Paschimottanasana is one of the important asana postures in Hatha Yoga. It has numerous benefits and the amazing stretch it gives to the entire back helps to treat various ailments.

How to do Paschimottanasana

Sit straight with your spine erect and legs stretched out.
Keep your feet straight with toes pointing upwards.
Inhale and slowly stretch your arms above your head.
As you lift your arms, pull your back up so that your spine straightens further.
Exhale and slowly bend forward to reach for your toes. Let your spine stretch as much as possible.
Place your head on your legs. Try to place the head more towards your feet.
Knees should be straight.
Return to position.

Duration of Paschimottanasana

Beginners can do Paschimottanasana for 30 seconds. With practice, the duration of Paschimottanasana can be increased to five minutes.

Benefits of Paschimottanasana

Paschimottanasana stretches the entire back muscles of the body from the neck to feet.
While the back muscles are stretched, the internal organs in the abdominal region are massaged well.
It hence reduces belly fat and flesh in the waist region.
The thighs and hips are toned and excess fat accumulated in these areas are shed.
As abdominal organs are worked out, digestion improves and constipation is cured. Headaches owing to digestive problems are well addressed by this pose.
This yoga is good for menstrual disorders and it cures menstrual pain.
Nervous system is activated.
Solar plexus, known as Manipura Chakra is stimulated.
Paschimottanasana relaxes the body and the mind.
It improves focus of mind.
Kundalini power is stimulated and balance of energy is achieved.

People with slipped disc problems and sciatic problems should not practice Paschimottanasana.
Do not force yourself to reach for the toes as it might result in yoga injury. With regular practice, the pose can be mastered.