Paschimottan Asan or Ugra Asan or Forward Bend Pose

Out of the 84, 5000 poses, Paschimottan asan or ugra (fierce) asan is one of the 4 asanas described in the Shiva Samhita. It is also listed as one of the 32 most important poses in the Gherand Samhita and as one of 11 poses mentioned in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. It has been praised as a superior pose that bestows upon the practitioner freedom from misery and ailments. It is great for the digestive system and promotes flexibility. It stretches the muscles in the back and hamstrings and calves.

Image coming soon!

1. Sit on the ground with the feet extended in front of you and toes pointing upward.

2. Rock yourself from side to side so you can find your sitting bones.

3. Once you settle in a comfortable sitting position, keep your legs straight. They should be straight and rigid as a stick. Do not bend your knees.

4. Keep the spine straight with the chin slightly tucked in towards the chest.

5. Inhale deeply and as you exhale, bend forward from the waist and with your hands try to reach your toes while simultaneously bringing your forehead towards your knees.

6. Let the stomach sink in. This will allow a deeper stretch.

7. Hold on to the big toe of each foot with the help of your thumb and index and middle finger of each hand.

8. Allow the elbows to slowly come down to the floor on the outer side of each leg.

9. Hold the position and inhale and exhale normally.

10. Duration: 1 to 5 minutes

11. Follow-up with a backward bend like Cobra pose or Bow Pose.

TIPS: Don’t worry, if you can’t touch your forehead to your knees. The important thing is to keep your legs straight and not bend your knees. I like to do this pose in installments. In the first installment I manage to bring my head close to my knees and hold for 15-20 seconds. With each subsequent repetition of this pose, I try to bring my head closer to my knees. If you can’t grasp your toes, hold on to the ankles instead, until your flexibility improves.

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