This asana can be translated as ‘the legs spread back stretch pose’.
Sit with your legs straight and spread apart. Clasp your hands behind your back. This is the starting position. Twist your trunk slightly to the right. Keeping your arms straight, push them upwards behind your back. Simultaneously, bend forwards and try to touch your head to your right knee. This is the final position. Stay in the final position for as long as is comfortable. Then return to the starting position. Repeat the same movement on the left side.
Take the same starting position as variation 1, with the hands clasped behind the back. While raising your arms behind your head, try to touch the ground directly in front of your body with the forehead. This is the final position. Return to the starting position.
Take the same starting position as the other two variations, but do not clasp your hands behind your back. Bend forwards and grasp your big toes with your hands. Try to touch the floor directly in front of the body with your forehead. This is the final position. Remain in the final position for some time, then return to the starting position.
Breathing for all three variations
Breathe in deeply in the starting position. Breathe out as you bend forwards. Breathe slowly and deeply in the final position. Inhale as you return to the starting position. If you remain in the final position for a short period of time, retain your breath instead.
These three variations are more difficult than the basic form of paschimottanasana, and should not be attempted till you have mastered the basic form.