Paschimottanasana is one of the classical asanas. It is derived from the Sanskrit words “Paschima” meaning “your back” and “Uttana” meaning “stretching.” The name translates as “Intense stretch to the West.” It is also known as the intense dorsal stretch pose. In this pose, the legs are outstretched, and the upper body bends towards the lower. This Asana requires a considerable amount of flexibility in the back, abdomen, and legs due to which it is not considered by many to be one of the best Yoga poses for beginners. It is an accomplished Asana.

Paschimottanasana is a powerful teacher. It takes a great amount of mental control to simply stay with the discomfort of the process.


The origin of Paschimottanasana comes from the Yogic tradition of facing the rising Sun to practice Sun Salutations. Hence, the front of the body was known as the “East” side of the body, and the back side was known as the “West” side of the body. So, the real aim of Paschimottanasana is to stretch the whole of the west side of the body i.e. the back of the body.

How to perform:

  1. Take a seat straight with your legs together by extending them before you. Keep your head, neck, and spine erect.
  2. Place your palms on the respective knees.
  3. Bend your head and trunk gradually forward to get the toes with the thumb, index and middle fingers without bending the knees.
  4. Exhale slowly. Touch your head to both of your knees.
  5. Bend the arm and try to touch the elbow to the floor.
  6. Breathe out completely. Holding out your breathe stay in this pose for about a few seconds.
  7. Then slowly return to your starting position.
  8. Start breathing normally.
  9. Repeat this process 3-4 times.


  1. Relieves stress.
  2. Reduces the depositions of fatty acids in the abdomen.
  3. Reduces anxiety, anger.
  4. Increases height.
  5. Balances the menstrual cycles.
  6. Improves flexibility.
  7. Enhances sexual power.


People with Asthma, Diarrhea, back injury, Ulcer, pregnancy should avoid this asana.

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