Yoga has been a part of the fitness spectrum for many years. It has proven to work wonders for various health-related problems, and it is excellent for the mind too. Paschimottanasana is simply a backstretch that can completely change your life. Keep reading to find out its benefits!
What is Paschimottanasana?
The Paschimottanasana, or commonly called the seated forward bend posture, is a yoga posture that comes with many benefits for the human body. It targets your hamstrings, belly, and spine mostly and is a relaxing yoga asana to try. The name of this yoga asana is derived from the Sanskrit language and translates into “backstretch” in English.
The Paschimottanasana is a seated posture and is performed only when you are in a sitting position. This asana can sometimes become difficult to execute; however, by following the correct paschimottanasana steps, you can master the asana in no time!
1) Nicely stretches the hamstrings
The hamstrings are muscles present at the back of your legs. It is important to keep these muscles strong and flexible to avoid any serious injuries while also ensuring the natural range of motion of the legs. So, performing the paschimottanasana procedure really helps in this aspect because it stretches these hamstrings that causes them to open up.
2) Targets belly fat
Maintaining the posture in paschimottanasana requires you to suck in your belly and then bend forward. This posture, therefore, helps in targeting your belly fat. If practised with a holistic yoga routine, this posture will contribute greatly towards losing some serious inches from your belly.
3) Alleviates menstrual discomfort
Women may be advised to practice this asana to reap the advantages of paschimottanasana to reduce menstrual discomfort by increasing blood flow and reducing fatigue. However, this asana should be performed by keeping a soft pillow in the lap to reduce abdominal pain that can be caused due to exerting pressure on the region.
4) Reduces anxiety
By performing the paschimottanasana for a few minutes regularly, you can see visible improvements in your levels of anxiety and frequency of getting overwhelmed because the asana gets your energy centres to work better, which helps in regaining balance. To particularly relieve stress immediately, you may do this asana by placing some pillow under your hip bones, trunk, etc.
5) Helps in correcting a bad posture
A bad posture not only ruins your personality but also has a serious impact on your health. It can lead to health issues like abdominal dysfunction, gastrointestinal issues, etc. Practising the asana will correct your posture by engaging your whole upper body that will straighten your neck and spine.
6) Sets up the body for meditation
After sitting in the paschimottanasana, you will observe your mind and body relaxing. This posture will have a soothing effect on your nervous system because it gives the body a signal to deep release and relax thoroughly. As a result, you end up feeling thoroughly rejuvenated.
7) Gets you a good night’s sleep
Paschimottanasana yoga benefits also extend to keeping insomnia at bay and ensuring that you get a long and peaceful sleep. You should practice this pose regularly for two hours before you head to bed. This posture will increase the blood flow and will get your lower energy centres in the body to induce a good night’s sleep.
Ardha Padma Paschimottanasana Benefits
The ardha padma paschimottanasana is kind of a halfway posture of the paschimottanasana. Herein, rather than extending both legs forward and then bending, you fold one leg (on the thigh of the other) and only extend the other one forward. One hand touches the extended leg’s feet, while the other hand goes behind the back and touches the foot of the folded leg.
This asana helps in:
- It increases your hip joints’ flexibility.
- It helps in getting rid of constipation.
- Stretches the shoulder and knee joints to keep them functioning well.
- Works on the hamstrings and calf muscles by toning them better.
Paschimottanasana Steps - How to Do the Paschimottanasana?
To do the paschimottanasana, you have to follow these steps:
- Sit down on your yoga mat.
- Now, extend your legs in front of you and flex your feet.
- Make sure that you are sitting straight and your spine is elongated.
- Now, you have to lift your arms while inhaling a nice and long breath.
- Exhale the breath and slowly bend forward by hinging from your hips and sucking in your belly gently as you bend.
- Align your belly with your thighs, and don’t bother much about touching your nose to the legs.
- Your hands can be placed on your shins, or if you can, then place them on your feet by grabbing a toe.
- Lastly, you have to ensure that your neck is in a neutral state and does not put a strain on your spine.
While performing the asana, these people should be cautious:
- People who have a back disc-related issue like Sciatica should not go all the way down to touch their toes. Instead, they should keep their back concave.
- Women who are menstruating should not do this asana without a soft pillow under their belly. Even then, they should not attempt to go all the way down.
- Pregnant women should also keep their abdomen soft and feet apart. These women shouldn’t attempt to go all the way down either.
In Sanskrit, Paschimottanasana means the fundamental pose of yoga. During this posture, the upper body is folded forward over the legs in order to stretch the hamstrings and the back muscles. It relieves your body, improves flexibility, focuses on belly fat, and overall helps your body relax and recover. It is a must-add posture to your existing yoga routine. If you still haven't tried out different yoga poses, then start them today and reap the benefits!
How Much Time Should We Do Paschimottanasana?
Duration: You can hold this asana for up to 30 seconds initially, and over time this can be increased to 3 - 5 minutes.
Does Paschimottanasana Increase Height?
Yes, paschimottanasana does help in increasing your height as it is based on stretching and targets flexibility.