Prasarita Padottanasana is a part of the half-inverted yoga pose. It is a standing forward bending yoga pose, usually practiced at the end of the standing poses and just after Sun Salutation, the fundamental positions for the Ashtanga Yoga practice.
Prasarita Padottanasana is a Sanskrit name that has a specific meaning- Prasarita means separated. Pada means legs or feet. Uttana means intense stretching and bends the torso forward. The simple translation for Prasarita Padottanasana is “wide-legged forward bend’.
This pose is described by BKS Iyengar in his book Light on Yoga and K Pattabhi Jois in Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga.
Know More About Prasarita Padottanasana
Wide-legged forward bend yoga is one of the most effective and complicated postures. It is the same suitable for every level, men as well as women and beginner to advanced level, everyone can enjoy the benefits of a Wide-legged forward bend. It mainly focuses on the muscles of the hamstrings and thighs, hips and pelvis, calves and knees, lower back, and core.
This yoga pose increases circulation to the brain while providing a deep stretch for the legs, shoulder, back, and arms. And also improve strength, balance, and flexibility in the body.
Prasarita Padottanasana is a best practice before jumping into Sirsasana. This is considered a good warm-up of the body. Prasarita Padottanasana has four variations- A, B, C, D comes in the Starting sequence of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. It energizes and opens the three chakras Muladhara (root), Svadisthana(spleen or sacral), and Manipura(solar plexus or navel).
In this article, we talk about – how to perform the Prasarita Padottanasana yoga pose in a step-by-step explanation, along with the benefits and precautions attached to the pose.
How to Do Wide-Legged Forward Bend
- First stand in Tadasana (Mountain pose) step the legs 4-5 feet (or 1meter) apart while inhaling.
- Breathe in and open the legs 3 to 4 feet according to your height. Keep your hands on the waist and keep in mind that your heels should be aligned.
- Feet parallel and toes turned slightly in to protect your knees.
For Variation A
- While exhaling, start bending at the hip joints, until your both hand/palms touch the mat or fingers touch the mat.
- The hands/palms should be shoulder-width apart.
- If this isn’t accessible to you just yet, rest your fingertips on a block or take a slight bend in your knees.
- Fingertips should be pointing forward.
- While breathing in, lift the head and look towards the front. Then while exhaling bend down as far as possible from the hip joints and bring the crown of your head between your hands to touch the ground.
- Keep the head and back in a straight line as far as possible.
- In this pose, your elbows will be bent at a 90-degree angle, but the legs will still be straight.
- Engage your thighs, activating your quadriceps.
- Hold for five breaths or 30 seconds to one minute.
For Variation B
- To jump into Variation B, maintain Variation A, and lift your hands off the floor and place at the hips and your elbows above or behind you. Engage your thighs and bring the crown of the head to the floor.
For the convenience of Variation B, do not lift both hands from the floor at the same time, instead, first, lift the right hand off the ground and place it on the hip, then lift the left hand off the ground and place it on the hip. By doing this your position will not worsen.
For Variation C
- Interlock your fingers behind your back loosely so as not to crunch shoulders. Bend forward and allow arms to come up off low back and press to the head on the floor.
For Variation D
- For the most important final practice of Prasarita Padottanasana – wrap your pointer and middle finger around your big toes. Bend elbows gently at a 45-degree angle and keep elbows drawing out to the sides. Keep your elbows over your knees and use your abdomen to elongate your spine.
In the initial position, do this asana for 30 to 60 seconds or even less.
- Baddha Konasana
- Utthita Parsvakonasana
Benefits of Wide-Legged Forward Bend
- During the practice of Prasarita Padottanasana, there is some distance between the two legs, which helps to open the hamstrings and quadriceps. It also helps in increasing the strength and flexibility of the muscles.
- The strength of the calf muscles provides better support for the feet. This asana makes the legs strong and flexible. Along with this, it also gives better stretch to the ankle and calf muscles and increases the mobility of these parts.
- Prasarita Padottanasana is one of the asanas to open the hips. In asanas that open the hips, the legs have to be widened. Thus, both the legs are released during this asana. This posture stretches the muscles of the lower back, while opening the hips. It removes muscle tension and stiffness.
- This asana gives a good massage to the muscles and internal organs of the upper torso. It also helps in stimulating them and enhances their functions. It tones the internal organs of the abdomen and helps in better digestion and metabolism.
- This posture increases the flexibility of the spine, which maintains the balance of standing on the feet.
- Since this asana is done by leaning forward, which brings good flow of blood to the head.
- Wide-Legged Forward Bend reduces stress around the neck and shoulders. It also helps in relieving fatigue of the body and muscles as well as supplies energy to the body.
- The practice of Prasarita Padottanasana helps to open the three lower chakras (Mooladhara Chakra, Swadhishthana Chakra and Manipuraka Chakra) located at the bottom of the body. These chakras help in increasing self-esteem, self-confidence, stability, will power and restraint in the body.
- Regular practice of Prasarita Padottanasana provides relief from back pain.
- This asana should be done according to the physical ability, do not try to do more than that.
- If there is a problem of pain in the lower back, then this asana should not be done. Because stretching too much can increase the pain.
- Avoid its practice in knee pain.
- If there is a complaint of hernia, then do not practice this asana.
Prasarita Padottanasa stretches the hamstrings and calves muscles as well as strengthens the arms and legs while opening the hips. The pose also helps in better digestion and metabolism.
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