Prasarita Padottanasana C (Spread-Leg Forward Fold Pose C): Steps, Benefits, and Contraindications

Prasarita Padottanasana C (Spread-Leg Forward Fold Pose C) - Sharp Muscle
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Updated: March 5, 2023

The Prasarita Padottanasana C, also known as Wide Leg Forward Bend Pose C, opens your hips, as well as creating strength in your spine and the back of your feet.

It is also great for treating lower back pain, headaches, tiredness, and depression.

Information

Known as:Prasarita Padottanasana C, Spread-Leg Forward Fold Pose C, Standing Intense Spread-Leg Pose C, Intense Leg Stretch Pose C, Feet Spread Intense Stretch Pose C
Sanskrit name:प्रसारित पादोत्तानासन च्
IAST:Prasārita Pādottānāsana C
Pronunciation:prah-sah-REET-ah- Pah-doh-tahn-AA-SUN-aa C
Level:Intermediate
Type:Standing, Forward Bend, Hip openers, Inversions
Total time:30 to 60 seconds
Focus:Shoulders, spine, arms, hips, hips, hamstrings
Drishti:Eyes closed;
Tip of nose
Chakra:Sahasrara Chakra, Ajna Chakra, Manipura Chakra, Swadisthana Chakra, Muladhara Chakra
Indications:Lower back pain, headaches, exhaustion, nervous system, respiratory system
Counterposes:Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend Pose), Ardha matsyendrasana (Half lord of the fishes pose), Eka pada rajakapotasana (King pigeon pose)
Preparatory poses:Adho mukha svanasana (Downward-facing dog pose), Utkata konasana (Goddess Pose), Mandukasana (Frog pose)
Follow-up poses:Upavista konasana (Wide-angle seated forward bend pose), Utthita parsvakonasana (Extended side angle pose), Titibhasana (Firefly pose)
Contraindications:Legs, or hips, or hamstring injury, high blood pressure, modification for lower back pain

Meaning

Prasarita Padottanasana

Prasarita Padottanasana is derived from the Sanskrit name, which is made up of the five words — Prasarita + Pada + Ut + Tan + Asana:

  1. Prasarita” = “stretched out, expanded, spread, with outstretched limbs”
  2. Pada” = “foot”
  3. Ut” = “intense”
  4. Tan” = “to stretch or extend” (compare the Latin verb tendere, “to stretch or extend”)
  5. Asana” = “pose or posture”

In this type, place your fingers behind your back and bring your hands down, towards the ground. Keep the arms straight and spread. Also, you can pick them up, if you feel uncomfortable pulling them.

Apart from the benefits of Prasarita Padottanasana A (Wide Leg Forward Bend Pose A), this yoga pose creates stretch on the arms and shoulders while expanding your chest.

Benefits of Prasarita Padottanasana C (Spread-Leg Forward Fold Pose C)

Prasarita Padottanasana C (Wide Leg Forward Bend Pose C) and its variations are usually performed simultaneously and form part of the Ashtanga Yoga primary series. In Ashtanga yoga, it is done to improve flow, strength, balance, and flexibility.

Apart from the above benefits, given below are some additional physical and mental benefits of this yoga pose, which are listed further:

  1. Physical Benefits:
    • Stretches the arms, spine, shoulders, chest, upper and lower back, hamstrings (inner and back), quadriceps (upper and side), calf muscles
    • Reduces tension in the upper back
    • Strengthens and lengthens the body
    • Aligns the spine
    • Strengthen legs, feet, inner thighs, ankles, abdomen, and back
    • Tones abdominal cavity
    • Improves digestion and circulation
    • Opens the shoulders, hips, and chest
    • Reduces miner backache and symptoms of sinusitis
    • Massages and stimulates the internal organs
    • Tones the abdominal muscles, arms, neck, upper chest, hips, and legs
    • Relaxes the nervous system
    • Improves the respiratory system
  2. Mental Benefits:
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Prasarita Padottanasana C (Spread-Leg Forward Fold Pose C) Practice Guide

There are four variations of Prasarita Padottanasana, A, B, C and D. Together, they purify the anal canal and tone the tissues around the lower abdomen as well as the top part of the spine. By practicing all four variations, your lower back and legs will become stronger and your hips more flexible.

