Seated Forward Bend Pose

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Paschimottanasana

In this yoga pose, “paschim” means West, and “uttana” means intense stretch in the Sanskrit terminology.

 

How to: Seated Forward Bend

Begin with a sitting position.  Your hips should rest on a folded blanket, and your legs stretched out in the front. You may adjust the alignment of your pelvis by pushing the floor with your palms placed on sides.

As you inhale, bend forwards, leading with your hips, and not the waist. Your elbows should be perfectly straight when extending out to reach your feet.

Keep your head lifted and try to move your upper torso deeply to lengthen the stretch. The head should be last in touching the lower body, and should follow the belly, and lastly the ribs.

Inhale and increase the length of torso in the forward direction. Exhale and release your torso more into the leaning position. Gradually your hands will be able to reach the ground beyond your feet.

Remain in this position from 1 to 4 minutes. While returning upright to a perpendicular position to the floor, inhale and raise the torso back slowly as you pull your tailbone deeper towards the pelvis.

 

Benefits of Seated Forward Bend

The Seated Forward Bend can offer the following benefits if it’s practiced daily and consistently over a several months:

  • Soothes the mind by relieving unnecessary stress and depression.
  • Stretches and lengthens the shoulders, spine and hamstrings.
  • Enhances the digestion process.
  • Improves the function of various body organs like the ovaries, kidneys, liver and uterus.
  • Alleviates imbalances associated with menopause and menstrual pain.
  • Soothes an anxious state of mind and lessens fatigue.
  • Stimulates a weak appetite, counters obesity and provides remedy for other similar diseases.

 

For beginners, Seated Forward Bend is a suitable yoga pose for gaining instant relaxation and calming the troubled mind. Since you are new to this yoga, it might be possible that you are not able to achieve full depth in the pose. So do not force the bend, especially if you are sitting on the ground. You can add a variation to ease the process by stopping in between for short durations as you are leaning your torso forward. Whenever you feel the excessive stretch, stop and raise yourself a little and then again continue. This will facilitate the bending action in this yoga pose, and will hasten your progress in achieving depth in this yoga pose.

The advanced yoga students get the primary benefit of enhancing the overall functioning of their internal organs like the liver, kidneys and ovaries from Paschimottanasana. You may take the help of a partner during this pose to fully extend your torso. Care needs to be taken that the pressure applied by your partner’s hands on your back is of gentle nature, and should be more focused on lengthening your tailbone away from your torso.

You may need to reconsider the addition of this yoga pose in your routine if you suffer from one or more of the following conditions:

  • Diarrhea
  • Asthma
  • Back injury

 

Experience the stretch in your back and torso as you perform the Seated Forward Bend.