• Mar. 30, 2022

Paschimottanasana – The Yoga Secret to a Supple Back

Do you spend majority of day sitting in a chair? If this is the scenario then a stiff back is inevitable. Moreover, a lack of physical exercise only adds to the problem. In the long run this impacts the mobility of your body. The ancient art of yoga has the perfect solution for this – Paschimottanasana.

Yoga has been around for decades. It has many techniques and methods to help you enjoy good health. But, it is the Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana) that stands out when it comes to relieving you from stiff back. Want to know why? The information below will give you the answer.

Paschimottanasana – A Brief Introduction

Paschimottanasana is an intense back stretching yoga pose. Do you know the other name for this yoga pose? It is the Seated Forward Bend. This yoga asana gives the entire back part of your body a gentle stretch.

Feeling tired and exhausted? Try this yoga asana. It has a soothing effect not only on your body but also on your mind.

Seated Forward Bend pose stretches:

  • Back and Core
  • Arms and Shoulders
  • Hips and Thighs
  • Calves and Hamstrings

The Hatha Yoga Pradipika has a detailed explanation on the Paschimottanasana. Read down to know.

Paschimottanasana – According to Hatha Yoga Pradipika

The Seated Forward Bend is an ancient yoga asana. Hatha Yoga Pradipika has the earliest mention of Paschimottanasana.

According to Chapter 1, Verse 30 of Hatha Yoga Pradipika -

“Prasarya Padau Bhuvi Danda-Rupau, Dorbhyam Padaghra-Dvitayam Ghrhitva Januparinyasta-Lalata-Deso, Vasedidam Paschimatanamahuh”

This means –

“Having stretched your feet to the ground, like a stick, and having grasped the toes of both the feet with both the hands, when one sits with his forehead resting on the thighs, it is called Paschima Tana (Paschimottanasana).”

The verse above offers you the instructions for practicing Paschimottanasana without any hassle.

That said, let us now see how you can practice the Seated Forward Bend pose with ease. The Paschimottanasana is a basic yoga exercise. It is not very hard to perform.

Let us first see what you need to do to prepare for this yoga pose.

Preparing for Seated Forward Bend

  • Sit on your sitting bones. Stretch your spine and keep it straight.
  • Stretch your legs in front of you. Keep them straight and flat on the floor.
  • Keep both toes pointing towards the ceiling. Your feet should be together.
  • Keep both palms on the floor. Keep them on either side of your hips.

This is the Staff pose. Yoga experts recommend that you take 2 to 3 deep breaths with this asana.

Now it is time for you to get into the Paschimottanasana. Do you know there are two ways you can get into this asana? Yoga experts have the answer.

Method 1

  • Exhale. Grab your toes with your hands.
  • Keep your spine stretched and straight.
  • Practice few deep breaths.
  • Exhale. Bring your trunk forward.
  • Bend the elbows. Touch your forehead to the knees.

Method 2

  • Inhale. Raise and stretch both arms overhead.
  • Keep both palms facing each other.
  • Exhale. Bend forward from the waist.
  • Try to bring your chin towards the toes.
  • Place your hands on the toes.
  • Place your forehead on the knees.

Note: In both methods you have to keep your spine and arms completely straight.

How Do I Come Out of Paschimottanasana?

To come out of the Seated Forward Bend, there are a few simple steps you have to follow.

  • Take slow and deep breaths.
  • Inhale. Lose the grip of your hands.
  • Come into the sitting position.
  • Exhale. Drop both arms.
  • Relax your body.

But, there are times when you should avoid the Paschimottanasana. Sometimes you have to follow a little precaution.

Precautions and Contradictions for Paschimottanasana

  • Do not try to cross the bending limits of your body. Stretch and bend your body according to what is comfortable. Overstretching can cause harm.
  • Seated Forward Bend asana engages your stomach. Never do this yoga asana on a full stomach.
  • Do not practice the Paschimottanasana if you suffer from slip disc, hernia, or spondylitis.
  • Pregnant women should never do this yoga asana. It puts undue pressure on your abdomen and pelvis. It can harm the growing fetus.
  • If you have a deep injury in your knees, thighs, arms, spine, or shoulder then do not practice the Seated Forward Bend pose.


The Paschimottanasana is the best yoga exercise to maintain good spinal health. You should enroll in a certified yoga school to learn this yoga asana from experienced yoga teachers.

Also Read: Kumbhaka Pranayama