Paschimottanasana: Seated Forward Bend Pose

Paschimottanasana: Seated Forward Bend Pose

Paschimottanasana (POSH-ee-moh-tan-AHS-ah-nah) invites space to the hamstrings and lower back as well as the mind. While there’s no need to touch your toes in this pose, practicing regularly can help lengthen the muscles in the legs and back to encourage flexibility and ease.

Philosophy + Origin

Paschimottanasana is one of the earliest-known yoga postures, dating back to the Yoga Pradipika. This pose is commonly known as seated forward bend or seated forward fold, but is also referred to as the stretch of the West, referring to the back side of the body.

ADJUSTMENTS/MODIFICATIONS:

  • Place a pillow, bolster, or chair under your forehead for a more restorative variation.
  • Option to sit in a chair with legs extended, then hinge from the hips to move into an accessible variation of seated forward bend.

STEP-BY-STEP:

  1. Sit on the floor with your legs extended. Flex your feet so your toes are pointed up, then press through your heels to lengthen your legs.
  2. Extend your spine by lifting your sternum up and broadening across your collarbones.
  3. Hinge from your hips while keeping the front of your torso long and extended. Draw your tailbone back as your chest reaches forward toward your toes. 
  4. Find more depth by continuing to lengthen the front body and encouraging the sternum forward. If moving toward the connection of forehead to shins, the progression is lower belly to thighs, then upper belly, then ribs and finally forehead to shins.
  5. Allow the breath to move fluidly with you in the pose, using each inhale to lengthen and each exhale to hinge deeper.
  6. Hold the pose for up to 3 minutes before slowly releasing back to seated.

PREPARATORY POSES:

SEQUENTIAL POSES:

COUNTER POSES:

  • Corpse pose | Savasana
  • Supported fish pose
  • Spinal twist | Jathara parivartanasana

PHYSICAL BENEFITS:

  • Stretches hamstrings, spine, and lower back.
  • Thought to help relieve symptoms of PMS and menopause.
  • Thought to ease insomnia.

SANSKRIT:

  • Pashima = west
  • Uttana = intense stretch
  • Asana = pose


Virabhadrasana III: Warrior III Pose

Virabhadrasana III: Warrior III Pose

ADJUSTMENTS    |     BENEFITS   |     SEQUENCING    |     SANSKRIT    |     STEPS

Warrior III, or virabhadrasana (veer-ah-bah-DRAHS-ah-nah) III, is a challenging pose of balance and strength.

Philosophy + Origin

A fierce warrior, Virabhadra is often depicted as having a thousand heads, eyes, and feet. Draped in the skin of a tiger, this warrior wields a thousand clubs. In Virabhadra’s origin story, he is created from a single dreadlock from Shiva’s head, a manifestation of the rage he feels upon feeling like his true love has died. The shape of virabhadrasana III comes from this story, the moment when Virabhadra beheads the king Daksha and extends forward to place the head on a stake.

Despite the outward appearance and violent origin, this powerful pose is actually a great reminder of our own inner strength and the measures we would take in the name of true love.

Read Article

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