Paschimothana is one of the toughest asanas, and it relates to an important and sensitive part of the human body. It is a highly beneficial and effective asana. “Paschima’ means ‘west’ and ‘utthan’ refers to ‘reinvigoration’ or ‘awakening’. This word also means ‘stretching out’. The part of the body that takes immediate impact of this asana is the spinal cord and as one regularly performs this asana, it becomes more supple and elastic. Relating to this asana ‘paschima’ means the ‘dorsal or backside’. This yoga pose is called Seated Forward Bend.
Method / Technique of Paschimottanasana
- Sit on the ground and extend the legs forward. The important aspect of this asana is, the knees should remain straight, and they should not bend at any stage of the asana.
- The thigh also must remain straight. Bend forward slowly and hold both the toes with your hands.
- Bend and the head and trunk and try to touch the knee. Exhale slowly in the process. You are expected to remain in this position for about 20 seconds or at your comfort level. Holding the position is important. Some bounce back and forth and no advantage will accrue out of this practice.
- The legs should remain in touch with the ground throughout the process.
- Inhale and revert to the original position slowly.
Physical/therapeutic benefits of Paschimottanasana
- Stomach takes the maximum impact of the exercise. Those with the bulge may find it impossible to perform this asana in the initial stages. Hasten slowly and keep up the practice. It will help to remove obesity.
- This asana is a boon to the diabetic, as it activates liver, kidney, pancreas, and resists the advancement of the disease.
- Helps to tone up the nervous system. Abdominal area gets good exercise. Tones up the spine.
- Those with kidney problems should begin this asana cautiously, and it needs to be performed in a phased manner, without putting extra pressure on the kidney area.
- Generates even flow in blood circulation; all parts of the body get exercised with the bends and twists involved in this asana. The diseases of urinary bladder and prostate gland are taken care of. Other diseases benefited by this asana are sciatica, gout, piles, bad cold and nocturnal emission.
- Helps to cure skin diseases.
- Has a great psychological impact. Controls one of the worst human negativity—short temper. Restores mental peace and those with depression and have the problem of high blood pressure should practice this asana regularly, with a cool poise.
- Good effect on the digestive system and hence cures indigestion and constipation.
- Increases the semen flow and is supposed to cure impotency.
- The flow of the vital energy through Sushumna nadi is regulated with the union of prana and apana. Point of concentration while performing this asana is Manipur Chakra.
This asana relates from the head to heal. This is supposed to be a specialized asana. Heart and blood pressure patients may not do this asana. Those having acute backache, slip disk, asthma, and diarrhea should also avoid this asana. Consult an expert Yoga teacher, before attempting this asana, if you have any one or more of the mentioned problems. For ladies this is not an asana during menstruation and pregnancy.