How This Helps

Benefits of Paschimottanasana: 

Ø  The action of pulling the face into the knee strains
and strengthens the hamstrings. The thigh muscles, shoulder and lower back
muscles also get strengthened.

Ø  The abdominal viscera get compressed, enhancing their
functioning. This asana (exercise) tones up the complete digestive system,
including the stomach, liver, spleen, pancreas, small and large intestines. The
abdominal walls are strengthened because adipose in the tissues get squeezed
out. The action of lifting and moving forward activates the rectal muscles and
cures constipation.

Ø  The exercise increases intra abdominal pressure and
induces peristalsis.

Ø  This exercise is good for curing obesity,
constipation, piles, diabetes, and other digestive ailments.

Ø all muscle groups of the back get strengthened,
and the sympathetic nervous system is toned-up because it receives copious
blood supply.


Paschimottanasana Seated Forward Bend Pose Technique:

Ø  Lie down on the back, hands at the sides. Breathe in,
take hands back.

Ø  Breathing out, lift your torso up, move forward and
clasp big toe with your hands.

Ø  Pull yourself forward and downward until your face
touches the knee. If possible, press your face into the knee. Hold for 5

Ø  Release the forward bending pressure and lift the face-up.

Ø  Breathing in, return the body to supine posture and
take the hands back.

Ø  Breathe out; bring hands back to the side.

Ø  Relax. Breathe normally. Repeat 3 to 6 times.

Ø  People with cardiac problems, lower back problems and
circulatory disorders should not attempt the final position. They should be
perform this exercise very slowly and stop in case of discomfort or pain.

noteworthy points:

One might
encounter the following difficulties when performing this asana;

Inability to lift the torso off the ground without lifting the
legs as a counterbalance.

Inability to touch the toes

In both
cases, the practitioner should be patient. The first case of leg lifting is
quickly overcome with the strengthening of the lower back and abdominal muscles.
One could ask a partner to help by keeping a hand between the shoulder blades
as support.

The case of not being able to touch the toe is more serious
but not insurmountable. Breathing out, stretch to the maximum point possible
without pain, and hold till all the breath is evacuated from the lungs.
Breathing in, return to normal position. With time, the muscles will yield and
one will be able to get to an optimum position. However, it is important to
remember that in order to reap the benefits of P
aschimottanasana, even 70% complete pose is adequate as
strength comes to the lower back, abdominal muscles, and hamstrings.

There are also claims that rapidly performed Paschimottanasana reduces
adipose tissue in the abdomen and can be used for weight loss. This is not substantiated
by experience. Rapidly performed P
aschimotanasana requires a deep throw of almost 180°of
the upper torso from supine position to touch the toes and the slightest
misalignment during the action can lead to muscle pulls and damage.

For maximum benefits, one must keep the knees, ankles, and
toes together. The stretching action yields tremendous benefits by
strengthening the calf, hamstring, back of the thigh, and lower back. Avoid the
natural tendency of separating the ankles to relieve pressure on the back and
hamstring. It’s OK to not stretch fully.

Paschimottanasana Benefits & Variations

Paschimottanasana, the seated forward pose, is the very first seated pose in Ashtanga yoga. There are many remarkable benefits from this pose. One of the most noticeable benefits is to offer a total stretch of the whole rear end of the body from head to heels. This position stimulates the internal organs such as kidneys, liver, pancreatic, and so on. It also boosts the vermicular motions of the bowels. Additionally, it relieves you from various back issues. Right away after Paschimottanasana, there is the counter stretch - Purvottanasana.

Purvottanasana is a stance that extends the body from the shoulders to the toes and promotes power throughout the body. This stance is the counterpose to Paschimottanasana.

Paschimottanasana health benefits include:

- stimulates the ovaries, uterus

- improves detox with liver, kidneys, 

- boosts gut health, constipation

- provides migraine relief & heals fatigue

- helps with weight problems & diabetes

- improves mental focus

See: Yoga For Digestion & Gut Health

Precautions & variations

It is best to try yoga poses with an experienced teacher, and prudent to be aware of your body & limitations. Do not do this pose under the following conditions:

- pregnancy

- hamstring muscle injuries

-  herniated vertebra discs,

- sciatica

Variations to try: Some people starting out need to stay up on a folded-up covering in this pose or require to hold a band around the feet. Once you are entirely in the forward bend, you can re-extend the joints. There are numerous ways to do this. You can squeeze your hands around the soles of the feet or turn the rear of one hand to the soles and also grip its wrist with the various other hands. You can also position a block against the soles of your feet and also grip its sides with your hands.

See: Yoga for Diabetes Type 2

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