Yoga Asana – Paschimottanasana (Intense Stretch of the west Pose) in Sanskrit “Paschima” means “west” which refers to the “Back side of the body” and “Uttana” means “Intense stretch or extended” and means “pose”.
In English meaning is “Intense back stretch or Back Stretching Pose”.
Position : Sitting
Type : Seated forward bend
Spiritual Awareness : Manipura chakra
Physical Awareness : Back, hamstrings, chest, abdomen, shoulders. Pressure on the thorax and abdomen.
Dosha Suitability : Vata and Pita can also benefit
Introducery Asanas : Chakki Chalanasan, Janu Sirasasana, Uttanasana, Balasana
Yoga Asana Procedure:
- Sit in Dandasana making sure both sitting bones are evenly placed on the floor. Inhale and lift your arms from the side of your body, stretching them up to either side of your head.
- Keeping the front of the torso long, widening your chest, exhale and lean forward from the hip joints, not the waist, try to grasp the big toes with your index finger and thumb, elbows fully extended. If this is not possible, then hold the heels, ankles or any part of the leg that can be reached comfortably keeping the spine straight. (You may loop a strap around the foot soles, and hold the strap firmly.)
- Keeping your legs straight, your head raised inhale up further lengthening the front torso into the pose, exhale, and try to gently bring the lower belly to touch the legs, then the upper belly, then the ribs, and lastly the head.
- With each inhalation, lift and lengthen the front torso just slightly; with each exhalation release a little more fully into the forward bend. In this way the torso oscillates and lengthens almost impereceptibly with the breath. Eventually you may be able to stretch the arms out feet on the floor.
- Stay in the pose anywhere from 30 seconds to 3 minutes. To come up, straighten the arms next to your ears, inhale and lifting the torso up, returning to Dandasana. Exhale and lower your arms to your sides.
Followup Asanas: Ardha Matsyendrasana.
Spotlight effects: Back, hamstrings, abdomen, shoulders.
- Stretches the muscles of the back side of the body from head to ankle.
- Stretches the spine, shoulders, hamstrings.
- Stimulates the liver, kidneys, ovaries, and uterus.
- Contracts the muscles of the anterior part of the body.
- Improves functions of intra-abdominal glands.
- Improves respiratory process.
- Improves flexibility of lumbar area, hips, and back side of thighs and calves.
- Tones the spinal nerves and improves blood circulation in the back.
- Improves alignment of vertebral column.
- Removes fat from hips, abdomen, and thigh.
- Activates Kundalini Shakti and nadis are also purified.
- Calms the brain and helps to relieve stress and mild depression.
- Improves digestion.
- Helps with sluggish liver.
- Helps to relieve the symptoms of menopause and menstrual discomfort.
- Soothes headache and anxiety and reduces fatigue.
- Therapeutic for high blood pressure, infertility, insomnia, and sinusitis.
- Also helps with diabetes, colitis, and kidney problems.
- Traditional texts say that Paschimottanasana increases appetite, reduces obesity, and cures all diseases.
Precautions and Contraindications:
- Do not bend the knees or arch the spine while trying to bring the forehead forward.
- Slipped disk.
- Any recent abdominal surgery.
- In case of back injury or sciatica, perform this pose only under the supervision of an experienced teacher.