Papa had a desire to see me folded and teach how to do Paschimottanasana aka seated forward fold. But I used to yell because of a mysterious pain on the back of the knees while making an effort to touch them by the tips of my forehead. Then merely 5 yrs. old, I was not aware of the benefits Paschimottanasana can offer. Like any other yoga posture, it was fun to fold into various shapes and sizes.
Now I forgot completely how my father enabled me to perfect the pose. I can never be half as good as him but promise to do my best to teach you “how to do Paschimottanasana”.
Explore Your Today’s Yoga Pose – Learn How to Do The Paschimottanasana
- Paschim means Back or west.
- Uttana stands for a stretch that is intense.
- Asana is a Sanskrit word for a pose or posture.
Seated forward bend or the Paschimottanasana is one of the most accomplished yoga poses along with the Vajrasana (diamond pose) and the Siddhasana (lotus pose). This Basic Hatha Yoga Posture enables the whole body stretch ranging from head to heal and calves to hamstrings along with the spine.
Further, Paschimottanasana stimulates the Solar Plexus Chakra and improves the energy and confidence.
Must-Know Things Before You Do the Seated Forward Bend
This pose should be done on an empty stomach like any other yoga pose. Morning is the best time for your practice. However, it can also be performed in the evening. Just remember to wait for three to four hours after a full meal.
Style: Hatha Yoga
Duration: 30 – 60 seconds
Stretches: Vertebral column, Shoulders, Hamstrings
Strengthens: Back, Spine, Pelvis, Uterus and digestive organs
Let’s Get into the Paschimottanasana
- Sit on your yoga mat with legs spread in front of you and toes pointing towards the ceiling.
- Keep both feet together and upper body straight.
- With an Inhale raise your hands.
- While exhaling, bring everything down- the hands and the upper body.
- Remember not to curve your back and exert the uterus.
- That said, folding should be from the crease of your hips joint not your back.
- Try (not hard) to grab the outer edge of your legs with the hands.
- You can use a yoga prop beneath your knees or one to support the head.
What are the Precautions and Contradictions?
Here are a few precautions you must keep in mind before you do this asana. As my experience says, if you’re suffering from cervical spondylitis or a back injury, avoid any forward bend. At one side, these poses work fine to keep your back and neck healthy, yet should be avoided when already in pain and discomfort in those parts.
Also, avoid if you have asthma or diarrhea. Pregnant women must avoid practicing this asana after the first trimester.
Tips for beginners For A Perfect Paschimottanasana
Basic Rules for Paschimottanasana are not different than any other one on the row. Only try to stick with these few ones:
- As a beginner, you must remember never to push yourself too far if you are not comfortable in a forward bend.
- Inhale when you’re open.
- Exhale to fold.
- Avoid bulging your back.
- Tilting of the leg is not something yogis love when doing Paschimottanasana.
- Stay in the pose without hurting your neck or back.
- Let the prana (breath) flow effortlessly.
- Your tight hamstrings might make it difficult for you to bend too much, it’s alright. With practice, your body will become far more flexible.
- For maximum benefits, practice for 3- 5 minutes every day.
Advanced Version of the Paschimottanasana
With regular practice, you may reach a level when this pose namely Paschimottanasana no more excites you. Now is the time to think about something more challenging. Try to extend your arms and core one steps deeper and farther. Grasp both the hands around the soles. Then after a few more sessions, try to grab the wrists around the sole.
Health Benefits From Paschimottanasana
Here are some of the amazing health benefits of the Paschimottanasana.
- This asana calms the mind and helps in stress management and mild depression.
- Massages and stretches the core, shoulders, spine, and hamstrings.
- The kidneys, liver, uterus, and ovaries are activated.
- Regular practice of seated forward bend activates your internal organs and improve the digestive system.
- Symptoms such as Menopause and PMS can be alleviated with this asana.
- Paschimottanasana also helps in High blood pressure, Insomnia.
- Paschimottanasana is very effective to increase appetite, and reduce obesity.
Science of Paschimottanasana –The Pose Anatomy
Seated forward bend is an excellent way to stretch the back-body, from head to ankles. Contracted frontal muscles, resulting from the backstretch exert pressure on the whole abdomen area. Resulting in a better respiratory system and activating intra-abdominal glands. Which further increases the secretion of digestive juices and leaving a better digestive system.
A more flexible lumbar region makes hips joints supple. Improved blood circulation in the back and spinal cord tones and rejuvenates the brain and body. This posture is also one of the best yoga poses to help fight with obesity, by shredding fat from hips, thighs, and abdomen along with toning the middle body.
Paschimottanasana also plays an important role in chakra balancing and healing.
Matsyendrasana- Fish Pose
Winding Up- The Paschimottanasana
Thanks for reaching with me up to here. I hope you learned well how to do Paschimottanasana. So what next? As you already know that Yoga is not all about folding and crunching your body. It is about realizing – what today’s practice manifested? Your determination or a dream. Where do you want to be? What would you do when you are there? Now onwards, you may repeat this pose in your every yogic session with a different feel and approach. Then realizing after a few days or months or maybe years, why touching your knees with the tips of the forehead is important and why does it now go without any pain or discomfort.
Please share if you liked these minor tips and tricks and how to do Paschimottanasana and its health benefits. I love all the comments you leave!