How to do Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend)
This is intense forward bending asana, and require flexibility. It is a horizontal version of uttanasana. Due to tightness in the legs and back, forward bending is not easy. Beginners would not be able to bend far forward. However, only with practice you can reach through the feet.
Steps to do Paschimottanasana
Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you keeping the spine erect. Press your palms or finger tips on the floor beside your hips, and press your heels to create stability and balance in sitting.
Inhale, raise both arms above your head and stretch up, exhale, bend forward from the hip joints, and not from the waist. Keep the spine erect, and focus on moving forwards towards the toes, not towards the knees. Keep the elbows straight and not bent. First, your lower belly should touch the thighs, then upper belly, and then ribs.
Place your hands on your legs, wherever possible. If possible try to hold the feet with your hands, however, initially it would not be possible so loop a strap around the soles, and hold the strap to take support in bending.
Don’t pull yourself into the forward bending forcefully.
Breathing Sequence: With each inhalation, lift front torso slightly; with each exhalation bend forward little more.
Try to maintain this pose from 1 to 3 minutes. Inhale and return to the initial pose.
Most common mistake in this asana is to bend from the waist, you should use your hip joint to bend.
Initially, it is advisable to sit up on a folded blanket to keep the body little inclined for better reach toward feet. Strap will be useful in the beginning.
Once can also take the help of a partner to help you to release your lower back. Your partner can gently press his hands against your lower back to encourage the back spine and tailbone to bend forward.
- Stretches the spine, shoulders, and hamstrings.
- Good for liver and kidney.
- Improves digestion
- Helpful with menopause and menstrual discomfort
Person with asthma, diarrhea, or back injury should not try this pose.