Paschimottanasana!!! If we break the word into smaller words then they will be Paschim, Uttana and Asana.
paschim : “west, back, back of body”
uttana: “intense stretch, straight, extended”
āsana: “posture, pose”
Thus the asana is also called Back Stretching Pose.
Paschimottanasana – this Yoga Posture is one of the 15 positions mentioned in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, an ancient and important yoga text.
How to do the pose?
- Sit on the mat with legs stretched out in front of the body.
- Sit erect and place your hands on the knees.
- While inhaling Raise your arms up keeping spine stretched. Keep your head in between straight.
- While exhaling and keeping your spine stretched move down and try to hold your big toes.
- No hunch or curve. Check at this point, if back is curve here, stretch it.
- Move down more and place your forehead on your knees.
- Stay there for sometime according to your capacity.
- To come back, release your big toes, inhale, keeping back stretched raise arms above head.
- Now bring hands back on the knees.
No Hurry! Beginner’s Tip
- Do some warm up to loosen your muscles specially spine and leg muscles. So that Paschimottanasana can be practised.
- Keep your knees straight all the time. No bending of knees.
- Keep your back stretched. No curve or hunch.
- Following these if you cannot reach to the final position, that ok! Stay in the position, don’t come down much and hold calfs or ankles.
- Continuous practise of yoga will automatically lead you to the final position.
Chakra: Manipura or solar plexus
Paschimottanasana activates the manipura chakra or the solar plexus. Manipura chakra is the place of energy, will power, confidence, dynamism and more. Activated Manipura chakra gives right decision making power, clarity and strength. It improves the digestive fire and balances it. In other words, activated and balanced solar plexus is helpful in mandagni, digestion related problem and metabolism.
Health Benefits Of Paschimottanasana
- Whole gets a nice stretch from arms, spine to legs.
- Improves digestion by enhancing the digestive fire.
- Helpful for organs like, pancreases, uterus, kidney, liver, intestines and other abdominal organs.
- Reduces belly fat which is quite challenging to reduce.
- Regulates adrenal gland. Adrenal is located on the top of kidneys and responsible for blood pressure, metabolism, sugar level and reaction to stress. Seated Forward Bend or Paschimottanasana regulates the gland and its function.
- Releases tension from the back muscles and leg muscles as it stretches the whole body.
- Improves blood flow in pelvic region.
- In addition, Reproductive organs gets toned up and helpful in curing sexual disorders.
- Good for nervous system and calms mind.
If you are having any back problem then do it under the guidance of yoga teacher only.
In case of pregnancy too, take advice from the doctor and yoga instructor. Do under proper guidance within the limits only.
Do the asana empty stomach.
Avoid in case of asthma or do not stay in final position if not comfortable.