Procedure and Benefits of Paschimottanasana



Paschimottanasana is classical forward bending asana of hatha yoga tradition explained by ancient sages in the classical texts of Yoga such as Hatha Yoga Pradipeeka and Gheranda Samhita.

In the modern day due to the increased sedentary life style the spine is quite prone to stiffness and the rigidity .This strongly affects the circulation of the pranic energy and vitality.

Stretch in this forward bending asana has a strong influence to dissolve hidden tensions from the heels to the head .This pose release the rigidity of mind and body and helps a lot in maintaining good physical and mental health.

The word paschima means ‘the back or posterior’.  It also means the west.  The word ‘tana’ means to stretch.  Therefore, it is called posterior stretching posture.  It is also stretching or expansion of awareness in psychic pathway.

Traditional Reference of procedure and benefits of the Paschimottanasana

Prasarya   padau bhuvi dandarupau dorbhyain padagradvitayam grahitva
Januparinyastalalatadeso’ vasedidam Pascinatanamahau       Ch  I.  28 HP, G.S.II. 26

Iti pasumatanamasanagrayam pavanam pas’cimavahinam Karoti
Udayam jatharanalasya  Kuryadudare Karsyamarogathm  cha pumsam   HP Ch. I.  29


  1. Sit in Samasthiti
  2. Exhaling bend forward and catch the toes with respective hands
  3. Inhaling look upwards
  4. Exhaling bend forward and touch the forehead to the knee joints. Rest the elbows on the floor.  Close the eyes. Breathe (for 5 times) deeply.
  5. Inhaling raise the head and release the hands.

Salient points:
This is an important traditional asana which tones up nerves supplying the pelivic organs and arising from the lumbosacral region.

Pascimottanasana is wonderful preparatory technique for meditational practice as it quickly loosens up the body, removing high states of stiffness and brings the deeper relaxation.

People who suffer from disc and spinal injuries slipped disc or Sciatica are advised not to practice Paschimottanasana. Make sure that there is perfect co-ordination between the breathing and physical movement. Women during menstruation and pregnancy should not practice it. A counter pose should be practiced.

Benefits of Pashimottansana

  • Paschimotanasana is an excellent asana that gives many advantages.
  • The asana stretches  and tones the spinal and Hamstring muscles:
  • It helps to remove excess fat in the abdominal organs.  It is well known for its utility in harmonizing nervous and pranic energies within the body. Makes the belly lean and increases digestive fire.
  • It helps to awakens the Kundalini energy.
  • It improves the peristalsis and overcomes the constipation.
  • It relieves, indigestion, flatulence.
  • This asana helps in the management and prevention of diabetes
  • Allivates various types of sexual maladies.
  • Improves the spinal strength.

Special note
Relaxation of the back muscle is essential in order to gain proficiency in this asana.  The violent jerks in order to do asana will strain the back and hamstring muscles. Synchronisation of the breathing plays very important role in achieving this poses easily.