How To Do The Prasarita Padottanasana And What Are Its Benefits October 5, 2016

Prasarita – Wide/Stretched Out, Pada – Foot, Uttana – Intense Stretch, Asana – Pose; Pronounced As – pra-sa-REE-tah pah-doh-tahn-AHS-anna.

When you practice this asana, you will feel your body heal and expand, especially after you have done exercises like cycling, walking, and running. This asana is usually practiced at the end of the standing poses and serves as a good preparatory pose for inversions. This asana is a calming forward bend that stretches both the back and the hamstrings.

Everything You Need To Know About The Prasarita Padottanasana

  1. What You Should Know Before You Do The Asana
  2. How To Do The Prasarita Padottanasana
  3. Precautions And Contraindications
  4. Beginner’s Tip
  5. Advanced Pose Variation
  6. The Benefits Of The Wide-Legged Forward Bend
  7. The Science Behind The Prasarita Padottanasana
  8. Preparatory Poses
  9. Follow-Up Poses

What You Should Know Before You Do The Asana

This asana must be done only on an empty stomach. You need to make sure to have your meals four to six hours before your practice and give your body enough time to digest your food. Ideally, there needs to be a 10-12 hour gap between your meals and practice, which is why it is best advised to practice this asana early in the morning. However, owing to busy schedules, a lot of people find it hard to work out in the morning. Such people may practice yoga in the evening. Your bowels also must be clean while you practice this asana.

Level: Basic
Style: Vinyasa Flow
Duration: 30 to 60 seconds
Repetition: None
Stretches: Vertebral column, Legs
Strengthens: Vertebral column, Legs

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How To Do The Prasarita Padottanasana

  1. To begin this asana, stand at the front of your mat in the Tadasana.
  1. Inhale. Take a step backward with your right foot so that your body faces the long edge of the mat.
  1. Stretch your hands out such that they are at shoulder height and right above your feet. Then, bring your hands to your hips.
  1. Inhale, and lengthen your chest and heart skywards, such that your torso is stretched as well. Exhale and bend forward until your fingertips touch the mat in front of you.
  1. As you keep stretching, bring the crown of your head to the ground, and push the buttocks towards the ceiling. Your abdominal muscles must also engage with the lengthening of your spine.
  1. As for your hands, you could either place them underneath your legs or on your mat, next to your head, with your elbows bent. You could also hold your big toes with your fingers.
  1. Hold the pose for up to a minute. Breathe deep and slow. Then, walk your hands forward until the torso is parallel to the floor. With full spinal engagement, bring your hands to your hips. Inhale and lift up your torso. Come back to the Tadasana.

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Precautions And Contraindications

These are some points of caution you must keep in mind before you do this asana.

  1. Avoid this asana at all costs if you have pain or an injury in the lower back.
  1. Also, avoid this asana if you have sinus congestion.

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Beginner’s Tips

As beginners, it might be hard for you to touch your crown to the floor. Push yourself only as much as you can. Use a blanket, bolster, or a padded block to support your head in this asana.

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Advanced Pose Alterations

To advance in this pose, use a block and work your arms while you are in this pose. Just set a block on one side of the mat on the floor in front of you. As you lean forward, grip the block such that it is in between your forearms, just below your elbows. Pick it up. To complete the pose, place your palms on the floor, and squeeze the block between the forearms. The inner side of the hands must be pressed firmly on the floor. This arm action will serve as a great preparatory pose for the arm stands.

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The Benefits Of The Wide-Legged Forward Bend

These are some amazing benefits of wide legged forward bend.

  1. The back, inner part of the legs, and the spine are stretched and strengthened.
  1. The abdominal organs are toned, and therefore, digestion is improved.
  1. The brain is calmed.
  1. It relieves backaches, headaches, fatigue, and mild depression.

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The Science Behind The Prasarita Padottanasana

When you feel like you are in a state of balance, a middle ground between feeling overcharged and empty, wherein you feel relaxed, energized, and happy, this state is called Sattva. It is the key to find spiritual illumination and radiant health. In this state, you are alert, yet at ease; you are uplifted, yet grounded.

When you practice the Prasarita Padottanasana, you get the opportunity to explore your Sattva. You are clear-headed and in harmony. You feel the earthiness on your lower body as your mind slips into tranquility. Your legs are constantly challenged to stay steady, strong, and rooted. Your heart and head are calmed and cleansed. This asana is, therefore, also used as a balm for anxious nerves.

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Preparatory Poses

Adho Mukha Svanasana
Uttanasana
Supta Baddha Konasana

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Follow-Up Poses

Baddha Koṇāsana
Utthita Parsvakonasana
Janu Sirsasana
Paschimottanasana
Bakasana

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Now that you know how to do Prasarita Padottanasana, what are you waiting for? Dive into a state of peace as your body is alert to its surroundings. Enjoy the contrasts and the best of both worlds with this asana.

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