Paschimottanasana - Seated Forward Bend

The name comes from the Sanskrit words paschima meaning "west" or "back" or "back of body",uttana meaning "intense stretch" and asana meaning "posture".Paschimottanasana is one of the classical asanas in Hatha Yoga. It has a many benefits which cover all the body systems.
Benefits : Stretches your shoulders, spine and hamstring muscles.
Stimulates your kidneys, liver and uterus.
Results in better digestion, increases your appetite.
Good for reducing weight and obesity.
Highly beneficial in cases of high BP, sinusitis and asthma.
Relieves symptoms of dysmenorrheal and menopause.
Soothes anxiety headache and helps reduce fatigue.
Relieves stress and tension by calming the brain.

People who suffer from slipped disc or sciatica should not practice this asana.
Note: Beginners: Put padding/folded blanket under the sit bones if necessary. Imagine the belly coming to rest on your thighs, rather than the nose coming to the knees.This will help you keep the spine long instead of curving over.
Avoid doing this asana. Read this section carefully before you do it.
If you are suffering from Asthma, then do not practice this asana.
Those suffering from Diarrhea should avoid this kind of asanas.
In case of severe knee pain, injury or surgery one is not supposed to perform such activities.
In case of sever lower back pain, you should not practice Paschimottanasana.

How to do this asana:

Sit with legs straight and wide apart. Hands rest on the thighs.Inhaling raise both arms above the head.Exhaling bend forward from the hips, keep the back as straight as possible and grasp the toes. Pull the upper body even further forward until the forehead touches the floor.Stay here and breathe for 1-3 minutes, then return to Staff Pose.
Step 1: Sit down on the floor in Dandasana position.Spread your legs straight out in front of your body.Keep you back/spine straight.
Step 2: Place your hands besides your body in such a way that your palms touch the ground.Press your palms firmly on the floor.
Step 3: Bend your body in the forward direction from your hips. Do not bend your body from your waist.
Step 4: As you lean forwards, just slide your hands in the same direction and stretch them.You can even catch your toes with your hands and then try to lean forward by sliding your head over your thighs.
Step 5: Place your head on the upper side of your calf muscles. If possible try to touch your foot with your head as you lean forward.
Step 6: Breathe normally and remain steady in this position for about 15-30 seconds and then come back to dandasana

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