If your range of motion is limited, you can try the pose explained below.

Step-by-step instruction

How to Prasarita Padottanasana C (Spread-Leg Forward Fold Pose C) - Sharp Muscle
© image: Instagram/petayoga

Step-1

Start by standing in a Mountain Pose (Tadasana). Stand tall with your feet separated the length of one leg, outer edges of your feet parallel.

Step-2

Your knees can be bent to relieve your hamstrings and lower back.

Step-3

  • Keep your shoulder blades down against your back ribs, while extending your arm overhead and across your chest.
  • Note: If you have tight shoulders, use a strap between your hands.

Step-4

Your legs are straight and strong; Slight internal rotation of your femur eases anterior rotation of your pelvis, drawing your pubic bone back and up while drawing your belly button and sternum toward the floor.

Step-5

Try to bring the weight forward into the balls of your feet, keeping the fronts of your heels, hips directly over your heels; Relax your neck.

Tips:

  • If you have lower back pain or tight hamstrings, you can bend your knees slightly or use yoga blocks under your hands to take some of the weight off your spine.
  • Avoid rounding your back or collapsing your chest in the pose. Instead, focus on keeping your spine long and your shoulders down and back.
  • Keep your gaze forward or slightly up to maintain good alignment in your neck.
  • Breathe deeply and evenly throughout the pose, relaxing any tension in your body with each exhale.

Anatomy engaging tips

Prasarita Padottanasana C, or Spread-Leg Forward Fold Pose C, is a yoga posture that can help to stretch the hamstrings, calves, and lower back, while also strengthening the legs and core. Here are some anatomy engaging tips and techniques for practicing this pose:

  • Engage the Core: Engaging the core muscles can help to stabilize the spine and support the lower back during the forward fold. To engage the core, draw the belly button towards the spine and lengthen the tailbone towards the ground.
  • Activate the Legs: Activating the leg muscles can help to protect the knees and deepen the stretch in the hamstrings and calves. To activate the legs, press the feet firmly into the ground and lift the kneecaps towards the thighs.
  • Hinge from the Hips: Hinging from the hips instead of rounding the spine can help to protect the lower back and deepen the stretch in the hamstrings. To hinge from the hips, keep the spine long and lean forward from the hips, leading with the chest.
  • Lengthen the Spine: Lengthening the spine can help to maintain proper alignment and deepen the stretch in the hamstrings and lower back. To lengthen the spine, draw the crown of the head towards the ceiling and engage the core muscles to support the lower back.
  • Keep the Shoulders Relaxed: Keeping the shoulders relaxed can help to release tension in the upper back and neck. To keep the shoulders relaxed, roll them back and down away from the ears and allow the arms to hang loosely towards the ground.
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By engaging these tips and techniques, you can deepen the stretch in the hamstrings, calves, and lower back, while also strengthening the legs and core.

Common mistakes

Prasarita Padottanasana C, or Spread-Leg Forward Fold Pose C, is a yoga posture that can help to stretch the hamstrings, calves, and lower back, while also strengthening the legs and core. However, there are some common mistakes that practitioners make when practicing this pose, which can lead to injury or decreased effectiveness. Here are some common mistakes in Prasarita Padottanasana C and how to avoid them:

