses, including the Lotus Pose, can improve both sleep quality and quality of life.

Modifications & Variations
Beginners trying the Lotus Pose may find it difficult to sit with both feet on top of the thighs. There are two modified versions of the Lotus Pose you can perform to still experience some of the benefits it provides. One modification is to perform the Half Lotus Pose (Ardha Padmasana) where one foot is on top of the opposite thigh while the other is under the other thigh. Switching to the other leg provides stretching benefits for both legs without going into the full Lotus Pose. A second modification is to perform the Easy Pose by sitting cross-legged with hands on the knees and palms facing up. Relax your hands and form a circle with your index finger and thumb. While a different pose, it provides similar breathing and meditative benefits.

For advanced practitioners, go into the Lotus Pose and lift your chest while extending your neck and head toward the ceiling. Slowly lean back from your hips until your head touches the floor. Swing your arms over your head and rest them on the floor. Hold this pose for 30 seconds to one minute. Once you are ready, bring your torso up by starting with your chest, keeping the head back.

If you experience pain in your hips, knees, or ankles, follow one of the modified versions of the Lotus Pose in the prior section or avoid the pose altogether.

Related Poses

Reviewed by: James Nicolai, M.D., on August 20th, 2013.


Bankar, Mangesh A., Sarika K. Chaudhari, and Kiran D. Chaudhari. "Impact of long term Yoga practice on sleep quality and quality of life in the elderly." Journal of Ayurveda and integrative medicine 4, no. 1 (2013): 28.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being in just eight weeks! Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe Wellness Guide
Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Food Pyramid

Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you and their corresponding answers from Dr. Weil.

Copyright © 2015 Weil Lifestyle
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here