Paschimottanasana - Intense West Stretch Pose

Contraindications and Cautions

  • Pregnancy

  • Currently experiencing diarrhea

  • Recent back injury

  • Chronic or serious depression

  • Asthma (make sure to stay up higher and open the chest)

"Paschimottanasana is an iconic forward bend that is intense and humbling in its simplicity.  Although this is a pose many beginning students will encounter, it can take years to master."

Marla Apt

Benefits of Paschimottanasana



  • Calms the brain

  • Helps relieve stress and mild depression

  • Improves concentration.

  • Stimulates manipura chakra (solar plexus or 3rd Chakra)

  • Balances prana (lifeforce) within the body


  • Stretches hamstrings

  • Stretches and lengthens the spine

  • Increase agility and awareness in the legs, hips and lower back

  • Massages the internal organs especially the digestive organs

  • Invigorates the nervous system

  • Stimulates the liver, kidneys, ovaries and uterus.


  • Helps relieve symptoms of menopause and menstrual discomfort.

  • Soothes headaches, anxiety and reduces fatigue.

  • Can be therapeutic for high blood pressure, infertility insomnia and sinusitis

  • May relieve problems with sciatica

  • Relieves digestive problems such as conspitation.

Traditional texts say Paschimottasasana increases appetite, reduces obesity and cures the body of disease. To receive these benefits paschimottanasana needs to be practiced regularly and correctly

Level 1 Pose

This is an easy looking pose however it can take a long time to perfect.  This asana is called 'west side stretch' because traditionally yoga is practiced facing east to the rising sun so essentially it means that the back of the body is facing west, therefore in this asana we are stretching the whole back of the body from the heels to the back of the head. The muscles in the back of the hips and the back of the legs are very strong and powerful and can take them a good deal of time to loosen before you will experience the full expression of the pose.  But do not fear as you can still receive the full benefits of paschimottanasana by holding as still as possible at whatever stage you are at.  Knowing that with regular practice and patience, over time you will make significant progress.














Paschimottanasana is not only physically challenging but also mentally challenging as it requires patience and discipline to sit in the discomfort of this pose.  This pose allows us to turn inward and close of the outside world which in turn requires that we are faced with our own thought processes, it requires us to detach ourselves from achieving the outward shape of the pose and be ok with where you are, we must surrender to the stiffness in the body, simply let go and be still....... easier said then done but this is why we practice yoga to surrender, let go and be ok with who and where you are in each and every moment.

Emma Costelllo

Tel: 087-212-4644