How To Do Paschimottanasana Pose | Seated Forward Fold Pose

How to Do Paschimottanasana Pose

If you’re after a gentle Yoga pose to enhance your overall well-being, look no further than Paschimottanasana. This ancient Asana (pose/posture), often referred to as the seated forward bend, is known for its ability to release tension, increase flexibility and calm the mind through introspection. In this guide, we’ll show you how to do Paschimottanasana and receive its many benefits.

How to Do Paschimottanasana Pose

Follow these simple steps to experience Paschimottanasana with grace and ease:

  1. Find a comfortable spot on the Earth. A Yoga mat or a soft blanket on the ground to provide cushioning for your body is a great idea.
  2. Sit with your legs extended, stretched out in front of you. Gently untuck your sit bones, so you can feel your spine lengthen. Place your hands by your sides, palms or fingertips resting on the mat.
  3. Flex your feet back towards your shins. Engaging your leg muscles in this way will create a strong foundation for the pose. 
  4. If you find this difficult already, bring a bend to your knees, or sit on a rolled up blanket.
  5. Take a deep breath in, filling your lungs with fresh air and lengthen the spine once more.
  6. As you exhale, begin to fold forward from the hip crease. Maintain a long spine as you gradually lower your chest toward your legs. Reach your hands toward your feet, ankles or thighs, aiming to grasp them without straining. 
  7. Keep the chin gently tucked so your neck remains long. 
  8. Once you’ve reached your edge in the forward fold, release any tension and surrender to the pose. 
  9. Remain in Paschimottanasana for 5 to 10 breaths, breathing in and out through your nose if you can. Focus on breathing deeply, feeling the stretch in the back of your legs and releasing any sensations in your body.
  10. You can even bring a focus or intention of self-reflection here. 
  11. To move out of the pose, inhale deeply, engage your core, and slowly lift your torso back to an upright seated position. Take a moment to notice how you feel within the mind and body.
  12. Once you’ve tried this, you might like to try Gas Relieving Pose

How to Do Paschimottanasana Pose

The Benefits of Paschimottanasana Pose

Paschimottanasana offers many benefits for the body and mind. It’s a pose that we enjoy often within our MerryBody Online Yoga classes as well as our MerryBody Online Yoga Teacher Training. We would usually sequence this pose at the end of a class, as it allows the students to calm the mind and prepare for final rest. If you love learning about the Asana (the postures), if you’ve ever wondered why Yoga makes you feel so good, be sure to keep your eye out for our next Yoga Teacher Training cohort. This isn’t just for people who want to teach, it’s for those who wish to dive deeper into their personal practice and deeper into themselves. 

Including this pose into your Yoga practice can help you:

  1. Stretch the spine. As you fold forward, Paschimottanasana elongates the spine and releases tension in the neck, shoulders, and back. 
  2. Increase flexibility. Regular practice of Paschimottanasana improves the flexibility of the hamstrings, calves and lower back. 
  3. Stimulate the digestive system. The forward fold in Paschimottanasana gently compresses the abdomen, stimulating digestion
  4. Calms the mind. Paschimottanasana is an introspective pose that calms the mind and promotes relaxation. As you relax into the forward fold, you will release stress, anxiety and mental tension, creating a sense of peace and clarity.
  5. Improve circulation. The forward bend in Paschimottanasana enhances blood flow to the pelvic region. It also increases circulation to the legs and feet, which can relieve swelling.
  6. Paschimottanasana encourages introspection and self-reflection. As you surrender to the forward fold and connect with your inner self you can create a space for self-acceptance and compassion, which is the overall intention with all of our MerryBody Yoga classes.  

Incorporating Paschimottanasana into your Yoga Practice

To enjoy the benefits of Paschimottanasana, always remember:

  1. Modify the pose as needed. If you have tight hamstrings or lower back issues, it’s important to modify the pose to suit your needs. Sit on props like blocks or blankets to support your spine or bend your knees slightly to reduce strain on the lower back and tension in the hamstrings. 
  2. Practise regularly! Consistency is key. Aim to include this pose in your Yoga practice 1-2 times a week to experience its benefits.
  3. Listen to your body. As with any Yoga pose, it’s important that you listen to your body. Avoid forcing yourself into the forward fold and instead honour your body’s current level of flexibility. Every day is different so be sure to show up with curiosity.  

Ok! Are you ready to roll out your Yoga mat?!  If you’d like to try out a class, we have a free Yin Yoga Class available for you right here. It’s a 25 minute class that will encourage you to stretch your body and relax your mind. 

Always merrymaking,

Emma + Carla

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