Paschimottasana or seated forward bend stretches the whole body from back muscles to heels. It is made up of two Sanskrit words ‘paschim’ which means ‘west’ or ‘back’ and ‘uttana’ means ‘stretch’ or ‘extended’. This asana is a member of hatha yoga and stretches almost all back muscles. Here we will discuss this asana and its features in detail.
How to do Paschimottasana?
- Get into sitting position while stretching legs in front of you and place your hands on the thighs.
- Lift your hands up in the air while palms facing forward and bend your torso in forward direction as much as possible.
- Do the forward bend until your hands touches the lower legs and with regular practice you will be able to touch your toes.
- Grab your toes with your fingers and bend your head too to touch the legs.
- You may find it a bit difficult in the beginning as your hands reaches up to the ankles. In that case, just hold the ankles and don’t try to strain your back. This will become easier with regular practice.
- Hold the forward bend pose for 30 seconds and then release your body to get into normal sitting position.
- This pose can be performed prior or after any backbend as a counter stretch.
- People suffering from Asthma, Slip disc or sciatica should avoid this pose.
- Persons having ulcer problem must not do this exercise.
- Pregnant women should avoid this pose as it puts pressure on the belly.
• Stress buster
This seated forward bend is a perfect solution for physical stress built up in the body as it engages almost all muscles in the body. This asana helps in reducing anxiety, anger and irritability.
• Tones up muscles
This asana helps in toning up the abdominal muscles like stomach, liver, kidneys and pancreas as this forward bend helps in building pressure at the core.
• Improves reproductive system
This pose is very beneficial for female reproductive system as this asana tones the pelvic region and loosens up the hip joint. It also rectifies any irregularities in menstrual cycle and removes back pain. Regular practice of this exercise helps in curing impotency and enhances the sexuality.
• Awakens Manipuraka chakra
It activates the Swadhishtana and the Manipuraka chakra, the spiritual centers located in the abdominal plexus which helps in improving vitality of the practitioner.
• Reduces fat
This pose helps in reducing the stubborn belly fat and thus gives you flat abs and makes the body streamlined. The body loses reasonable weight after getting rid of the fat deposits. This exercise is recommended for women after delivery to reduces fat which gets deposited during pregnancy.
• Increases flexibility
Regular practice of this exercise makes the body flexible and stress free. It removes the stiffness in the body and lubricates the joints.
• Increases height
This seated forward bend stretches hands, legs and spine which help in rectifying the posture and revealing the hidden height. It helps in proper growth of the body when practiced in teenage.
• Improves digestion
Since this asana mainly targets the abdominal muscles therefore it improves the digestion and cures the digestion related disorders like constipation, bloating, gas etc.
• Single leg pose
Sit on the floor with legs stretched in front of the body. Bend one leg in such a way that its foot touches the inner thigh of the other stretched leg. Hold this position for 30 seconds.
• Rear leg back
Sit on the floor and stretch your legs in front of you. Bend one leg in such a way that its foot comes in contact with its respective hip. Move your torso forward and hold the foot of stretched leg with both hands and hold this position for 30 seconds.