Prasarita Padottanasana gets its name from Sanskrit where “Prasarita” means ” Wide/Stretched Out”, “Pada” means “Foot”, “Uttana” means “Intense Stretch” and “Asana” means “Pose or Posture”.
Prasarita Padottanasana or Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend is a variation of commonly practiced Uttanasana or Standing Forward Bending Pose. It stretches the hips, thighs, legs and spine.
It is a very simple and easy yogasana which is very good for the beginners to practice and perfect for regular yoga practitioners. Prasarita Padottanasana or Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend majorly helps reduce the belly fat thus helping you get rid of that extra bulge on your tummy.
After practicing the backward bending yogasanas which consume a lot of energy, Prasarita Padottanasana or Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend can be performed to soothe, align, rebalance and calm the body, mind and soul. It is a counter asana for all the backward bending yogasanas.
Prasarita Padottanasana or Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend is a resting pose however it takes practice to feel it as a restive pose. It should be done before the inverted asanas and is a very good forward bending asana that stretches both the back and your hamstrings.
It is said that Prasarita Padottanasana or Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend develops the mind and body and help in improving the concentration. This asana cools the body and improves the posture.
Technique of Practicing Prasarita Padottanasana or Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend
To practice Prasarita Padottanasana or Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend, stand in Tadasana on the floor or on the yoga mat.
- While inhaling, step a little so that you create a space between both feet. There should be a distance of 3 to 4 feet between both feet.
- Bring your hands to rest on your waist against your hips and bring your feet to remain parallel to each other.
- Exhale deeply in this pose.
- While inhaling, lengthen your torso and lift your entire spine and chest up.
- While Exhaling, fold forward from the hip joint leading with your chest, place your hands shoulder width apart on the ground with your fingers in one line with the toes.
- As you keep stretching and you are down, bring the crown of your head to touch the ground, and push the buttocks towards the ceiling. Your abdominal muscles must also engage with the lengthening of your spine.
- At this point the body weight is borne by the legs, the palms and slightly by your head.
- You can either place your hands underneath your legs or on your mat, next to your head, with your elbows bent. Or you could also hold your big toes with your fingers whichever you feel is comfortable for your body to be in.
- Maintain your breath in this position of Prasarita Padottanasana or Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend. Keep breathing gently and normally while you in this position.
- Stay in this Prasarita Padottanasana pose or Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend pose for as long as you can or for a few breaths. Beginners can a small break and practice it for 3-4 times when the body is not able to stand in this pose for a longer time.
- To release the position, inhale and apply pressure on the ground with your palms and push yourself up to the erect standing position.
- Bring the legs together again and rest by taking few deep breaths in Tadasana.
- Repeat the same pose 4-5 times while practicing yoga for maximum benefits.
Variations of Prasarita Padottanasana or Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend
There are many variations of Prasarita Padottanasana or Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend possible. In one of the variations you can:
- Start with the standing position or Tadasana and stretch out the legs.
- Join your palms behind and interlace the fingers together.
- While inhaling deeply expand your chest, raise your spine and neck and bend backwards.
- Now, exhale slowly and fold forward along the hip joint.
- Bring your head between the legs.
- While inhaling, lift your hands over your head with palms facing towards the floor. Exhale and bring your head further down.
- Keep your gaze fixed on the floor.
- Maintain this position for as long as you are comfortable.
- To release the position, inhale and lift yourself up, unlock the fingers and come to the erect position or stand straight.
- Bring the feet together and rest in the standing pose or Tadasana.
Breathing Pattern to Follow While Practicing Prasarita Padottanasana or Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend
- Inhale, while steeping your feet apart in Tadasana
- Exhale after resting your hands on the hips.
- Inhale, while lengthening the torso and raising your spine.
- Exhale, while bending the body downwards from hips.
- Maintain your breath in the final position of the Asana.
- Exhale deeply once you are back standing erect in Tadasana.
Benefits of Prasarita Padottanasana or Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend
Prasarita Padottanasana or Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend gives a very good stretch to the hamstrings and helps loosen them up. While beginning the practice, you should keep your legs as apart as possible as you can as it helps loosen the hamstrings. When you don’t feel the stretch in hamstrings while practicing, bring your legs a little closer and then perform Prasarita Padottanasana. This will further help in loosening the hamstrings.
The Prasarita Padottanasana variation is a very good stretch for the thigh muscles and even better for the hamstrings. It stretches the hamstrings even further then the asana itself. As the head is folded downwards, it provides an improved flow of blood to the whole body thus improving awareness and gives relaxation as well.
- Prasarita Padottanasana or Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend is beneficial in relieving mild depression and anxiety.
- Prasarita Padottanasana massages the abdominal organs and stimulates the digestive system thus improving the digestion.
- It also helps in relieving constipation.
- Prasarita Padottanasana or Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend gives a few benefits of inverted poses as there is an increased blood flow to the head region and reduces the strain on the heart.
- It also helps in balancing the body and also helps in improving overall gait and posture of the body.
- Prasarita Padottanasana is also beneficial for shoulders as it stretches the shoulder muscles and relieve them of tension and stress.
- Prasarita padottanasana also helps get rid of back ailments like Sciatica and slipped disc with regular practice.
- Prasarita Padottanasana or Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend stretches the legs, thighs, groin area, hamstrings and the hips
- It is a very good pose to practice before going back to sleep as it helps you sleep better and you’ll have a deep sleep.
- Prasarita Padottanasana also helps in relieving headache caused because of excessive stress.
- It is also very beneficial for people with high blood pressure and high blood sugar. It helps in regulation of the blood sugar levels in the body.
- Prasarita Padottanasana is a very good hip opening exercise as well.
Precautions and Contraindications While Practicing Prasarita Padottanasana or Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend
- People with chronic spinal injuries should not practice rasarita Padottanasana or Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend without consulting a physician and should always practice the asana under the guidance of a trained yoga expert.
- If you have a mild backache, you should not practice Prasarita Padottanasana as it gives a deep stretch to the back. If you practice, do not go down to the floor. You can use blocks to support the back while practicing.
- People with hip injuries should also not practice Prasarita Padottanasana as it can deepen the strain.
- People with chronic shoulder pain, shoulder injuries and cervical problems should also not practice Prasarita Padottanasana.
- Also, do not overexert your body while practicing this asana. Do not stretch beyond your limits. Go as far as your body allows.