Paschimottanasana is a very effective stretching exercise for your body. It is very similar to Uttanasana, in which you’re doing the same thing but in a standing position. The name Paschimottanasana is a Sanskrit term, in which Paschima means west or the Backside of the body; Uttan means Intense Stretch; Asana means Pose. In English is known as Seated Forward Bend Pose, Intense Backstretch, or Back Stretching Pose. It’s pronounced as POSH-ee-moh-tan-AHS-anna.
Paschimottanasana is one of the basic yoga asanas that can be easily performed by beginners. In this yoga asana, you have to bend your body forward until it touches your toes. It gives a good stretch to the back muscles of your body from head to ankle.
Practicing this asana regularly will increase the function of your digestive system, respiratory system, and also improve sexual health. It also relaxes your body and mind, which helps to reduce stress, anxiety, depression, fatigue, etc.
It also purifies nadis (The energy channels) of your body and helps in activating Kundalini Energy.
- Chakki Chalanasan,
- Janu Sirasasana,
- Ardha Matsyendrasana
Benefits of Paschimottanasana
- It gives a good stretch to your back muscles, spine, shoulder, and hamstring.
- Provide strength to your back muscles.
- It calms your mind and helps to relieve stress and mild depression.
- Therapeutic for high blood pressure, sinusitis, infertility, and insomnia.
- This asana gives a gentle massage to your abdominal organs, which helps to improve the function of your digestive system.
- Improve the flexibility of the lumbar area, hips, and backside of your thighs and calves.
- It stretches all backside muscles of the body from head to ankle.
- It gives relief from the symptoms of menopause and menstrual discomfort.
- Help to reduce headaches, anxiety, and fatigue.
- It stimulates your kidney, liver, uterus, and ovaries.
- According to traditional texts, Paschimottanasana helps to reduce obesity, increases appetite, and cures many different kinds of diseases.
- Correct the alignment of your vertebral column.
- Purifies the nadis (the energy channel) and helps to activate Kundalini Shakti.
Steps of Paschimottanasana
- First, you have to sit on the floor or yoga mat comfortably and stretch out your legs in front of you.
- Keep your legs straight, your toes facing toward the ceiling.
- Now, Breathe in and raise your hands over the head.
- As you breathe out, bend your upper body forward from the hip joints until your fingertips touch the toes or wherever they reach without forcing.
- Breathe in. Then slightly lift your head and elongate your spine.
- Breathe out and move your navel towards your knee.
- Repeat this process at least 3-4 times and then place your head on your legs.
- Hold this position for at least 20-30 seconds.
- Now breathe in and slowly bring back your body up to the sitting position with your arms stretched out.
- Breathe out and bring your hands down.
Precaution and Tips
These following points of caution, you should know before you perform this asana.
- Keep 3-4 hours gap between your meal and practice.
- Perform each and every step gently and carefully. Don’t rush otherwise you may hurt yourself. So be careful.
- Don’t arch your spine or bend your knees when you’re trying to bring your head forward.
- Avoid this asana if you have chronic lower back pain, shoulder pain, or hip injuries.
- Pregnant women should consult with the doctor before performing this asana.
- If you’re suffering from Asthma or Diarrhea, then you must avoid this asana.
- First, consult with your doctor if you are going through any recent surgery or injuries.
- It will be best if you practice yoga under the guidance of an expert.