a type of seated forward bend yoga position. Paschimottanasana is also spelled as Pascimottanasana. Paschimottanasana is a combination of three Sanskrit words i.e. pascima, uttana and asana where pascima means west or back part or dorsal, uttana means straight and extended and asana is posture and position. When practised it activates the psychic energy channel. The seated forward bend yoga is beneficial for all body parts and organs. This yoga pose is good for weight loss. Paschimottanasana targets hamstrings, calves and back. This asana gives the whole back of your body a good and beneficial stretch towards the spine.
Regular practice of Paschimottanasana makes a practitioner disease free and helps them to maintain ‘Brahmacharya’ in their life.
Paschimottanasama is mentioned in all mediaeval yoga texts. Siva Samhita describes this posture as one of the four important postures. This posture was earlier known by the name Ugrasana i.e. Stern pose.
The Hatha Tattva Kaumudi Yoga texts call it Pascimatana Bandga and Paschimottanasana. The text rates this posture as one of the best yoga poses. described in the 15th century Hatha Yoga Pradipika, chapter 1.
STEPS TO PERFORM
Sit with legs outstretched and closer but don’t touch legs together. Keep the hands on knees and then straight your torso to keep the spine erect. Then take a deep breath and expand the chest.
While exhaling, bend forward from the hips without making a curve of your spine. Then try to hold or catch your toes with the help of your thumb and fingers. If you are unable to reach the exact position then hold at furthermost of the possible leg part.
Now the next step is to inhale and keep the legs straight by the arms without giving any kind of pressure to your back. Echale, bend the elbows and slowly bring the torso down towards the legs. Then try to touch your knees with your forehead. If not possible do not pressurise yourself try as much as you can do. Breathe normally and hold the exposition as long as you can
Now, release the position and repeat the same.
YOGA POSES FOR GOOD SKIN
- This asana helps to improve the problem of indigestion.
- The neck vertebrae are stretched and toned.
- It is an important counter posture for any backward bending posture.
- Paschimottanasana stretches the hamstring muscles, calf muscles, pelvic and groin area.
- It helps to make hip joint more flexible
- Paschimottanasana activates Sushumna and it is an important exercise in Kundalini Yoga.
- According the yoga texts this posture gives Vayu SIddhi or Vital Air Control
- It helps to reduce belly fat and maintain weight.
- It relieves stress and anxiety.
- This asana is directly related to the spine. Therefore, paschimottanasana gives suitable stretches and tones to the spine and it is one of the best yoga poses for the health of the spinal cord as it is directly associated with the nerves.
- This asana gives a direct massage to the pelvic region which helps to relieve menopause and menstrual discomfort.
- Regular practice of this asana helps in reduction of obesity.
PASCHIMOTTANASANA SAFETY AND PRECAUTIONS
- Pregnant slides should not perform Paschimottanasana as the body is bent forward.
- Bending forward with a rounded low back may harm your lumbar disc.
- People with large bellies may perform Paschimottanasana with care.
- Keep your torso upright in a straight line.
- If you are suffering from sciatica pain, degenerated disc or groin injury should consult their physician.
- People with cardiac issues should avoid performing Paschimottanasana.
Frequently Asked Question (FAQs):-
1. What is Paschimottanasana?
A. It is also known as Seated Forward Bend Pose, is a yoga posture that involves bending forward from a seated position, with the legs straight and the torso folding over the thighs.
2. What are the benefits of practicing Paschimottanasana?
A. It helps stretch the entire back side of the body, including the spine, hamstrings, and calves. It also stimulates the abdominal organs, improves digestion, and calms the mind.
3. How do I perform Paschimottanasana correctly?
A. Sit on the floor with legs extended in front of you. Inhale and lengthen the spine, then exhale and fold forward from the hips, reaching for your feet or shins. Keep the spine long and avoid rounding the back excessively.
4. What if I can’t touch my toes in Paschimottanasana?
A. It’s okay if you can’t reach your toes initially. Focus on maintaining length in the spine and gradually work on increasing flexibility over time. You can use a strap around your feet or bend your knees slightly if needed.
5. Is Paschimottanasana suitable for beginners?
A. Yes, It can be modified to suit beginners by using props like blocks or practicing with bent knees. It’s important to listen to your body and not force the stretch beyond your current level of flexibility.
6. How long should I hold Paschimottanasana?
A. Hold the pose for about 30 seconds to 1 minute while breathing deeply and evenly. Over time, you can gradually increase the duration as your flexibility improves.
7. Can Paschimottanasana help with stress relief?
A. Yes, It is often recommended for stress relief as it promotes relaxation by calming the nervous system and quieting the mind.
8. Are there any contraindications for Paschimottanasana?
A. Avoid practicing Paschimottanasana if you have a recent or chronic back injury, hamstring injury, or if you’re pregnant. If you have any medical conditions, consult with a healthcare professional before attempting this pose.
9. How does Paschimottanasana benefit the digestive system?
A. It compresses the abdomen, which stimulates the digestive organs and can help improve digestion and alleviate constipation.
10. Can Paschimottanasana be practiced as part of a daily routine?
A. Yes, It can be incorporated into a daily yoga practice. It’s a gentle stretch that can be performed in the morning to awaken the body or in the evening to unwind and relax before bed.