PASCHIMOTTANASANA (BACK STRETCHING POSE) – Methods

Method 1

Remain in the final pose for some time. Then slowly move your head towards the thighs, keeping your forehead in contact with the legs. As you push the head backwards, try to arch the back upwards as much as possible. Simultaneously move your hands backwards and hold the side of the knees, with the forearms beside the thighs. Try to accentuate the curvature of the back by using the arms as levers. Hold the final position for as long as you can. The basic practice of paschimottanasana produces the maximum elongation of the spine and separates the individual vertebrae. This alternative practice produces the best possible flexion of the spine.

Method 2

Stay in the final pose (stage 4) of the basic technique for some time. Then breathe in and raise your head and shoulders.

Simultaneously, you have to curve the spine by pushing the abdomen downwards, so that it remains in contact with the top of the thighs. Try to raise your head and shoulders as high as possible, but while keeping your abdomen and navel as low as possible. Stay in this raised pose for as long as you can while holding the breath. Then exhale and return to the final pose of the basic technique. Hold your breath for a short time and then repeat. Do this 3 times. This additional practice accentuates the influence on the spine, as well as all the other benefits of paschimottanasana.

Variations

There are many variations of paschimottanasana. The following are a few of the most important ones.

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