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Paschimottanasana Yoga -How To Do Steps And Its Benefits

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Ever wondered why our grandparents lived healthier lives and longer ones too? There could be many reasons, such as:

  • Healthy eating habits.
  • Clean air.
  • Natural supplements.
  • Holistic lifestyles.
  • Positive thinking.
  • Natural and simple living.
  • Enough sleep.
  • Enough entertainment.
  • Less tension and worries.
  • Exercise.

Yes, the last one, exercise and they didn’t have to pump iron or gain pain for the same. The ancient art and science of yoga helped our grandparents stay healthy and fit. The same is being applied these days by millions across the globe.

Paschimottanasana Yoga (Seated forward Bend):


So if you too believe in natural ways and not the iron pumping fiascos, we would ask you to read on and learn more about yoga and it’s various benefits. Today we would like to speak more on Paschimottanasana, one of the branches of yoga. it is also know as Intense dorsal stretch. Hence, please read on and be well-informed for the same paschimottanasana yoga (Seated forward bend).

Paschimottanasana in literal terms means intense stretch of the west. It is also known as the seated forward bend pose. The pose though seems simple is slightly difficult to perform. The asana focuses on the spine of the body. The further benefits of this asana is mentioned below.

See More: Sleeping Vishnu Pose

How To Do Paschimottanasana Yoga Steps, Benefits, Modifications And Precautions:

This guide will explain what is paschimottanasana, how to do perform steps, benefits, precautions and modifications along with tips for beginners.


1.This asana has to be done by beginning with a staff pose or dandasana. Here are the steps for dandasana


a. Begin by sitting on the ground with your feet extended forwards. Reaching behind you, try to pull the flesh away from your sitting bones. This would help the sitting bones to firmly press into the ground.

b. Rest your palms besides your hips firmly and sit upright. Now flex your feet. The thighs must be firmed and toned and the legs must be rolled towards each other, in such a way that it hugs your midline.

c. Now draw up the pelvic floor, draw in your lower belly, lengthen your neck and tuck your chin.

d. Now the focus must be on your spine must be in its natural shape. If you sat against a wall, you can feel a hollow behind your lower back and neck. This means that your spine is naturally aligned.

2. From dandasana, inhale and reach your fingers to the sky, in order to lengthen the side bodies.

3. When you exhale, draw your inner groins into the pelvis, ensuring that the torso is kept long.

4. Now bend forward – not bending at the waist but at your hip joint. Stretch your tailbone away from the back of your pelvis.

5. In this posture if your hands happen to touch the toes, then grab the outsides of your feet with your hands.

6. If you do not manage to touch the toes, then keep your hands on your shins.

7. Remain in this posture for a few breaths, ensuring to deepen the pose with each breath. Maintain your gaze at your feet and keep your spine long.

8. For each inhalation, lift your torso and also lengthen it. With each exhalation, release your torso into the forward bend. With regular practice you may be also able to reach your arms out beyond your feet.

9. Remain in this position for at least 1-3 minutes and return back to dandasana.

See More: How To Do Fish Pose

Benefits Of Paschimottanasana Yoga (Seated Forward Bend Pose):

Physical Benefits:

1. This asana is known to stimulate organs of the body like liver, kidneys, uterus and ovaries, and aids in functioning them perfectly.
2. It improves appetite, digestion, cures diseases and also controls obesity.
3. The spine, shoulders and hamstrings are stretched by performing this asana.
4. The asana is said to calm the brain, which helps to relieve mild depression and also stress.

Therapeutic Benefits:

1. The asana is considered to soother people who experience anxiety and head ache. It is also known to reduce fatigue and stress.
2. It is also beneficial for people who have problems like high blood pressure, insomnia, sinusitis and infertility.
3. Women with menstrual discomforts can also benefit by performing this asana.

See More: Tadasana Benefits

Modifications For Paschimottanasana Yoga (Seated forward Bend):

A variation to this asana is urdhva mukha paschimottanasana or upside down intense stretch of the west pose. This can be done with the following simple steps:

1. Start by lying on your back. Exhale and bend your knees into your torso.
2. While inhaling, extend your heels towards the ceiling.
3. On exhalation, bring your feet towards the floor resting them above your head.
4. While doing so ensure that you do not lift the back of your pelvis from the floor.

paschimottanasana 456

It is preferred to sit on a folded blanket for doing this pose, as doing this asana is difficult. Attaining a complete forward bend in the first try is not easy.
For a more intense version of the pose, you could place a block in front of your feet, to use them as an extension of your feet.

Precautions For Paschimottanasana Yoga (Seated forward Bend):

The asana is not suited for people with the following conditions:

1. Lower back injuries (however can be performed with the assistance of a trainer)
2. Asthma
3. Diarrhoea

Tips For Starters:

1. Beginners must not force themselves into a forward bend while doing this asana. If you experience pain or discomfort while doing this asana, you must come back to the original position, immediately.
2. You can use a trap around your feet, so that you can use the open handles to touch the toes indirectly.

Preparatory And Follow-Up Poses:

The preparatory poses for paschimottanasana are: balasana, uttanasana and janu sirsasana.

Let us now know elaborately all about the preparatory poses of paschimottanasana and also the benefits of paschimottanasana. This posture is in the seating position and Ardha paschimottanasana should be followed at least about 5 times before you do the paschimottanasana steps. The Vajrasana Yoga posture should also be practised before doing this. You can also follow the Vajrasana posture with the grinding mill pose for about 5 times before you start with the paschimottanasana.

This is a very interesting posture and also has a lot of benefits. In this one you again do a seated forward bend. What you have to do is sit with your spine straight and then spread your legs in front of you. When done, just pull out your hands and then clasp then together right parallel to your face. Now slowly rotate this clasp just how it happens in a grinding mill and this is how you practise the posture. The Ardha Padma Bandhasana and the Ugrasana (ferocious pose) are two of the follow up poses of the paschimottanasana.

When Should You Not Practice Paschimottanasana

There are always contradictions to all exercises and each one is a little not suitable for some people. In this case, people who have had an abdominal surgery are not supposed to do this posture at all. If the surgery has been done recently then it is an even stricter no- no for you. Also for people who are suffering from sciatica as well as slipped disc are advised not to practise paschimottanasana steps at all.

Some Tips And Tricks For Paschimottanasana Yoga:

To achieve proper paschimottanasana benefits you should follow certain dos and don’t which even make the posture easier. For the posture, try to touch the toes with your hands and try to stick your nose till your knees. That is the absolutely correct way to do this.

A strict no- no is bending the knees because in that way you will have no benefit of practising the seated forward bend and also try to arch your back while bending. This is because you should always ease and relax your back and keeping it straight while bending may thus cause some problems.

Where Does The Anatomical Focus lie For Paschimottanasana Yoga?

The perfect anatomical focus of practising this posture lies on the lower and upper back, hamstrings, abdomen and the like. Menstrual disorders are said to go away with regular practise of this yoga posture. This is also a wonderful and holistic remedy for diseases and ailments such as digestive problems, liver problems, diabetes, kidney issues and colitis.

Overall this yoga posture is good for the whole body and it stretches right from the head to the toe to even the sides of the body which hardly happens in one posture otherwise. Besides, the focus is on the abdomen which in turn is somehow linked with the respiratory system. The practise of this posture thus says to cure the problems of respiratory and digestive system both.

Paschimottanasana yoga is an extremely beneficial yoga posture and not at all a complicated one. What you have to do is keep in mind the tips and what to follow and keep practising paschimottanasana steps.