‚ÄćWhat is Paschimottasana?

¬†Paschimottasana pose gets its name from the Sanskrit terms ‚Äėpaschima‚Äô meaning west, ‚Äėuttana‚Äô meaning an extended stretch, and ‚Äėasana‚Äô meaning posture. This is an intense seated forward bending asana that gives your body an intense stretch. Paschimottasana yoga asana finds its mention in the 15th-century yoga scriptures.

Before we talk about the benefits of Paschimottasana and how is it done, it is important to get some more Paschimottasana information to understand this pose better. 

Paschimottasana yoga pose works on the following muscles:

  • Lower and upper back
  • Core
  • Hamstrings
  • Hips
  • Neck
  • Gluteus

Who can do Paschimottasana?

Paschimottasana yoga pose, when learned correctly, can be easily done by a variety of people. These include:

  • Seniors
  • Children
  • People who suffer from spinal problems can do Paschimottasana pose.
  • Those who want to improve their posture.
  • People who want to improve their digestion.
  • Those who want to relieve stress.
  • Those who want to lose weight.
  • Those who want to improve their sleep patterns.

Who should avoid Paschimottasana?

To avoid injuries and possible health risks, it is essential to have Paschimottasana information about who should avoid doing this asana. People with the following health conditions should void practising Paschimottasana yoga pose:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Slipped disc
  • Pregnant women
  • Asthma
  • Abdominal ulcers
  • Injuries in the back
  • Sciatica

How is Paschimottasana performed?

To gain the benefits of this asana, it is important perfect the pose and its steps. Here is the step-by-step explanation of the Paschimottasana yoga asana:

  1. Sit on the ground with your legs stretched in front of you.
  2. Keep your toes flexed towards yourself and your spine erect. 
  3. Inhale and raise both arms above your head and stretch them as much as you can.
  4. Exhale deeply and bend forward slowly from your hip joints. 
  5. Move your chin towards the toes while keeping your spine straight.
  6. Place your hands on your legs till wherever you can stretch them.
  7. If one can, they should hold their toes and pull them towards themselves.
  8. Inhale deeply and lift your head slightly while lengthening your spine.
  9. Exhale and move your navel towards the knees.
  10. Hold this pose for 30-60 seconds.
  11. Breathe in and return to the starting position.

What are some variations of Paschimottasana?

There are several variations of Paschimottasana that help you make your practice more challenging. Here are some of the best variations that you can try:

  1. Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottasana: Also known as Ardha Paschimottasana, this is also an intense stretching pose that works on your quadriceps, hamstrings, spine, and neck. This pose combines the names of two yoga asanas- Ardha Baddha Padmasana and Paschimottasana. Here is how to do Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottasana:
  • Sit in the Dandasana pose with your legs stretched in front.
  • Bend your left knee and place your left foot over the upper portion of the right thigh. Make sure that your left knee touches the ground.
  • Pull your left hand back and wrap it around your waist area.
  • Hold your left foot with the left hand.
  • Inhale deeply and relax your shoulders.
  • Exhale and bend forward using your right hand towards your right leg.
  • Touch your chin on the right shin.¬†
  • Keep your gaze ahead.
  • Hold the pose for a few seconds.
  • Exhale and return to the starting position of Ardha Paschimottasana.
  1. Urdhva Mukha Paschimottasana: Also known as the Upward Facing Stretch Pose, Urdhva Mukha Paschimottasana means elevated face and body stretch. This is not a variation of Paschimottasana for beginners and needs some level of conditioning and flexibility. Here is how you can do this pose:
  • Sit in Dandasana so that your legs are stretched in front.¬†
  • Lay down on the yoga mat, inhale and raise your arms overhead.
  • Exhale and raise your legs off the floor.
  • Gently raise your hips and take your hands towards the feet while balancing your body on your sit bones.
  • Keep breathing in deeply while keeping your spine straight and bringing your torso closer to your legs.
  • Bring your forehead closer to your knees and gaze upwards.
  • Hold this pose for 30-40 seconds.
  • Inhale deeply and come back to the starting position.¬†

Why should you do Paschimottasana?

Here is a roundup of some of the most important Paschimottasana benefits:

  • It is an excellent pose of yoga for strength and flexibility in your spine. This helps you get a good posture and prevents stiffness and pains in the lower back.
  • People who have tight hamstrings suffer from a hunched posture and experience extra pressure on the hip and knee joints. Paschimottasana yoga benefits such conditions and helps you maintain a good range of motion in your legs.
  • One of the most important Paschimottasana benefits is for people who suffer from diabetes. This asana massages your pancreas and stimulates your endocrine gland to release insulin, thereby helping in the prevention and management of diabetes.
  • Paschimottasana yoga benefits people who suffer from digestive issues by massaging the digestive organs.
  • One of the best uses of Paschimottasana is for people who experience chronic stress and anxiety. It helps relieve these issues and prepares your mind for meditation.
  • An important Paschimottasana benefit is that it helps you lose weight.
  • One of the best uses of Paschimottasana is for people who can‚Äôt sleep properly. By improving your circulation and helping you relax, it helps cure insomnia.
  • An important Paschimottasana benefit is that it helps relieve menstrual discomfort by stimulating your pelvic region.¬†

How to do Paschimottasana safely?

Here are some things to keep in mind to do Paschimottasana safely:

  • Paschimottasana yoga stretches for beginners require flexibility and conditioning. You can do this by practising Dandasana, Balasana, or Uttanasana.
  • Never start doing this asana on your own. Learn it from a trainer or join online yoga classes.¬†
  • An important tip for Paschimottasana for beginners is that you should never overstretch yourself. This is essential to prevent injuries and strains.¬†

Takeaway

While the Paschimottasana yoga pose is immensely beneficial, you should keep yourself engaged and motivated to follow this up with more challenging poses. This will help you in giving your workout more stimulus and gaining your fitness objectives better. 

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Posted 
February 9, 2022
 in 
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