Take special precautions while doing any asana. If you are learning yoga, then take the advice of a knowledgeable person. Do not put any kind of force in the event of pain or unable to do so. Keep in mind that you will be able to succeed only with constant practice.
Brief Introduction Of The Paschimottanasana
- The Paschimottanasana is a popular asana that is performed while you are in a seated position. This asana is also otherwise called as intense dorsal stretch or the seated forward bend. Paschimottanasana has been popular in modern and hatha yoga for years.
- The literal translation of this asana is “the back of the body” or “west” according to Sanskrit. Although the Paschimottanasana has a few variations that have evolved over a period of time we look at the steps that make it easy for the common man.
- If you do not have a body that is flexible you may find it difficult to practice this asana. Therefore, it may be a good idea to be patient until you are able to perfect it with lots of practice. Preparatory positions for this asana would help you achieve perfection with time.
How To Do The Paschimottanasana?
- If practiced right the Paschimottanasana is capable of providing you with supreme mental health along with physical well-being. Apart from the two mentioned above, you also have other health benefits that come along with practicing this asana on a regular basis.
- This asana has gained its popularity due to its effectiveness on the human body and mind. In general yoga asanas can help you with better physical well-being and mental wellness too. Remember to practice this asana only on a flat surface.
- You can choose to use a folded fabric, yoga mat, or any type of mat that you are comfortable with since it is a seated asana. So, here are the steps you can follow to do the Paschimottanasana right.
- For the Paschimottanasana you might ideally want to begin by sitting in Dandasana or the staff pose which makes it easier for you as a beginner. With the staff pose or Dandasana you ideally have your legs stretched right in front of you in a straight line.
- Now, you point your arms towards the sky (if practicing outdoors) or the ceiling (if practicing indoors) and up over your head. Make sure your arms are straight and not bent.
- You can now proceed to bring your spine up in a straight line or in an erect position while you inhale deeply. This is easier for most people who know even a little bit about yoga asanas.
- Now, you should begin to exhale while your body moves forward while your hips are hinged to an extent.
- While exhaling you should try to lengthen your spine more with each time. Some people might bend a little while doing this. It is important that your spine stretches to the maximum level that you are comfortable with.
- You would have to deepen your move forward with each time of exhaling. This would mean that you keep doing this until your belly begins to touch your thighs.
- While doing this you should avoid the nose touching your knees. If you are able to do this you would be able to extend your spine to the maximum possible length by you. You may not want to meddle too much with the neck at all. This is done to ensure that your neck becomes an extension of your spine rather than a standalone part of the back.
- After attaining the full extension that is possible with your spine you can choose to have your spine round forward.
- Now, you can choose to reach forward and try and get a hold of your shins, ankles, or even your toes. This is done with your legs remaining straight at all times.
- You can choose to stay in the final pose of the Paschimottanasana for anywhere between 1 – 3 minutes depending on your comfort levels. To release you can choose to slowly and steadily release and inhale by coming back to the normal Dandasana pose and relax.
When you are following the steps from 1 – 10 in the appropriate manner you are likely to end up with the right pose with practice. This is when you begin to enjoy the benefits that come along with practicing Paschimottanasana.
Benefits Of The Paschimottanasana
There are many benefits that are associated with doing the Paschimottanasana and here is the best of them. Take time to perfect this asana as your body might not be as flexible when you begin practicing yoga asana and that is why you use your preparatory poses.
- The Paschimottanasana is a pose that would end up helping you to calm your nerves as it works with the central nervous system. It helps you to improve your mood and also get rid of stress.
- Athletes and runners can benefit a great deal from this pose as it helps relax their hamstrings.
- Your hips and the pelvic region begin to open up better providing you greater flexibility.
- The pelvic organs in your abdomen are massaged to provide you with better digestion and metabolism.
- The shoulders, lower back, and hips are relaxed when you practice this asana on a regular basis.
Precautions To Be Taken While Doing The Paschimottanasana
Like all yoga asanas the Paschimottanasana too has a few precautions that you should be aware of. Without knowing these precautions there is a greater chance of injury and you aggravating a pre-existing condition in your body.
- To avoid stress at your joints while practicing the Paschimottanasana you should ensure that your knees are straight and in alignment with each other.
- People with shoulder, hips, arms, and ankle injuries should avoid doing this asana as it might end up aggravating the injury or condition.
- Avoid doing this asana with your stomach full as it might cause you general discomfort. This is due to the compression that takes place in your abdomen.
- Never practice advanced variations of the Paschimottanasana without the help of a yoga instructor or a teacher.
- You can choose to use a strap that is placed around your feet as it can help keep it straight.
- Consult your general physician if you have any underlying health conditions or injury.
- This would ensure that you are able to practice the Paschimottanasana without any risks.
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