Prasarita Padottanasana

Prasarita Padottanasana is a part of the half-inverted yoga pose. It is a beginner-level forward bending pose, usually practiced at the end of the standing poses and just after Sun Salutation, the fundamental positions for the Ashtanga Yoga practice.

This pose is described by BKS Iyengar in his book Light on Yoga and K Pattabhi Jois in Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga.

Prasarita Padottanasana Basics

Sanskrit PronunciationPrasarita Padottanasana
( pra-sa-REE-tah pah-doh-tahn-AHS-anna )
MeaningPrasarita – spread or expanded
Pada – foot or leg
Ut – intense
Tan – to stretch
Asana – pose
Pose TypeForward bending pose
Pose LevelBeginner-level
Style of yogaAshtanga Vinyasa Yoga
Other NamesFeet Spread Intense Stretch Pose, Wide-Legged Forward Bend
StretchesThe hamstrings, hips, calves, knees and lower back
Strengthening The feet, ankles, and legs
Duration30 second to 2 minutes

Meaning

Prasarita Padottanasana is a Sanskrit name that has a specific meaning-

prasarita = stretched out, expanded, spread
pada = foot
ut = intense
tan = to stretch or extend

The simple translation for Prasarita Padottanasana is “Feet Spread Intense Stretch Pose’.

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.

The best thing about this pose is that it 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).

Practice Guide For Prasarita Padottanasana

Prasarita Padottanasana involves a sequence of movements that challenge the practitioner’s balance, flexibility, and focus. To facilitate a step-by-step approach, the pose is divided into key components, allowing practitioners to grasp each element before attempting the full pose. These components typically include the initial posture, transitional phases, and the final position.

Preparatory Poses

Steps 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.

Follow-up Poses

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.

Precautions 

There are many benefits of doing Wide Legged Forward Bend Yoga and it can be practiced by a person of any age at any time. Although its practice is mostly safe for everyone, people with certain health problems should exercise caution while practicing this asana.

  • 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.

Conclusion

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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Disclaimer

The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional