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Seated Forward Bend Pose (Paschimottanasana)

It is a very well known fact that yoga is the best healer for any kind of disease or health issue(s). Medicines and treatments work but even the most learned physicians recommend yoga as the ultimate cure and for a healthy living as well. There are millions of poses one can go for (depending upon the requirement) but all one needs to do is gear up and bring these to practice. One of these poses is paschimottanasanaor the ‘Seated Forward Bend Pose’, also known as Intense Dorsal Stretch. This asana was advocated in 11th century by yogi Gorakshanath.


Meaning of Seated Forward Bend Pose (Pachimottanasana)

The name Seated Forward Bend Pose comes from the Sanskrit name Pachimottanasana (Paschim-uttan-asana). “Pachim”/ “Pachima” means “back” or “west” (back side of the body), “Uttana” means “straight stretch” and “asana” means “posture”.

In Yoga, front side of the body is known as the east side and the back side is called west side. In Seated Forward Bend Bose (Paschimottanasana) we completely bend from Pachim (back/ west) and therefore it is called Paschimottanasana.


How to Pronounce  Pachimottanasana

It is pronounced as POSH-ee-moh-tan-AHS-anna.



Level: Basic

Duration: 30-60 seconds

Benefits: Stress reliever, massages and tones liver, pancreas, kidneys, adrenals, spleen, intestines and the lumber region, hips and thigh

Improves:Digestion, blood circulation in the back region


Precautions Before Practicing Seated Forward Bend Pose (Paschimottanasana)

Before going for Seated Forward Bend Pose (Paschimottanasana), one must consider all the necessary precautions. One should never force oneself into a forward bend, especially when sitting on the floor. Also, this should be avoided during pregnancy as this pose puts stress on the womb. Someone suffering from asthma, sciatica or slipped disc must also avoid practicing this asana.


Anatomical Focus on Seated Forward Bend Pose (Paschimottanasana)

Back, abdomen, hamstrings, thighs, calves


How to Practice Seated Forward Bend Pose (Paschimottanasana)

  • Step 1: Sit on the floor with your buttocks(use folded blanket if you need it)and your legs straight in front. Slightly rock onto your left buttock and pull your right sitting bone away from the heel with your right hand. Repeat on the other side.
  • Step 2: Now, turn the top thighs in slightly and press them towards the floor. Press through the fingertips or palms on the floor beside your hips and lift the top of the sternum towards the ceiling.
  • Step 3: Keep the front torso long, lean forward from the hip joints. Lengthen the tailbone away from the back of pelvis.
  • Step 4: Inhale and raise your both hands over the head and bring them down to hold your big toes of each feet. Extend the elbows completely or you can also loop a strap around the foot soles and hold it tightly. Make sure the elbows are perfectly straight.
  • Step 5: Now, lengthen the front torso into the pose, keeping your head raised. If you have held your feet, bend the elbows out to the sides and lift them away from the floor. Ensure that the lower belly touches the thighs first, then upper belly, then ribs and finally head.
  • Step 6: Exhale and try to rest the forehead on the knees. Stay in the pose for 1 to 3 minutes with normal breathing. Your elbow should touch the floor. Don’t bend your knees towards the forehead.
  • Step 7: To come up, first lift the torso away from your thighs with inhale and straighten the elbows again if they are bent. Now, inhale and lift the torso up by pulling the tailbone down and into the pelvis.

Tips for Convenience

If you are not able to hold your big toes please use yoga strap, Ones with extremely stiff body can place a rolled up blanket under their knees.


Instructor’s Role in Seated Forward Bend Pose

If one wants to practice this pose with utmost perfection, he or she must seek guidance from an experienced instructor. Along with teaching the correct method of performing the pose, the instructor would protect the yogi from getting injured.


Benefits of Seated Forward Bend Pose (Paschimottanasana)

  • Improves digestion
  • Stimulates kidneys, liver, uterus, and ovaries
  • Stretches hamstrings, spine, and shoulders
  • Pressures on the thorax and abdomen
  • Provides good massage on pancreas, kidneys, liver, adrenals, intestines and spleen
  • Improves functions of the intra abdominal glands and the process of respiration
  • Increases flexibility of thighs, calves and lumber region
  • Massages the spinal nerves and increases blood circulations
  • Burn fat from thighs, hips and abdomen
  • Provides relief from headache, and reduces fatigue
  • Calms the brain, removes anger, irritability and reduces depression and anxiety


Benefits for Women on Practicing Seated Forward Bend Pose (Paschimottanasana)

  • Controls emotions
  • Removes pelvic congestion
  • Reduces period pain
  • Balances menstrual cycle and controls blood circulation
  • Smoothen menopause


Therapeutic Applications of Seated Forward Bend Pose (Paschimottanasana)

  • Kidney problems
  • Diabetes
  • Menstrual disorders
  • Bronchitis
  • Sluggish liver
  • Colitis
  • Infertility
  • Sinusitis


Variations of Seated Forward Bend Pose (Paschimottanasana)

  • In order to deepen the pose, you can bring your belly to your thighs and try making your head reach your knees.
  • Lie your back, exhale, and bend your knees into your torso. Now, inhale and extend your heels towards the ceiling. Very slowly, on an exhalation, swing your feet towards the floor above the head. Do not try to let the back of the pelvis lift very far from the floor.


The Science behind Seated Forward Bend Pose (Paschimottanasana)

This pose is helpful in giving a good stretch to the back part of the body. Muscles of the anterior part of the body are contracted and this creates a kind of pressure on the thorax and abdomen, further improving respiration process and the functioning of the intra-abdominal glands improves too, resulting in improved secretions. The flexibility in the lumbar region, the hips, and the thighs improves considerably. Blood circulation of the back of the body enhances and this tones the spinal cord. When one continuously practices this pose, fat in thighs, hips, and in abdomen region reduces. Purifying the Nadis, this pose stimulates the Kundalini Shakti


Preparatory Pose

  • JanuSirsasana (Head-to-knee Forward Bend)
  • Balasana (Child Pose)
  • Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)

Follow-up Pose

  • ArdhaMatsyendrasana (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose)

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