Paschimottanasana is known as पश्चिमोत्तानासन or the Seated Forward Bend pose is a forward bend asana. There are various paschimottanasana benefits like offer a considerable amount of flexibility in the back, abdomen, and legs which is why it is not considered to be one of the best yoga poses for beginners. However, this does not mean that yoga beginners cannot do this pose; if you are flexible enough to do Paschimottanasana, you can include it in your routine.
Paschimottanasana is also known as the Intense Dorsal Stretch pose as it engages the dorsal muscles of the back. The dorsal muscle is the largest muscle on the back and is located below the shoulder blades. Paschimottanasana helps to ease and prevent back pain by increasing the flexibility of this muscle which is why it is one of the most commonly recommended yoga postures as it strengthens the back and improves posture.
How to do Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend Pose)
- Sit in an upright position with your legs stretched out straight in front of you. Keep the soles of your feet straight with your toes pointed towards the ceiling.
- Inhale and slowly raise your arms over your head with your palms facing forward. Keep your back straight as you stretch and take a deep breath.
- Exhale and slowly bend forward keeping your back straight. Your spine, neck, and your arms should be aligned.
- Stretch out your arms and let them reach the furthest they can along your legs. Depending on your flexibility, you can either wrap your palms around the soles of your feet or hold your big toes gently. Your elbows should touch the floor.
- Complete your forward fold until your forehead is nestled against your shins (1).
- Stay in this position for 5-10 seconds or longer if possible.
- Repeat this few times.
- Breathing in, with the strength of your arms, come back up to the sitting position.
- Breathe out and lower the arms.
Paschimottanasana benefits (Seated Forward Bend Pose, पश्चिमोत्तानासन)
- Calms the mind and also relieves mild depression and stress
- Shoulders, spine, and hamstrings (2) get a good stretch
- Helps improve digestion
- Kidneys, liver, uterus, and ovaries are activated
- Helps to combat Menopause and menstrual discomfort
- Reduces Anxiety, headaches, and fatigue
- Cure High blood pressure, insomnia, infertility, and sinusitis
- Increase appetite, and reduce obesity
- Works well for women after they have delivered a child
Contraindication and precautions for Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend Pose)
These are a few points of caution you must keep in mind before you do this asana.
- Avoid if you have asthma or diarrhea.
- In case you have a back injury, you must make sure to practice this asana only under the guidance of a certified yoga instructor.
- Pregnant women must avoid practicing this asana.