How to do Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide-Legged Forward Bend)

This pose might seem simple at first glance, but knowing how to properly do prasarita padottanasana or wide-legged forward bend will lay a solid foundation for the other forward bends in your practice. It’s natural to look at the simplicity of this posture and dismiss it, but the standing poses in the Ashtanga primary series are healing and therapeutic. They should be done with intention. In this post, we’ll look at the benefits and contraindications of wide-legged forward bend and give you step-by-step instructions on how to do it.

Benefits of prasarita padottanasana

This pose functions as a forward bend and an inversion and has many benefits, including:

  • Stretching and strengthening the legs
  • Stretching and releasing the spine
  • Easing backaches
  • Strengthening the feet and ankles
  • Toning the abdominal organs
  • Calming the mind
  • Opening the hips

Contraindications of prasarita padottanasana

If you are pregnant, you should use precautions doing this pose and avoid it during the later stages of pregnancy. People with the following conditions should not do this posture:

  • Hernia
  • Herniated disc
  • Groin injury
  • Ankle injury
  • High or low blood pressure
  • Glaucoma
  • Detached retina
  • Sinus congestion

How to do wide-legged forward bend (prasarita padottanasana)

Start by standing in mountain pose at the front of your mat.

Inhale and step out to the right. So you’re facing the long edge of your yoga mat. Your feet are parallel, and your toes point straight in front of you.

Put your hands on your hips.

Exhale and lift your kneecaps by slightly pulling upward with your quadriceps.

Engage your pelvic floor.

Inhale and look up, creating length through the center line of your body.

Exhale and fold forward, hinging from your hips.

Place your hands flat on the floor between your legs.

Inhale, and keeping your hands on the floor, look up. Keep your back straight and lift the chest to look forward.

Don’t let your sitting bones spread apart. If you do, you’ll overstretch your hamstrings. Instead, keep them in a neutral position. The fold comes from hingeing from the hips and pulling your pubic bone back.

Exhale and fold. Shift your weight forward so you can rest your head on the floor.

Keep your thighs active by squeezing them in toward each other.

Your shoulder blades are down your back, and your shoulders are away from your ears.

Take five breaths here and then slowly come out of the posture.

Watch this video with Kino for more details about how to do prasarita padottanasana.

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