  • Rounding the Spine: Rounding the spine in this pose can lead to compression of the vertebral discs and strain on the lower back. To avoid this mistake, keep the spine long and hinge forward from the hips, leading with the chest.
  • Locking the Knees: Locking the knees in this pose can put excessive strain on the joint and reduce the effectiveness of the stretch. To avoid this mistake, engage the leg muscles and lift the kneecaps towards the thighs to maintain a slight bend in the knees.
  • Allowing the Feet to Turn Inwards: Allowing the feet to turn inwards can lead to strain on the ankles and knees and reduce the effectiveness of the stretch in the hamstrings and calves. To avoid this mistake, keep the feet parallel to each other and press the outer edges of the feet firmly into the ground.
  • Tension in the Neck and Shoulders: Tension in the neck and shoulders can lead to discomfort and reduce the effectiveness of the stretch. To avoid this mistake, roll the shoulders back and down away from the ears and allow the arms to hang loosely towards the ground.
  • Collapsing in the Core: Collapsing in the core can lead to strain on the lower back and reduce the effectiveness of the stretch in the hamstrings and calves. To avoid this mistake, engage the core muscles by drawing the belly button towards the spine and lengthening the tailbone towards the ground.
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By avoiding these common mistakes and practicing with proper alignment and engagement of the muscles, you can deepen the stretch in the hamstrings, calves, and lower back, while also strengthening the legs and core. As with any physical activity, always practice within your own limits and consult a qualified instructor if you are unsure about proper alignment or technique.

Variations of Prasarita Padottanasana C (Spread-Leg Forward Fold Pose C)

These variations can help to deepen the stretch and add new elements to the pose. Always practice within your own limits and with proper alignment, and consult a qualified instructor if you are unsure about any of the variations.

Here are some variations of the pose:

  • Hands on Hips: In this variation, the hands are placed on the hips instead of reaching towards the ground. This can help to lengthen the spine and increase the stretch in the hamstrings and lower back. To do this variation, start in the basic pose with the feet wide apart, then place your hands on your hips and inhale to lengthen the spine. Exhale and fold forward, keeping the hands on the hips and the spine straight.
  • Reverse Prayer: This variation adds an additional stretch for the shoulders and chest. To do this variation, start in the basic pose with the feet wide apart, then bring the palms of the hands together behind the back, fingers pointing downwards. Inhale to lengthen the spine, then exhale and fold forward, bringing the hands towards the ceiling and keeping the palms pressed together.
  • Twist: This variation adds a twist to the pose, which can help to stretch the spine, hips, and inner thighs. To do this variation, start in the basic pose with the feet wide apart, then place your left hand on your right hip and inhale to lengthen the spine. Exhale and twist to the right, reaching your right hand towards the ground and your left hand towards the ceiling. Hold for several breaths, then repeat on the other side.
  • Supported Headstand: This variation adds an inversion element to the pose, which can help to improve circulation and energize the body. To do this variation, start in the basic pose with the feet wide apart, then place your hands on the ground and walk your feet closer to your hands. Lift your legs up into a supported headstand, with the top of the head resting on the ground and the hands supporting the back of the head. Hold for several breaths, then release the pose.

Precautions and contraindications

Prasarita Padottanasana C (Spread-Leg Forward Fold Pose C), a Standing Forward Bend Pose is a half inversion, and thus to keep in mind some precautions and contraindications while performing the pose, which are explained below:

Injury or surgery

Avoid this pose if you have injuries to the hips, knees, ankles, arms and shoulders, neck or back. For individuals recovering from any internal organs’ surgery, it is best to avoid practicing this yoga pose.

Blood pressure or migraine

The pressure towards the head in Prasarita Padottanasana C (Spread-Leg Forward Fold Pose C) may not be suitable for people suffering from high blood pressure or migraines.

Both conditions can lead to dizziness, as the practice of this yoga pose may cause slight difficulty in breathing, which affects the functioning of the heart.

Imbalance or instability

The pose requires you to have a sense of control over your body along with awareness.

Therefore, senior citizens, pregnant women, those with weak body composition, etc., who find their bodies stable and in balance, may find the practice of this yoga posture challenging.

Arthritis or fibromyalgia

Avoid practicing Prasarita Padottanasana C (Spread-Leg Forward Fold Pose C) regardless of the age if you suffer from arthritis of your knees, hips, or arms and shoulders.

People with fibromyalgia should also avoid it, as the pressure on the muscles on the joints can cause aches and pains, which can lead to swelling.

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