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Paschimottanasana (PASH-ee-moh-tan-AHS-anna[1][needs IPA]; Sanskrit: पश्चिमोत्तानासन; IAST: paścimottānāsana), Seated Forward Bend,[2] or Intense Dorsal Stretch[3] is an asana.

Together with Padmasana (lotus), Siddhasana (half-lotus) and Vajrasana (lightning-bolt pose), this asana is an accomplished asana according to the Shiva Samhita. It was advocated by 11th century yogi Gorakshanath.


The name comes from the Sanskrit words paschima (पश्चिम, paścima) meaning "west" or "back" or "back of body",[4] and uttana (उत्तान, uttāna) meaning "intense stretch" or "straight" or "extended",[5] and asana (आसन) meaning "posture" or "seat".[6]


The yogi sits on the floor with legs flat on the floor, straight ahead then bends forward from the hips to bring the trunk parallel with the legs.

A runner performing a seated, forward bend stretch.

A similar frontbend is Uttanasana (a standing front bend). Paschimottanasana enables much easier rotation inward or outward of the legs, abducting or adducting them at the hip, flexing or extending the knees, or enacting plantar or dorsi flexion of the ankle. These variations can be performed either as a combined stretch, to change emphasis on different tissues, or simply to take the mind off the hamstrings and lower back stretch. They can be used rhythmically to aid in relaxation.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Long, Ray (22 January 2011). Yoga Mat Companion 2: Anatomy for Hip Openers and Forward Bends. Greenleaf Book (Distributor). p. 217. ISBN 978-1-60743-942-4. Retrieved 25 June 2011. 
  2. ^ "Yoga Journal - Seated Forward Bend". Retrieved 2011-04-10. 
  3. ^ "Asanas - Forward Bending Poses". About Yoga. Retrieved 2011-06-25. Paschimottanasana [...] translated as "intense dorsal stretch", is a seated asana. 
  4. ^ Lark, Liz (15 March 2008). 1,001 Pearls of Yoga Wisdom: Take Your Practice Beyond the Mat. Chronicle Books. pp. 265–. ISBN 978-0-8118-6358-2. Retrieved 25 June 2011. 
  5. ^ "Paschimottanasana -". Retrieved 2011-04-10. 
  6. ^ Sinha, S.C. (1 June 1996). Dictionary of Philosophy. Anmol Publications PVT. LTD. p. 18. ISBN 978-81-7041-293-9. Retrieved 9 April 2011. 

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