Paschimottanasana

Paschimottanasana – The Seated Forward Bend 

Paschimottanasana

Paschimottanasana

Introduction

The back side of the body is stretched in this asana. Therefore, it is called Paschim-ottan-asana. There are many benefits of this posture, the main and most obvious one is to provide a complete stretch of the entire backside of the body from the back of the head through the heels. Immediately following this is the counter stretch, Dhanurasana.

Physical Benefits

  • Stretches and lengthens the entire spine
  • Massages the internal organs, especially the digestive organs
  • Relieves digestive problems such as constipation
  • It improves the function of liver and spleen.
  • It is very beneficial to those suffering from diabetes, pain in joints and to women who have ailments of the womb.
  • Stimulates manipura chakra (solar plexus center)
  • Balances the prana within the body
  • Mental Benefits
  • Calms the mind
  • Improves concentration
  • It helps get rid of the extra fat on abdomen and thighs.

 

Technique

  • Paschimottanasana begins by coming up to a seated position.
  • Sit up straight with your legs together, stretched out in front of you and your spine straight.
  • Inhale, and stretch your arms up over your head. Following the direction of your hands, at the same time lengthen the entire spine upwards.
  • Exhale and bend forward from the hips keeping your spine as elongated as possible and reaching towards your feet with your hands as you come down.
  • If you can reach your feet, the ideal hand position is to wrap your index fingers around the big toes, with the thumbs resting on tops of the big toes.
  • If you cannot reach your feet yet, let your hands fall comfortably on top of the shins or thighs, or alongside the legs on the floor, or wherever they can comfortably rest.
  • For this posture, try to avoid a lot of curvature in middle part of the spine. It is best to keep the back more straight, although not rigid, and bend from the hip area.
  • As you continue to hold the posture, relax as much as possible, especially in the shoulders and hips.
  • With each exhale let your breath do the work – ideally the abdomen should fall closer toward the thighs, the chest toward the knees and the head towards the feet.
  • Hold the asana for 30 seconds at first and work up to 5 minutes or more.
  • To come out of the seated forward bend, inhale and stretch your hands past your feet, come up with a flat back stretching your arms and spine up as your body comes up. Exhale and relax the arms down.

 

Contra-indications

  • Pregnant women should not practice Paschimottanasana.
  • Person suffering from slip disc or sciatica problem, asthma should avoid Paschimottanasana.
  • Ulcer patient should not practice.
  • In case of the painful and enlarged liver and/or spleen, or you have acute appendicitis, you should never do paschimottanasana until you remove the symptoms.

 

 

 

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