seated forward bend (paschimottanasana)

by July 17, 2012

Seated Forward Bend, or Paschimottanasana in Sanskrit, is a very relaxing pose that can help you deal with stress and help you sleep, among many other benefits. However, it can be a stressful pose if you have tight hamstrings or tight hips, so it can be beneficial to stretch your hamstrings and hips before practicing this pose. Also, sitting on a pillow or a folded blanket and/or bending your knees can help you bend forward if you have tightness in these areas.

Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)

Begin by sitting on the floor. Stretch both legs straight in front of you, with your feet flexed. Lengthen your torso. Inhale, continue to lengthen your torso and tilt your pelvis forward as you bend forward at your hips. On the exhale, bring your torso and your head as far down as you can, as you also bring your arms forward and reach toward your feet. If you can bring your face to your knees, go for it. If you can hold your feet with your hands, do that. If you can’t make it that far, that’s ok. Go as far as your body will let you.

As you hold the pose, try to go a little deeper into it. Breathe in and lengthen your torso, and when you breathe out, try to work the naval to the spine to create a little more room and bring your torso a little farther down toward your legs. Continue to do this with your breath while in the pose. Inhale and lengthen…exhale and work to crate more room.

Stay in Seated Forward Bend for about one minute to begin with, and then see if you can extend the time to about three minutes.


  • Improves flexibility in the hamstrings, shoulders and spine
  • Helps you sleep
  • Calms and helps with stress and anxiety
  • Aids digestion
  • Good for headaches
  • Good for ovaries, uterus, liver and kidneys
  • Helps certain health conditions like high blood pressure, sinusitis and infertility