Seated Forward Bend Pose
Meaning: The name Pascimottanasana is derived from three Sanskrit words: paschima – meaning “back”, uttana – meaning “stretch” and asana – meaning “posture”.
Yoga types: Hatha yoga and modern yoga
Level: Beginner level
Strengthens: Legs, Abdominals
Stretches: Hamstrings and Calfs, Back
Contraindications: Neck injury, Back injury, Spondylitis, Abdominal Hernia, suffer from Migraines. You shouldn’t practice Seated Forward Bend Pose if you are pregnant, as there would be pressure on the pelvic area and the uterus may not be able to withstand the pressure.
Paschimottanasana is one of the oldest postures in yoga history, dating back at least 500 years. In the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, one of the foundational texts of yoga, this asana is described as follows: “when one sits with his forehead resting on the thighs, it is called Paschimottanasana.”*
Paschimottanasana translates as “intense stretch to the West”. Why “to the West”? What is the West? In Western mythology, sunset is a magical time of transition. It’s a movement of time from the bright daylight of the conscious mind to the dusky dream world of the unconscious. West points to a time of turning within, of renouncing, of small deaths that lead to deeper wisdom.
The Essence Of Pascimottanasana
Paschimottanasana teaches us patience. The pose is relatively simple and considered to be a beginner pose, but on the other hand, it is a challenging pose if you want to you to move forward more in the pose it challenges us. Because it is challenging, it teaches humility. When we can truly surrender to our present manifestation of this pose, regardless of whether our head is anywhere near our knee, we discover deep inner focus and concentration.
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Benefits Of Pascimottanasana
The main physical benefits of Seated Forward Bend Pose:
- Stimulates the liver, kidneys, ovaries, and uterus.
- Improves digestion: increases appetite and reduces obesity.
- Stretches the spine, shoulders, and hamstrings.
- Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause and menstrual discomfort.
- Soothes headache and anxiety.
On a spiritual and emotional level this pose:
- Relaxes mind. It calms the brain and helps relieve stress and even mild depression.
How To Do Pascimottanasana
The more warmed up you are, the more ease you’ll feel in the pose. Before practicing Paschimottanasana, gently warm up the back, pelvis, and legs with asanas such as cat-cow pose, child’s pose, standing forward bend, and downward-facing dog.
- Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you and your back straight.
- Lift your arms above your head and give yourself a good stretch. Keeping your back straight, slowly begin moving forward by extending your arms forward, bending from the hips, and keeping your legs straight.
- Go as far as you can with straight legs, then bend your knees and allow your upper body to rest on your thighs.
- Stay in the same position and take 8-10 breathes. To get maximum benefits of this pose, stay in it for 3 minutes.
Hidden language hatha yoga. The forward bend: Paschimottanasana – https://ascentmagazine.com/columns.aspx%3FcolumnID=36&page=read&subpage=columns&issueID=15.html
Seated Forward Bend – https://www.pocketyoga.com/pose/seated_forward_bend