Paschimottanasana (half)

Asana name: Half Forward Bend Pose

Sanskrit name: Ardha Paschimottanasan

Meaning: Half Forward Bend Pose

General Benefits:
It stretches the muscles of the back side of the body from head to the ankles. It contracts the muscles of the anterior part of the body. This creates pressure on the thorax and abdomen, improving the process of respiration and the functions of the intra-abdominal glands, especially the secretions. Improves the flexibility of the lumbar region, the hips and thigh (back side of thighs and calves). Improves the blood circulation in the back region and tones the spinal nerves. Improves alignment of the vertebral column. Removes the fat from the hips, the abdomen and thigh region. Loosens the hips and knees for meditative positions. It prepares the body for the full forward bend, Paschimottanasan.

Benefits for Women:
Menstrual disorders

Therapeutic Applications:
Weak digestion, sluggish liver, diabetes, colitis, kidney problems

Taking the Position:
In sitting position bend the left leg and place the sole of the left foot on the inside of the right thigh. Inhale. While exhaling hold the big toe of the right foot with the left hand and encircle the right arm around the waist. Exhale, slowly bend forward bringing the forehead towards the knee or shin. Maintain the asana, breathe normally.

Releasing the Positions:
Exhale and while inhaling raise the body from the hips. Return both hands beside the body. Straighten the left leg and return to sitting position. Practice on the opposite side.

Anatomical Focus:
Abdomen, entire back, hamstrings

Anatomical Awareness:
Focus on lower back, abdomen

Keep the right leg straight. Place the right arm behind encircling the lower back, palm facing outwards. Try to touch the forehead to the knee.

Bend the right leg. Overstrain the neck while bending forward. Overstrain the knees.

Precautions & Contraindications:
While bending downwards the knees and thighs may raise, this should be avoided.

Variations & Tips:
It is natural for one side of the body to be tighter than the other due to the asymmetries of the body. Not everyone will have the bent knee on the floor due to flexibility. This is not a problem but there should not be strain when holding the position. One can place the sole of the foot a little further down on the inner knee if necessary. If it is difficult to hold the toes one can place the hand on the ankle, shin or knee. One can also use both hands if needed.

Preparatory Poses:
Paschimottanasan Preparatory Movements. PM 6 and 9. Grinding the mill movement 5 times each direction. Legs apart still, bend forward and touch the right foot with the left hand looking over the right shoulder, repeast 5 times on each side. Padmasan Yogam

Follow-up Poses:
Paschimottanasan. Ardha Padma Bandhasan. Eka Pada Hastasan