The Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide Leg Forward Bend Pose) 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.
When you practice this yoga asana, you will feel your body heal and expand, especially when you have done exercises like cycling, walking and running. This yoga asana is usually practiced at the end of a standing pose and serves as a good preparation posture for attacks. It is a quiet forward tilt that extends both back and hamstrings.
Meaning, philosophy and origin of Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide Leg Forward Bend Pose)
- Prasarita + Pada + ut + tan + tendere + asana:
- “Prasarita” = “stretched out, expanded, spread, with outstretched limbs”
- “pada” = “foot”
- “ut” = “intense”
- “tan” = “to stretch or extend” (compare the Latin verb tendere, “to stretch or extend”)
- “asana” = “pose or posture”
2. Philosophy and origin
Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide Leg Forward Bend Pose) has found its way into almost every style of yoga. B.K.S. Iyengar taught many forms of this mudra, labeling them as A, B, C and D. The most prevalent variety is Prasarita Padottanasana A. Prasarita Padottanasana B is when the hands are on the hips and the head is lifted from the ground. No resting on the mat. The diffusion padottanasana is the variation where the hands are joined together and pull the back and the head upwards. In the final variation taught by Iyengar, Prasarita Padottanasana D asks the student to hold the big toe with each foot.
When you feel that you are in a state of equilibrium, this state is called Sattva, between an upper ground feeling empty and empty, in which you feel relaxed, energetic and happy. It is important to find spiritual illumination and radiant health. In this state, you are alert, yet relaxed; You are uplifting, yet still on the ground.
When you practice Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide Leg Forward Bend Pose), you get an opportunity to discover your Sattva. You are forthright and in harmony. You feel worldliness on your lower body as your mind slips into peace. Your feet are constantly challenged to remain stable, strong and rooted. Your heart and head are calmed and cleaned. Therefore, this yoga asana is also used as a balm for curious nerves.
|Known as:||Prasarita Padottanasana, Standing Intense Spread-Leg Pose, Wide Leg Forward Bend Pose, Intense Leg Stretch Pose, Feet Spread Intense Stretch Pose|
|Sanskrit name:||प्रसारित पादोत्तानासन|
|Total time:||30 to 60 seconds|
|Drishti:||At the floor;|
Tip of nose
|Chakra:||Sahasrara Chakra, Ajna Chakra, Manipura Chakra, Swadisthana Chakra, Muladhara Chakra|
|Counterpose:||Uttanasana, Ardha matsyendrasana, Eka pada rajakapotasana|
|Preparatory Poses:||Adho mukha svanasana, Utkata konasana, Mandukasana|
|Follow-up poses:||Upavista konasana, Utthita parsvakonasana, Titibhasana|
|Indications:||Lower back pain, headaches, exhaustion|
|Contraindications:||High blood pressure, modification for lower back pain|
Benefits of Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide Leg Forward Bend Pose)
Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide Leg Forward Bend Pose) 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, which are listed further:
- Physical Benefits:
- Tones abdominal cavity
- Improves digestion and circulation
- Strengthens the feet, ankles, knees, inner thighs, and lower back
- Reduces minor backache
- Relieves headache and symptoms of sinusitis
- Mental Benefits:
Step by step Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide Leg Forward Bend Pose)
Start by standing in a mountain pose. Stand tall and upright with the legs turned apart enough to feel stable.
Now, widen your stance, setting the feet four feet apart. Your feet should be straight forward. Establish a solid relationship with the ground by shifting the weight distribution so that it is evenly divided between the base of the big toes, the base of your small toes, and both the left and right sides of your heel.
Place the hands on your hips. Draw in your ankles to elevate the arch of the feet. Press the outer edge and the balls of your feet into the ground. Activate the muscles in your thighs.
Inhale and extend your chest while lengthening your torso. Exhale and bend forward from the hips, keeping the back straight. When your torso is parallel to the ground, press the tips of your fingers into the ground and align them directly below your shoulders. Straighten – but do not lock – your elbow.
Round your back with your tailbone at the top of your neck. Keep your head up and neck tall. To stare. Extend the front of your body by moving your thighs backward and widen your lower abdomen, while rotating your lower abdomen downward.
Take several breaths in this position. Then, slowly return the tips of your fingers between your legs.
Keep breathing. As you exhale, bend your elbows and bend your body completely forward. As long as you lower it towards the ground, maintain the length in your torso. If it touches, rest the top of your head on the ground.
Press your palms into the ground and slowly work your hands until you can place your upper arms on the ground. Widen your shoulder blades and keep your arms parallel to each. Gently move your shoulders away from your ears.
Stay in this position for 30-60 seconds. To free yourself from this position, move your hands again under your shoulders and use them to elevate and lengthen the front of your body.
While exhaling, lower your tailbone towards the ground and raise your torso easily, allowing your arms to hang naturally. Raise your upper body, one vertebra at a time, from the tailbone to the head, until your spine is vertical.
Return to the mountain pose. Stand tall and upright with the legs turned apart enough to feel stable. Establish a solid relationship with the ground by shifting the weight distribution so that it is evenly divided between the base of the big toes, the base of the small toes, and both the left and right sides of your heel.
Although, improving the body’s system (nervous, digestive, respiratory, and circulation) are beneficial for individuals, they should still practice with precaution if one is not convinced and is not aware of their body. The Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide Leg Forward Bend Pose) is also considered a half inversion, and thus some precautions should be kept in mind while practicing, which are listed below:
1. Injury or surgery
Individuals with the hips, knees, ankles, shoulders, neck, back, or head injuries should avoid practicing this yoga pose. For those recovering from any internal organ surgery, it is best to avoid practicing Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide Leg Forward Bend Pose).
2. Blood pressure or migraine
In this forward bending yoga pose, there is pressure towards the head and hence it may not be suitable for people suffering from blood pressure or migraine problem. Both cases will cause dizziness when breathing is performed with the practice of obstetric padottanasana, which affects the functioning of the heart.
3. Imbalance or instability
A deep leg stretch requires a sense of control of the body. Therefore, individuals (senior citizens, pregnant women, those with weak body structure, etc.) who lack control and balance in their body, this yoga pose can be challenging for them. An optional practice will involve the support of a wall or a chair in the early stages.
4. Arthritis or fibromyalgia
Regardless of age, individuals should avoid Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide Leg Forward Bend Pose), despite suffering from arthritis of the knees, hips or shoulders. People with fibromyalgia should also avoid this yoga pose, because the pressure on the muscles can cause pain and soreness.
Modifications and variations of Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide Leg Forward Bend Pose)
Modification: If the hands do not reach the floor, either keep the feet wide apart or place a yoga block under your hands.
Variations: There are three more forms of Prasarita Padottanasana. What is described above is Prasarita Padottanasana A. Others are a bit deeper then A.
Prasarita Padottanasana B
Here, after coming to Prasarita Padottanasana A, you have to lift your hands off the floor and put them on your waist. Your elbows should point towards the direction of the toes. The rest remains in A.
Also, you can fold your palm behind your back and make anjali mudra (salutation seal) just behind your back.
Prasarita Padottanasana B gives your shoulders extra stretch and the broadcaster opens the chest in addition to all the benefits of Prasarita Padottanasana A.
Prasarita Padottanasana C
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, this yoga pose creates stretch on the arms and shoulders while expanding your chest.
Prasarita Padottanasana D
After going to Prasarita Padottanasana A, move your palms forward and hold the big fingers, first hold them with two fingers and thumbs. Keep your arms towards the sides. Bend your elbows and place them above the wrist. Try to pull the torso with your hands.
This asana brings some extra stretch to your shoulders, back and chest.