About Wide Legged Forward Fold – Prasarita Padottanasana
Prasarita Padottanasana (Prah-sah-REET-ah- Pah-doh-than-AA-SUN-aa) is a wide-legged forward bend that feels like an invigorated form of yoga. It helps to improve blood circulation to the brain by extending a person’s legs, arms, and back. This yoga asana gets its name from the Sanskrit language. Prasarita means outstretched, pada means foot, but means intense, tan means stretch, and asana means pose or posture.
This position is essentially a technique of severe stretching with both feet stretched apart. Practising Prasarita Padottanasana on a daily basis can be a rigorous, spacious, and peaceful way to end a long series of standing postures, or after any physical exercise like jogging, walking, or cycling. This asana is frequently sequenced at the conclusion of yoga practice. It’s a nice yoga posture to do before doing a headstand or a peacock pose.
Prasarita Padottanasana – Step By Step Instructions
This pose will require a little more expertise and patience if you have tight hamstrings or hips. You won’t be able to fold very far before your lower back starts to round if your hamstrings are tight. If this happens to you, bend your knees slightly to relieve the tension on your hamstrings, allowing you to maintain a long low back and fold forward from your hip joints. You can also choose not to get all the way to the floor and instead bring the floor up to you by placing blocks under your hands.
First Step: Lengthen your spine.
How to Get Started:
- Stand with your hands on the wall, shoulder-width apart, at hip height.
- Take a step back from the wall until your arms are straight.
- Take three to four steps apart, toes pointing straight ahead.
- Press down with all four corners of your feet to ground yourself.
Work your legs as if you could zip your muscles all the way up to the tops of your inner thighs by spreading your toes wide, lifting your inner arches. Raise your shins off the ground. To stabilise your pelvis, hug the insides of your upper thighs together. Widen your upper back by pressing your palms on the wall and rolling your upper outside arms down to the floor. In order to stretch your spine, move your sitting bones away from the wall.
Instead of rounding your lower back, consider curling your sitting bones under. Then, to arch your lower back, try elevating them (you might need to bend your knees). Return to the centre and straighten your sitting bones. This position allows you to fold from your hip joints while maintaining maximal spine length.
Lastly, slowly take 5 or 6 deep breaths. After then, walk your feet toward each other, take your hands off the wall, and stand up.
Second Step: Work Your Legs
- Step your feet 3 to 4 feet apart, toes facing straight ahead.
- Place two blocks shoulder-width apart in front of you on the floor.
- Lift your arches and ground the four corners of your feet.
- Extend your spine by lifting your chest and folding forward from your hips.
- Straighten your arms and place your hands on the blocks.
Draw your muscles higher into your hips by engaging all four sides of your legs. Stretch your sitting bones straight back and lengthen your front body by reaching your sternum and crown of your head forward. Draw your shoulder blades down the back of your neck until it feels lengthy. Make sure your leg muscles are fully engaged as you deepen the stretch in your hamstrings. Stretching while working the muscles helps keep you from going too quickly or too far. Now turn your attention to your lower back. Find a neutral spine and stabilise your pelvis. If you find this easy, try lowering the blocks and seeing how far you can fold without rounding your back.
Finish with a gradual return to Tadasana by pressing down into your feet (Mountain Pose). Take a moment to notice how you’re feeling.
Step 3: Stabilize And Stretch
- Place your hands on your hips and step your feet about 3 to 4 feet apart.
- Raise your torso to its full height and fold slowly over your legs.
- Lay your hands shoulder-width apart on the floor and stretch your torso forward.
- Deepen your fold by lowering your head to the floor. Bend your elbows so that they are stacked over your wrists.
Firm your leg muscles up into your hips and squeeze the outer thighs in softly. From your sit bones to the crown of your skull, lengthen your entire spine. Hug your forearms together and straighten your elbows back. Raise your shoulders and back up.
Make sure you’re folding from your hip joints rather than your lower back when you’re doing so. You can choose not to fold all the way down if your hamstrings feel tight. Keep your legs moving regardless of how far you travel. Consider contracting your hamstring muscles while you stretch to control how far you go. Find your edge, and remember that yoga is about making wise decisions, not about stretching to the limit.
Finish by grounding into your feet, straightening your arms, and extending your spine forward after several breaths. Slowly rise to a standing position while inhaling; exhale. Come into Mountain Pose with your feet together and pause to breathe.
Prasarita Padottanasana Benefits
- Prasarita Padottanasana stretches your hamstrings, calves, and hips, strengthens your feet, ankles, and legs, and increases your knowledge of how to protect your lower back when done thoughtfully.
- Because it lowers your head and heart below your hips, this position is also a minor inversion.
- The inverted design combined with the front fold tends to create a lovely sense of tranquilly.
- Finally, this position will strengthen your shoulders and upper back, as well as provide your neck muscles length and comfort.
Wide-Legged Forward Fold Variations
There are four assortments of Prasarita Padottanasana, A, B, C, and D. The major benefits of these are that your lower belly and legs will become stronger, and your hips will become more flexible if you practice all four variations.
- Begin in Samasthiti (Tadasana) and work your way up.
- Inhale, turn to the right, and space your feet about one metre apart, with the outside borders of your feet parallel to one another. (The distance between your feet is determined by the length of your spine compared to the length of your leg; on average, the distance between your feet is four times the length of your foot.) If the feet are turned out, it may put excess stress on the ligaments and tendons in your knee.
- Make a strong grip on your hips with your hands.
- Inhale and raise your entire spine and chest, lowering your hips to the ground. Exhale, fold forward from the hip joint, leading with your chest, and place your hands shoulder-width apart on the ground, fingers aligned with your toes.
- Lift your chest, straighten your arms, and concave your lower back while you stare forward or at your nose.
- Fold forward on exhalation while maintaining a straight spine. Try to place your head on the floor between your legs and touch the crown of your head (or work on elongating your spine and try to bring the crown as close to the ground as possible).
- The elbows should be pointing towards the direction of the body.
- For Prasarita Padottanasana B, place your hands on your hips and move your elbows as close together as possible.
- Interlock your hands behind your back and bring them to the ground for Prasarita Padottanasana C.
- For Prasarita Padottanasana D, make a hook with your big toes and pull yourself as near to the ground as feasible.
Conclusion – Prasarita Padottanasana
The Prasarita Padottanasana is a relaxing forward bend that stretches the back and hamstrings. This asana is frequently done at the end of a series of standing poses and is a useful warm-up for inversions. Always remember to focus on breathing while practising any asana.
For help, Check Breathing Meditation