Moving away from the standing postures of the last few months we are going to spend time focus- ing on some of the classic seated postures. Paschimottanasana is a symmetrical seated for- ward bend. Because the posterior of the body is a continual network of mus- cles, fascia, ligaments and tendons, the pose will en- gage everything from the soles of the feet (plantar fas- cia) through the legs, pelvis, lower, mid and upper back, and finishing at the fascia within the scalp.

As with any posture always go into it with a good sense of your own flexibility. If you’re relatively new to yoga, cushions or bolsters can always be used.

 

 

 

 

 

TORSO AND HIPS

To help with the flexion forward of the upper body, the abdominal muscles will contract. This helps the hip flexors bring the upper body forward and down towards the legs.

At this point the deep and superficial muscles of the glutes will lengthen.

 

UPPER BACK AND ARMS

The elbows and arms will be extend- ing forward whilst the hands will be

resting towards the feet. Eventually you are looking to wrap the hands

around the soles of the feet. This means the rhomboids,

which are situated in between the shoulder blades, and

the spine will be passively stretching, as will be the

lower trapezius and the lattissimus dorsi.

 

LEGS

The hips will be flexed whilst the knees go into extension. The inner thighs will be

contracting to help keep the legs together. The hamstrings will either be

struggling with this posture depending on your flexibility or passively lengthening. The muscles of the lower legs

will also be lengthening

 

THE BACK MUSCLES

If you are restricted in your lower back you could start of by placing cushions on top of your hamstrings and a bolster underneath your knees so that you can rest your upper body in relative comfort (this will also help if you have tight hamstrings).

The spine will be mildly flexed, the muscles running either side of the spine will be eccentrically contracting, which helps the spine balance against the pull of gravity. The scapulas will be sliding laterally away from the spine.

 

Benefits

PASCHIMOTTANASANA

STRETCHES

Spine Shoulders Hamstrings

PASCHIMOTTANASANA

Liver

STIMULATES

Kidneys Ovaries Uterus Digestive system

Contraindications

Asthma Diarrhea

BACK INJURY

Only perform this pose under the supervision of an experienced teacher.