Yoga pose: Prasarita Padottanasana
Translations: Prasarita = extended. Pada = foot. Utta = intense. The expanded legs are stretched intensely. Scroll down for VIDEO.
In this half inverted asana (torso inverted) the feet and head are on the floor while the hands can be in 3 different positions: (1) on the floor, beneath the shoulders, (2) on the hips while the elbows turns toward the back or (3) in Namaste position behind the back. This asana is a good preparation for Sirsasana (head-stand) and as an alternative for people who can not do Sirsassana. The hamstring and abductor muscles are fully developed, while blood is made to flow to the trunk and the head. Practicing this asana cools the body and brain and gives the feeling of tranquility and repose.
Benefits of this asana:
- Boost confidence and reduces depression
- Soothes the brain and the nervous system
- Energizes the heart and lungs
- Reduces blood pressure
- Relieve stress-related headaches, migraine and fatigue
- Tones the abdominal organs
- Relieves lower backache
- Relieves stomachache by neutralizing acidity
- Strengthen the knee joint and make the hip join supple
- Regulates menstrual flow
Do not hold this asana for more than 1 minute, especially if you are a beginner.
If you have low blood pressure, come out of the pose gradually to avoid dizziness.
- Stand in Tadasana with the hands on the waist.
- Inhale, jump (or walk) and spread the legs 4ft-5ft apart.
- Exhale, extend the trunk forward from the hips, stretching the spine.
- Release the hands and place the fingertips on the floor (or on bricks if needed) shoulder width apart, inline with legs.
- Stretch the spine further
- Lift the chest and sternum, lengthen the neck, head up and look up keeping the back concave.
- Stay here for a few breaths. Work the leg muscles to make sure your legs don’t collapse down or inward and without letting the feet to slide and slip off. Learn to press the outer edges of the feet to prevent the slip. Learn to concave the back by pushing the floor with the arms and legs.
- Keeping the chest open, exhale, bend the elbows, take the head to the floor and rest the crown of the head on the floor (or on bolster/brick).
- Place Hands in line with feet.
- Stay in the pose for half a minute, breathing deeply and evenly. Keep the weight of the body on the legs. Both feet, both palms and the head should be in a straight line. To intensify the pose further, put your hands on the hips while making sure you are not collapsing the shoulders, chest and sternum, or fold your hands in ‘namaste’ behind your back. In this movement the leg stretch is intensified.
- To come up, inhale, raise the head, straighten the arms at the elbows, look up, lift the chest and come up from the waist keeping the back concave.
- Jump (or walk) the feet together. Keeping a concave back gives more spinal extension. For back problems, the sequence of concavity for extension before taking the head down is beneficial. It is especially beneficial for women during menstruation and pregnancy. Resting the head allows for recovery.
BKS Iyengar: ‘Light on Yoga’
Geeta S. Iyengar: ‘Yoga in Action, Preliminary course’
‘Yoga the path to holistic health’