Forward Seated Bend / Intense Back Stretch (Paschimottanasana)

Type : Sitting

Justification :  Forward extension, hamstring, back and spinal stretch

Complimentary posture :  Ardha Matsyendrasana, Ustrasana



Physical Benefits : Stretches the hamstrings and mobilizes the hips, ankles and lower back. Helps blood circulation in the pelvic region. Tones the abdominal organs and keeps them alert, thus improving digestion. Rejuvenates the spine. Massages the heart, abdominal organs . Improves circulation in the pelvic region. Releives menstrual pain and menopausal symptoms.

Therapeutic Benefits : Improves digestion, tones the liver, bladder and pancreas. Soothes the adrenal glands. Activates a lazy liver and helps in treating impotence. Stimulates spinal nerves and back muscles as well as the reproductive system such as the ovaries and uterus.  Removes constipation and relieves bronchitus. Calms the active front brain.


Limitations :  To be avoided if you have diarrhea, asthma, sciatica, slipped disc or back injury.  Not to be practiced with heart ailments.


How To Practice :

 Attention ! Like the name of this posture indicates- this a very intense pose. Please start off very easy on this so as not to strain or tear the hamstrings, flexors, erector spinae or gluteal muscles.

Sitting in dandasana, place the palms of the hands beside the hips. Inhaling, stretch both arms above the head and fully extend the spine upwards. On the exhale stretch your arms further than your feet and then catch the sides of feet with both hands keeping the spine perfectly erect and straight. If you cannot catch your feet, use a belt and lasso it around your heels. Keep pressing  the thighs fully into the floor and deepen the interieur groins. Stretch from the buttock bones and then hinge forward trying to surpass your thighs with your lower abdomen. Keep both buttock bones firmly anchored into the floor.  Extend the arms from the shoulders and on the exhale fold forward onto the tibias while bending the elbows. Use them as levers while pulling the trunk forward towards the toes.


Tips : Do not bend the knees.  If your back is too rounded at first, you can place  a blanket or a bolster on your shins in order to support your forehead. You can also add height with a blanket or two or four under the buttocks if your lower back is fragile. For a deeper forward extensionand to lengthen the space between the pubis and the navel, roll a blanket tightly and place in the fold of the front groins and then henge over towards the knees.