Paschimottanasana takes its name from Sanskrit where “Paschim” means “Back” and “Uttana” means “Stretch” and “Asana” is called pose and hence the name Back Stretching Pose.
Paschimottanasana stretches not just the back but all the muscles of the body. It stimulates all the organs in the body and is particularly very beneficial for people with High blood pressure and Diabetes.
Paschimottanasana is also named as Seated forward bend or Intense Dorsal Stretch.
The front of the body is called east and back is called west and since this asana focuses on back stretching and so it is called Paschimottanasana.
Paschimottanasana or Back Stretching Pose is a relaxing pose and helps to relieve stress. This asana also prepares the body for deeper, advanced and more difficult yoga poses like Eka Pada Sirsasana.
Technique to Do Paschimottanasana or Back Stretching Pose
- The first step to practice Paschimottanasana or Back Stretching Pose involves sitting with your legs outstretched on floor or on yoga mat.
- Keep your feet together and hands on your knees.
- This is the starting position for Paschimottanasana or Back Stretching Pose and is also called Dandasana.
- Relax the whole body in this position.
- With a deep inhale, raise your hands above your head and give your arms a stretch.
- With a big and deep exhale, start moving your arms forward towards the foot.
- As you move forward, take your hand on your legs as far as possible towards the big toe.
- If this seems impossible, try to grasp the ankle with your hands or any part of the leg which can be reached by hands comfortably.
- The movements should be made slowly and any jerk should be avoided while practicing Paschimottanasana or Back Stretching Pose.
- Try to relax in this position for a few seconds to give a stretch to your leg, back and arm muscles.
- Allow the leg, arm and back muscles to gently stretch.
- While maintaining a firm grip on the toes, gently move your upper body starting from the hip joint towards the legs.
- Utilize your arm muscles while moving forward and not the back muscles.
- Keep your legs straight while moving the upper body forward.
- Always keep your spine erect while bending forward when practicing Paschimottanasana or Back Stretching Pose.
- Try and touch your knees with your forehead.
- However do not over exert yourself while practicing Paschimottanasana or Back Stretching Pose. Try and go as far as your body allows.
- This is the final position of Paschimottanasana or Seated Forward Back Stretching Pose.
- If possible, stay in this position for a few breaths or 10-15 breaths or for as long as your body feels comfortable.
- Slowly comeback in the original position.
- This completes one round of Paschimottanasana or Back Stretching Pose.
- Try and do 5-8 rounds every day.
Benefits of Practicing Paschimottanasana
- Paschimottanasana or Back Stretching Pose is considered therapeutic for people with high blood pressure and diabetes.
- It is said to cure Sinusitis, Infertility and Insomnia
- Paschimottanasana is also said to relieve the symptoms of menopause and menstrual discomfort.
- It stretches the hamstring muscles and increases the flexibility of hip joint.
- Paschimottanasana or Back Stretching Pose massages and tones the pelvic region and abdominal organs like liver, pancreas, kidneys, spleen and adrenal glands.
- It alleviates anxiety and reduces fatigue thus giving a calming effect to the brain.
- Regular practice of Paschimottanasana or Back Stretching Pose increases appetite and reduces obesity as well.
- It is also said to cure chronic constipation and digestive disorder.
- Paschimottanasana is recommended for women after delivery.
- It also stretches the spine and make it flexible.
Precautions While Practicing Paschimottanasana
- Pregnant women should not practice Paschimottanasana or Back Stretching Pose.
- People suffering from Sciatica and Slip Disc also should not practice Paschimottanasana.
- Avoid practicing this asana if you are suffering from Asthma or Diarrhea
Tips While Practicing Paschimottanasana
- Do not over stretch or over exert your body while practicing this asana. Go only as forward as your body allows.
- It takes patience and dedication to go in to the full pose. So, the beginners should start slow and go into the full pose gradually.
- You can use strap on your feet and hold it with your hands to help yourself get in to the full pose.