Paschimottanasana-West Posterior Stretch Pose

English Name: West Posterior Stretch Pose
Sanskrit Name: Paschimottanasana

Step by step instructions

1.Sit in Dandasana with your legs together and extend out in front of you. Flex your toes towards you and engage your legs by firming your kneecaps and quadriceps towards your hips and pull your hips back and away from the thighs. Shift the top of the thighs inwards slightly and press them into the floor. You should be sitting straight up on your sitbones with your spine straight.

2.Inhale to extend your spine upwards and stretch your arms up over your head. Following the direction of your hands, raise the back, hips, breast bone and head upwards together
with the arms.

3.Exhale and fold forward hinging from the hips. Keep your spine as elongated as possible and reach towards your feet with your hands grapping your big toes with the first three fingers. With each exhalation, widen the elbows to the sides to expand the chest. Stay for 5 breaths.
4.Inhale to look up and bring your torso up, exhale, repeat the forward bending movement. This time, placing your hands at the side of your soles. Rest your head on your shins. Keep your neck muscles passive. With each inhalation, lengthen the spine and with each exhalation, allow the body to bend forward deeper. Hold for 5 breaths.

5.Repeat number 4 but this time, bind your wrist with your right hand holding to the left wrist. The abdomen should fall closer towards the thighs, the chest towards the knees and the head towards the feet. Hold for 5 breaths.

6.Repeat number 5 but this time, place your hands on the floor. Hold for 5 breaths.
7.To exit the pose, inhale to lift the head and keeping the arms by the side of the ears. Keep the spine neutral while bringing the body upwards. Contract the arm and back muscles and lift the torso away from the thighs.

8.Exhale and slow lower the arms by the side of the body. Position your body in Dandasana.


1.Place a blanket/towel below the buttocks.
2.Use a belt to reach the toes.

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Muscles activated

1.Hip flexors
2.Abdominal muscles
3.Hamstring group
4.Erector spinae

-stretches the calves, hamstrings, gluteal muscles, back muscles
-elongates the spine
-increase flexibility in the hip joints
-tones the abdominal and pelvic region which include the liver, kidneys, pancreas, spleen, adrenal glands, ovaries and uterus
-massages the internal organs and digestive organs
-improves digestive situations like nausea and constipation
-stimulates blood circulation to the nerves and muscles of the spine
-helps conditions of sciatica
-alleviates disorder of reproductive (menstruation) and urinary system
-reduces the fatty deposits in the abdomen
-calms and soothes the mind
-improves concentration
-enhances the Swadhisthana Chakra and Manipuraka Chakra
-balances the flow of prana within your body

Precaution & Contraindication
-do not let your thighs lift off the floor as the lifting might risk injury in the muscles at the back of the knees.
-if you suffer from a back injury, only practise this pose under the supervision of an experienced teacher.

-do not practise this asana if you have asthma, bronchitis or diarrhoea.
-do not practise this pose if you have cervical spondylosis, spinal injuries such as slipped disc or sciatica.
-pregnant women should not practise this pose.

Counter Pose
-Backbends eg. Setu Bandhasana (bridge pose)
-Supported twists eg. Ardha Matstyendrasana (half-seated spinal twist)

Name: Penn Ho (200 hr Yoga TTC 07/Weekend)


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