Paschimottanasana provides a complete stretch to the entire posterior side of the body, from the top of the head to the base of the heels. By stretching and lengthening the spine, this posture calms the brain and relieves the body of the burden of stress. This posture encourages one to look within by internalising the senses.
Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you. Keep your feet together and your hands by your sides.
Inhale and raise your arms above your head, keeping your back as straight as possible.
Slowly exhale and simultaneously bend forward. Try to grasp the big toes or the ankles. Keep your feet together.
Breathe normally and hold the posture for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Tip: Try to bring your forehead to your knees or your stomach to your thighs.
• Stretches the hamstring muscles.
• It tones and massages the abdominal area, including the liver, the pancreas, the spleen, the kidneys and the adrenal glands.
• Helps remove excess weight from the hips and thighs.
• Increases strength and flexibility in the back.
People with a slipped disc or hernia should not practise this posture.