Asana: Paschimottanasana

1 Jan

Paschimottanasana (double leg forward fold) is a seated forward fold.

This pose stretches the hamstring muscles, tones the deep abdominals (through breathing) and strengthens the trunk.  Breathe slowly and fully as you practice, expanding on the inhale and drawing navel toward spine on the exhale; sit up and bend the knees to rest.  Notice sensation in your body, and please come out of the pose if you feel pain.


  • Rests and massages the heart
  • Soothes adrenal glands
  • Tones kidneys, bladder, pancreas
  • Activates sluggish liver, improves digestion
  • Stimulates reproductive system
  • Strengthens the spine
  • Tones the core muscles
  • Build focus and endurance
  • Lengthens the hamstrings and calves
  • Tones the quadriceps

Read an article by Roger Cole, PhD, on the stretch reflex and how to overcome the body’s natural protection device I mentioned in the video: Five Ways to Calm the Stretch Reflex.

Cole also offers excellent advice on finding balance in Paschimottanasana in Round Control.  The most common tendency for beginners I see is to round the spine in this pose, which is why I taught it as a neutral-spine hip hinge.  However, this is not the full pose, and as you will read in Cole’s article, balance between rounding and neutral is where practitioners can find the best benefit.


Approach these asanas slowly and mindfully. If something hurts, back out of the pose gently and reassess. Do not ever push through pain. The techniques and suggestions presented in these videos are not intended to substitute for medical advice. Consult your physician before beginning any new exercise program. Jessie Tierney and YogAscent/Horseback Yoga videos and website assume no responsibility for injuries suffered while practicing these techniques. If you are new to exercise or yoga, are elderly, have any chronic or recurring conditions such as high blood pressure, neck or back pain, arthritis, heart disease, and so on, seek your physician’s advice before practicing to determine necessary precautions.

One Response to “Asana: Paschimottanasana”

  1. Gede Prama January 1, 2014 at 6:47 pm #

    Thank you very much for following the blog, I really look forward to reading your posts and happy new year 2014. Gede Prama 🙂


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