Seated Forward Bend - Paschimottanasana

Seated Forward Bend - YanvaYoga


Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana) is a classic pose from Hatha yoga. Paschimottanasana literally translates to “Intense Stretch of The West”, displaying the sunset of a practice traditionally initiated facing the rising sun.

Paschim means the West-side. This name indicates the back of the body from the head to the heels. In Paschimottanasana Yoga, the back side of your whole body, including the spine, is intensely stretched. When both legs are stretched in a straight position on the ground while holding the big toes with hands and placing the forehead on the knees makes a seated forward bend yoga.

As the name suggests, the seated forward bend yoga profoundly stretches the dorsal part of the back, including the spine and muscles. As a result, this stretching helps to open the spine and tone the back muscles.

Pose Detail

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1
From Dandasana, gently press your sitting bones into the floor (or your prop) and draw your lower belly in and up.
Step 2
Lengthen your spine as you inhale.
Step 3
Fold forward hinging from the hips as you exhale. Do not fold deeper than you can with a straight back.
Step 4
Keep length in the front of the body, moving from your belly, through your ribcage, chest, and then your forehead towards your legs.
Step 5
Let your arms slide down along the floor. If your hands reach your feet, wrap your first two fingers and thumbs around your big toes. Bend your elbows, keep them lifting away from the floor out to the sides and keep your shoulders away from the ears. If you can’t hold your feet, loop a strap around the soles of the feet, hold the strap with both hands and keep your arms straight.
Step 6
To go deeper into the pose, with every in-breath keep lengthening through the front of your torso, lifting your head slightly. With each out-breath see if you can fold deeper into the pose, maintaining a long spine whilst hinging from the hips. Keep your neck in line with your spine. If you hold a strap, walk your hands slowly down the strap as you go deeper. Keep your arms straight.

Benefits and Contraindications


Balances liver, kidneys, adrenal glands, ovaries and uterus

Stretches spine, shoulders, hamstrings and pelvis

Therapeutic for high blood pressure, insomnia, infertility and sinusitis

Improves digestion

Relieves insomnia

Reduces anxiety




Back injury

Pregnancy (2nd and 3rd trimester requires modifications)

Photo poses in different angles

Modifications, Props & Tips

  • If you are suffering from a herniated or compressed disc in the lower or middle back, or any other spinal issues (e.g. sciatica, SI-joint instability), be careful with this pose.
  • If you are allowed to do forward bends by your physician, work on creating the movement from your pelvis and keep your spine as
    straight as possible (so do not round your nose to your knee).
  • If the lower back is tight, you can open your legs hip-width apart.
  • For tight hamstrings, you can bend your knees and support them with a block or folded blanket.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Iana Varshavska
Iana Varshavska
Website administrator

In love with yoga and everything that goes along with it. Iana is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) who has completed the 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training Certification by the Yoga Alliance U.S. In addition to that, she is constantly studying and improving her skills in various aspects of yoga philosophy, yoga anatomy, biomechanics, and holodynamics.