From an acupuncture perspective lotus pose (Padmasana) is one of the best poses for the mind and the body. Add in a reverse prayer (Pashchima Namaskarasana) and you start building in arm, tendon and shoulder repair also. Lets start from the beginning:
1) Lessen Stagnation: Folding your legs up and on top of each other stretches out the muscles, but it also stretches out the acupuncture channels on the legs. These specific channels pertain to digestive organs. The stomach, spleen, liver, gall bladder, kidney and urinary bladder all have meridians that run up and down the legs. This weaving of the legs is a massage to the channels that regulate and nourish those organs providing stimulation and improved digestive function.
I like to tell my acupuncture clients to hold an acupressure point on the spleen meridian about three finger widths above the inside of the base of the big toe for a minute or two when they first enter this pose. This pressure point is all about relieving anything that has become stuck or stagnant in the body, it is called Spleen4.
2) Digestion, Thyroid & Emotions: Rolling the shoulders back to open the chest releases tension and opens the sternum, ribs and throat creating more space for breath. The acupuncture channel that runs down the center of your chest is called the “Ren” channel and on the chest it controls emotional release, thyroid regulation (for metabolism and energy levels) and acid reflux. Open your chest and see if it makes a difference.
3) Wrist & Shoulder Health: Rolling your shoulders back further and slowly pressing your hands into prayer behind your back will strengthen the tendons in your wrists to discourage carpal tunnel and tendonitis. There are a whole bunch of acupuncture points on the wrists that will be triggered by this extension. This movement also massages and loosens the muscles under and around your shoulder blades triggering acu-points, which lends toward less shoulder and neck pain.
4) Stress Relief: Sitting still is a feat, but attempting it can be just as healing as finding and maintaining it. A peaceful mind lends to a peaceful body and vice versa. If your mind and body are still, then your entire system will feel less stress and therefore will be able to heal faster and prevent more dis-ease within the body. If you can’t seem to sit still just yet, don’t worry. Simply stopping and trying provides your body with enough relief to at least initiate this entire healing process.
Pictured in reverse "heart-shaped" prayer is Gigi Yogini