Paschimottanasana is Seated Forward Bend or Intense Dorsal Stretch. It is a front bend asana and enables much easier inward or outward rotation of the legs. These variations can be performed as a combined stretch. They can be used rhythmically to aid in relaxation.
Sit up with the legs stretched out straight in front, keeping the spine erect and toes flexed towards self. Breathing in, raise both arms above the head and stretch up with palms facing forward. Keep back straight with a deep breath. Breathing out, bend forward from hip joints, chin moving toward the toes with spine erect and moving forward towards the toes. The spine, neck, and arms should be aligned. Stretch hands on the legs, wherever they reach, without forcing. Depending on the flexibility, hands can either wrap palms feet or hold the toes gently. Breathing in, lift head slightly and lengthen the spine. Breathing out, gently move the navel towards the knees. Repeat this movement two or three times. Drop the head down and breathe deeply for 20-60 seconds.
How To Release
To release from Paschimottanasana, raise the arms upright once again with arms stretched out above the head. Hold this position during inhaling and then exhale and bring hands back down by the sides and move to a simple meditative pose. When moving from Paschimottanasana to any other pose, make sure of slow and smooth movements.
This pose strengthens spinal muscles, nourishes the entire nervous system, increases lumbar spine elasticity and relieves spinal compression and sciatica. It also massages and stimulates the abdominal organs, increases peristalsis, relieves constipation and other problems, counteracts obesity and enlargement of the spleen and liver, regulates pancreatic function, and helps with diabetes and hypoglycemia. It tones the hamstring muscles and increases the flexibility of the hip joints. This pose also nourishes the gonads, increases vitality, removes seminal weakness, cures impotency and helps in sex sublimation.
The back body holds all the major muscles. This asana aids in cultivating a meditative mind and activates the parasympathetic nervous system and enhances concentration and mental endurance. It invigorates and calms the mind and nervous system, thus, controlling many nervous system complaints.
While the benefits and importance of Paschimottanasana are immense, there are certain circumstances to avoid this pose, when being suffered from asthma or any respiratory problem or any type of stomach surgery. It is not recommended during pregnancy, diarrhea, back or spinal problem. People who have difficulty bending their backs should exercise caution when performing this asana.
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