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Paschimottanasana | Methods | Benefits

“Yoga is not about touching the toes, it’s about what you learn on the way down”.


Paschimottanasana is a seated forward bend in the Hath yoga and modern yogic practice [1] that provides a very good stretch to your whole body from legs to the spine. This pose has a calming effect, it relieves stress, and cure mild depression.

This pose has many health benefits, it improves the mental health and overall well-being of the body. [2] Those who perform it daily have a more flexible body compared to those who don’t.

It benefits the abdominal organs and gives massage to the body.

Moreover, yoga poses have a very soothing effect on our mind and body, they make us relaxed, relieve anxiety, and have many numerous benefits.

For adults performing a Paschimottanasana might be difficult because adults have a less flexible spine as compared to children. But don’t worry, you will become habitual of it, and will perform this pose with perfection.

Meaning of Paschimottanasana

The meaning of Paschima is west or back of the body, the meaning of Uttana is Intense Stretch, and the meaning of asana is posture.

Which makes Paschimottanasana, Seated Forward Bend, or Intense Dorsal Stretch, and it is pronounced as “Push-chee-moh-Tah-Nah-Suh-Nah”.

Tip: Many times people use it to reduce the stiffness of the spine.

How to do Paschimottanasana?

forward seated bend
  • Sit on the yoga mat or floor with your legs extended in front of you.
  • Keep the spine straight.
  • Inhale, and raise both of your hands over your head.
  • Exhale, and extend yourself towards your legs.
  • Try to reach close to the toes. Although beginners may not be able to do so, your goals should be to reach take your hands as close as possible to the toes.
  • With every inhale, extend your spine. And come a bit forward.
  • With every exhale, bring your torso towards the knee.
  • When you reach your full potential, stay in the posture for few breaths.
  • You can touch your toes with your hands, or can even rest your hands on the floor.
  • Keep the neck at the neutral position, neither look up nor letting it go down completely. [3]
  • To leave the pose, inhale and raise your hands over your hands then exhale to bring your both hands down.

Benefits of Paschimottanasana

  • Provide flexibility to the hips.
  • Stretches, and strengthens the back muscles.
  • Make the whole body more flexible, especially the spine.
  • Give a soothing effect to the mind and body, and uplifts the mood.
  • Improves digestion.
  • Relieves stress, and cure mild depression.
  • Tones the shoulder muscles.
  • Improve the functional efficiency of abdominal glands.
  • Improves the alignment of the spine.
  • Good for the sprinter, and if you have tight hamstring issues. [4]


intense dorsal stretch
  • If you are at your late pregnancy stage, you must do this with legs wide enough, so that your knees do not touch the belly. [5] Always do this under the supervision of an expert.
  • Avoid Paschimottanasana just after the full meal, wait at least for 4 to 5 hours to do it.
  • If you have an injury in your joints like in elbows, shoulder, wrist, and ankle, avoid this pose.
  • Don’t push yourself above your capability, otherwise, it can lead to other issues.
  • If you are suffering from a hamstring injury, this pose can hurt. So, try to avoid this pose.
  • Don’t do it, if you have a spine injury.

Mistakes to avoid

  • Keep your legs straight while doing it, otherwise, it will reduce its’ intensity, and it will not be beneficial to you as much as it can be.
  • Don’t be in a hurry to release the pose, stay in the pose for few moments, and try to hold the pose for a few breaths.

Is Paschimottanasana a difficult pose?

Yes, Paschimottanasana is a difficult pose, although it seems to be easy it is not, but it worths all the hardship.

Beginners may find it difficult to do, as your spine is stiff initially, but when we keep on doing this pose, the spine will become flexible.

And you will able to do this pose easily.


Start doing seated forward bend, see the new you. New you – relaxed, calm, flexible, and healthy.


This article provides general information only. It would be better if you consult an expert. It is not a substitute for an expert at all.


My name is Kunal Koli . I am doing my BBA from Ambedkar University Delhi ( AUD) . I am from Delhi , India . I am passionate for Yoga and fitness. Without health, wealth has no meaning. And I am also learning Digital Marketing because Digital is the future. And I don’t want to get lost somewhere in obsolete World.

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