Paschima (back of body, back), uttan (straight).
“Paschimottanasana is the best among asanas. By this asana the pranic currents rise through sushmna, the digestive fire increases, the abdomen becomes flat, and the practitioner becomes free from diseases.” (Hatha Yoga Pradipica 1:29)
During Paschimottanasana practice manipura chakra becomes activated and the abdominal muscles and organs strengthen. This asana stretches the spine and activates the central nervous system, it removes barriers allowing nerve impulses and prana to get the higher centers. The muscles of the back, arms and legs become tuned up. There is also the positive effect of Paschimottanasana on the sexual function optimization.
The long Pashchimottanasana fixation helps to remove the tension of body and calms the mind.
In yoga therapy, this pose can be used for healing of diabetes, sciatic nerve neuralgia, hemorrhoids, constipation, riddance of nocturnal men’s pollutions and women’s menstrual irregularities.
Paschimattanasana, Seated Forward Bend Pose, can also be used as a compensating asana for backbends.
If you practice Pashchimottanasana early in the morning, it would be more difficult than by day or by evening. That is why it is better to do this asana after practicing other asanas and exercises, because they warm up and relax the muscles and the tendons of the legs and back. However, many experienced yogis practice Pashchimottanasana as the first training phase exactly for stretching the back.
During Paschimottanasana practice always keep your back straight, not allowing an excessive bending. In the final position the body should be completely relaxed.
Paschimottanasana is strictly contraindicated for people with the painful liver or spleen enlargement, the acute appendicitis and the hernia until complete eliminating of symptoms.
Getting into Paschimottanasana
– Sit down on the floor with your legs together by stretching in front of you. Put your hands near the pelvis, taking several cycles of the deep breath, and do a soft Mula Bandha.
– Pull your buttocks slightly up and move the heels forward.
– With another slow and full exhalation, pull your hands trying to catch your feet.
– If your physiology condition doesn’t allow to do it with a straight back, it is possible to enfold the shins.
– Try to keep your back straight and complete the “lumbar sagging” pushing the lumbar spine forward to hips. Take several cycles of deep breathing.
– Exhale deeply, bend forward, trying to touch the elbows on the floor and “spread out” your body wavy along the hips, touching the knee to your forehead.
– If you still do not have a tight touching of the lower ribs and hips, do not stretch your toes, put your hands on the sides of your feet or bend your knees slightly.
– With the grab of big toe.
– With a wrist lock on the soles of feet.
– With feet placed shoulder width of the pelvis.
– With an opposite hand wrist’s grab.
– With different positions of hands behind your back.