The seated forward bend posture known as Paschimottanasana (also known as “Seated Forward Bend Pose”) has the upper body bent forward over the legs with the forehead resting on the knees or below by leaning the arms and gripping the wrists beyond the outstretched feet.
Given this information, it is highly advised to conduct a warm-up yoga exercise to loosen up
the spine and those tight hamstrings. In Paschimottanasana, leaning forward is equivalent to bowing and humility, denoting graceful retirement. This also assists in balancing the chakras and opening up the body’s energy channels, enabling us to draw energy from within and awaken our inner selves.
Therefore, Seated Forward Fold Pose provides a wonderful opportunity to practice Pratyahara
on a spiritual level (the 5th limb of yoga, which means to withdraw the senses from the outside world and turn your attention inward).
Steps for Seated Forward Bend Pose:
1. Start in the staff pose (Dandasana), perched on the edge of a folded blanket. Your hands or fingertips should be pressed to the floor next to your hips while you push your heels away from your body.
2. Inhale. Exhale and bend forward from the hip while maintaining a long front torso. Without arching your back, lengthen your spine and fold toward your legs.
3. As long as they let it, extend your hands outward along the outside of each leg. Hold the sides of your feet with hands, if possible.
4. Lift and stretch your front torso somewhat with each inhale, and release more fully into the front bend with each exhale.
If you are holding your feet, elevate them off the ground by bending your elbows to the sides.
5. Hold the position for 1-3 minutes. Release your feet and rise. Draw your tailbone into your pelvis as you inhale to raise your torso.
Benefits of Seated Forward Bend Pose:
• Lengthen, Strengthen and Stretch: Hamstrings, calves, gluteus, pelvic and back muscles
experience a strong stretch when practicing Paschimottanasana by bending right from the
pelvic area onto the outstretched legs. The forward bend elongates the spine from the cervical
to the lumbar, strengthening the back’s muscles and spine.
In the final posture, the wrists are gripped in front of the extended feet, strengthening the
shoulders and enabling the practitioner to bring the chest forward with each breath. This
makes the spine more flexible.
Additionally, bending forward onto the outstretched legs stimulates the abdominal muscles,
improving core strength, knee and hip joints, and the tissues and muscles surrounding them.
• Flexibility and Range of Motion: The forward bend in Paschimottanasana opens the lower
back and causes a severe stretch in the hamstrings, gluteus, hips, and lower back.
However, with practice and longer holds, the range of motion and flexibility of the affected
muscles and joints can be increased, which can help students get ready for more difficult
forward bends like Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend Pose, Single Leg Forward Bend Pose,
Standing Forward Fold Pose, and similar ones.
• Chest, Diaphragm, and Breath: When the abdominal and core muscles
in Paschimottanasana are tight, breathing might be difficult. However, the kids’ breathing will
naturally improve when they are told to open their chest and ribcage, extend their arms, and
• Awareness and Attention: Making conscious attempts to keep the back flat, the chest wide,
and the shoulders broad helps with focus and memory. Basic awareness is crucial because of
the severity of this activity, which strains the spine, chest, and abdominal cavities. They will
be deliberately assisted in maintaining a light and relaxed body, improving their breathing,
and gaining a sense of focus and concentration thanks to this breath-body-mind link.
• Energising, Relieving and Relaxing: Deep, deliberate breathing helps Paschimottanasana practitioners relax their lower back, hips, and pelvis while maintaining the natural space between their vertebrae that allows for the unimpeded passage of prana (places where unwanted energies get stored).
• Stimulation and Organs: When the forehead is resting on the knees or lower in the final
posture, the chest and core are compressed, putting pressure on the abdomen and stimulating
the liver, kidneys, ovaries, and uterus.
Additionally, it tones and massages the pelvic and abdominal organs, preventing them from
becoming sluggish. If done frequently, it may even aid in digestive improvement.
• Therapeutic, Healing, and Ails: Leaning forward while keeping a flat back strengthens the
lower back, making it possible to incorporate it into yoga sequences to prevent or treat mild
sciatica difficulties as well as neck and shoulder pains that are sometimes brought on by bad
• Balance and Emotion: Leaning forward in Paschimottanasana is emotionally equivalent to
bowing and humility, which denotes a gentle withdrawal. As a result, the Root Chakra, Sacral
Chakra, and Manipura Chakra are better balanced and more active. These chakras inspire us
to draw energy from within to awaken our inner selves and regulate our emotions.
Thus, by releasing a tiny amount of stress with each breath, this practice of submitting assists
in bringing the mind and heart to a tranquil condition.
• Others: This posture will relieve muscle stress in runners and athletes because of the
vigorous lower body stretch. This position, a part of Power Yoga sequences, can help tone the
body by removing extra fat from the thighs and abdomen.
This stance, which has a calming quality, can be taught to students suffering from migraines.
• Level-up Postures: After practicing Paschimottanasana regularly, students can graduate to
advanced poses such as Seated Straddle Pose, Triangle
Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana, and Monkey Pose Forward Bend.
Contraindications to Seated Forward Bend Pose
- Injury and Surgery: Students who have recently had hip or abdominal surgery or have
injuries to their knees, hips, pelvis, shoulders, rib cage, or spine should stay away
from this position.
- Physical Strength and Weakness: Students should be guided into this posture practice
with additional caution if they have tight hamstrings, weak ankles, or weak knees.
Even though this might not be a contraindication, caution should be exercised to
prevent harm or discomfort.
- Lack of Body-Breath Connection: This position should not be encouraged in students
who lack body-breath connections.
- Even children with asthma or other respiratory conditions should begin the exercise
slowly and stick with it while being guided by an experienced teacher.
- Others: Pregnant ladies should avoid this position since it puts too much strain on