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Prasarita Padottanasana- The Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend Pose

How about touching your head on the floor while standing on your mat? Looks weird and seems difficult. However, if practiced regularly with correct alignment, this asana is not as difficult as it seems. The Prasarita Padottanasana is a calming forward bend pose which stretches your back, hamstrings and expands your body. This pose gives soothing relaxation to your body if practiced after running or walking. In addition to that, it acts as a preparatory pose for inversion poses like Tripod Headstand, Handstand, and Headstand. In Sanskrit, ‘Prasarita’ means Wide or expanded, ‘Pada’ means Foot, ‘Uttana’ means Intense Stretch and ‘Asana’ means Pose. This asana is pronounced as pra-sa-REE-tah pah-doh-tahn-AHS-anna, Sanskrit- प्रसारित पादोत्तनासन. It gives intense stretch to the body starting from back to hips. This asana must be done only on an empty stomach, so that you can expand your body during the posture.

Benefits

  • This pose stretches the hamstrings and strengthens the spine, legs, back, and feet.
  • Tones the abdominal muscles and improves the digestion.
  • Helps to alleviate stress, headaches, depression, and backaches.
  • Opens up your hips and provides relief from shoulder tension and neck.
  • Relaxes your mind and soothes the nervous system.

Precautions & Contradictions

Practitioners who are suffering from congestion in the sinus, lower back pain or injury should avoid this pose. Discuss with your doctor before practicing this yoga pose, if you have any recent or current medical concerns.

Procedure

Prasarita Padottanasana

  • Stand in samasthiti the front of your mat, hands on your waist.
  • Inhale to jump on your right while spreading the feet about 4ft apart.
  • Keeping your hands on the waist, extend the trunk forward from your hips with the exhalation.
  • Touch your fingertips to the floor in line with your feet and with an inhalation, lift your chest one more time to go deeper into the pose.
  • Keep lifting opening your chest and lifting your sitting bones up as you fold further to bring your head toward the floor to touch the mat in between your hands.
  • If your body allows, then reach your hands towards the feet and take a grip of your big toes.
  • To release from this pose, bring the hands back to the waist, inhale gently and come up slowly lifting your chest up as you go.
  • Return to samasthiti.

Variations

The beginners who cannot bring their head all the way down to the floor can use a block to support the head. Use blocks to place your hands if you are not being able to reach the floor with your hands. Practitioners who have mastered this pose can directly come into Tripod Headstand or Sirsasana. From standing, you can also take your hands behind your body, interlace your fingers and extend your knuckles over your head. Advanced practitioners can also bring their knuckles over their head and rests on the floor.  But, remember not to force your body at any moment.

Tips

When you move your body down, ensure to extend forward from your hips and not from the waist. Do not lock your knees, keep them lifted to activate the front part of the thighs. Don’t forget to breathe deeply in this pose to maintain the balance and stability. Beginners might find it difficult to touch their head on the floor. But, don’t put unnecessary pressure on your body – Use the props, otherwise, it will only give you pain. Regular practice can bring the flexibility in you to practice this pose fully.

Conclusion

Mastering this pose requires patience and time. The regular practice of this pose can bring calmness and release your stress and anxiety level. Moreover, it also makes your body flexible and eliminates the stiffness. Remember to breathe deeply during this pose and enjoy the journey of yoga.

 

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