Paschimottanasana (Back Stretching Pose)

Starting Position

  •  Sit on the floor with your legs outstretched and feet together. Place your hands on your knees.


  • Try to touch your forehead to your knees without straining. This is the final position.
  • Hold this position for a comfortable duration.

Returning to the Starting Position

  • Slowly return to the starting position.
  • This completes one round.


  • Inhale in the starting position.
  • Exhale slowly while bending forward.
  • Inhale while holding the static position.
  • Inhale while bringing your trunk further towards your legs.
  • Breathe slowly and deeply in the final position, or hold your breath if holding for a short time.
  • Inhale as you return to the starting position


  • Beginners can perform up to 5 rounds, staying in the final position for a brief period.
  • Advanced practitioners may hold the final position for up to 5 minutes.


  • Physical awareness on the abdomen, relaxation of the back and leg muscles, or focus on the slow breathing process.
  • Spiritual awareness of swadhisthana chakra (sacral center).


  • Paschimottanasana should precede or follow backward bending asanas like setu asana, chakrasana, bhujangasana, or matsyasana.


  • Individuals with slipped disc, sciatica, or hernia should avoid practicing paschimottanasana.


  • Stretches hamstring muscles and increases hip joint flexibility.
  • Tones and massages the entire abdominal and pelvic region, including organs like the liver, pancreas, spleen, uro-genital system, kidneys, and adrenal glands.
  • Aids in weight reduction in the abdominal area and enhances circulation to the spine’s nerves and muscles.

Practice Note

  •  Paschimottanasana can also begin by inhaling and raising your arms, then exhaling into the forward bend, instead of sliding your hands down your legs.

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