About Paschimottanasana Yoga (Seated Forward Bend):
The name Paschimottanasana from the words paschima meaning west or back, uttana meaning intense stretch or straight, and asana meaning posture. This is also known as seated forward bend pose. This asana covers the stretching of the whole body from head to heels so it is called as Paschimottanasana.
Steps of Paschimottanasana Yoga (Seated Forward Bend):
1. Sit down on your mat or bed with your legs stretched straight out in front of you. Point your toes towards the ceiling.
2. Stretch your arms out forward. Hold for a moment. Then, slowly raise your torso up. Do not move your legs.
3. Slowly bend forward. Try not to let your lower back cave in, you should be bending at your hips. Do not let your legs move or tilt. Place your hands on your lower legs, ankles, or feet. Lightly pull on them to continue stretching with each exhale.
4. Keep breathing deeply and remain in this position according to your comfort. Do for 30-60 seconds in the beginning. For health benefits 3 – 5 minutes every day is good enough. Though practitioners can go up to 15 minutes for spiritual benefits.
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Benefits of Paschimottanasana Yoga (Seated Forward Bend):
1. Seated forward fold provides a deep stretch for the entire back side of the body from the heels to the neck. Forward fold calms the nervous system and emotions and stimulates the reproductive and urinary systems.
2. Stretches the hamstrings on the back of the legs.
3. Relieves digestive problems such as constipation.
4. Stretches and lengthens the entire spine.
5. Develops flexibility of the hips and knees.
6. Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression.
7. Stimulates the liver, kidneys, ovaries, and uterus.
Precaution of Paschimottanasana Yoga (Seated Forward Bend):
1. The person suffering from slip disc or sciatica problem, asthma should avoid Paschimottanasana.
2. When you are folding forward, use your hands for support on the floor.
3. Try to enter and exit the pose without having pain. Do not bend further in case of pain.
4. Do not be in hurry to move fast while doing the asana.
5. Patients of the ulcer should not try this asana.
6. Should be avoided during pregnancy.