Prasarita Padottanasana (pra-sa-REE-tah pah-doh-tahn-AHS-anna) or Standing Wide Legged Forward Bend, combines the benefits of a standing posture – it energizes and strengthens – with the calming effects of a forward bend. This has always been a posture that I look forward to!
Prasarita Padottanasana stretches, releases tension and gives you a new view of your environment. It may be a difficult pose at first especially if you have tight hamstrings. Eventually, however, Standing Wide Legged Forward Bend becomes more effortless even soothing and calming. It is often prescribed for mild depression or anxiety. Try practicing this pose for a short time each day over the next week. I am sure it will leave you smiling.
- Stretches your hamstrings
- Stretches the lower back
- Calms your mind
- Builds strength in your legs
Start with your legs wide apart, feet parallel and toes turned slightly in to protect your knees. As you inhale, expand your heart and lungs arching your back gently and either 1) bring your hands to your hips or 2) interlace your fingers behind you with palms facing each other.
Keeping your legs strong begin to fold forward at the hips. Allow your heart to lead. If your hands are at your hip allow them to come to the floor in front of you shoulder width apart between your feet – keep the hands pulled in towards each other. If your hands are interlaced, stretch the arms away from your back and overhead.
Adjust your body so that you feel your hips over your ankles and your weight intends slightly forward in to your toes.
Always be mindful of your back. If you feel discomfort, bed your knees slightly and go only as far as is comfortable. You can also place your palms against a wall or use a chair for your forearms. If your head touches the ground, it can bear some of the weight as comfortable. You can also use a block, folded blanket or bolster to rest your head.
Enjoy five full breaths or more.
To come out of the pose, press into your feet, engaging your leg muscles and inhale as you twist your torso upright. Exhale completely, let your eyes soften and smile.