Inverting our usual posture and pressing the torso towards the joints is beneficial to improve the functioning of internal organs and help digestion. At the same time, doing so affects the nervous system, relaxing and soothing it. Such yoga poses have also proved to be beneficial against anxiety, stress, and depression.
Prasarita Padottasana (pra-sA-ri-tuh pA-dO-thAnA-suh-nuh) is an excellent example for inverted asanas. The inversion of the torso and contact of the head’s crown to the earth helps relieving back shoulders and neck on a physical level, the mind on the emotional and physical one. Hence, it is a remedy for headaches, but also to pause for a while the rumination and overthinking that do not let us enjoy our present.
Steps to Perform Prasarita Padottanasana
- Start with your legs wide apart, feet parallel and toes turned slightly in to protect your knees.
- As you inhale, expand your heart and lungs arching your back gently and either 1) bring your hands to your hips or 2) interlace your fingers behind you with palms facing each other.
- Keeping your legs strong begin to fold forward at the hips. If your hands are at your hip allow them to come to the floor in front of you shoulder width apart between your feet – keep the hands pulled in towards each other. If your hands are interlaced, stretch the arms away from your back and overhead.
- Adjust your body so that you feel your hips over your ankles and your weight intends slightly forward in to your toes.
- Be wary of your back. At the noticing of any discomfort, bend your knees slightly and go only as far as you can without pressuring yourself.
- You can also place your palms against a wall or use a chair for your forearms.
- If your head touches the ground, it can bear some of the weight to help you regain balance to an extent.
- You can also use a block, folded blanket or bolster to rest your head.
- Enjoy five full breaths or more.
- To come out of the pose, press into your feet, engaging your leg muscles and inhale as you twist your torso upright.
- Exhale completely and relax yourself.
Health Benefits of Prasarita Padottanasana
- This pose stretches the backs of the legs – Hamstrings, calves, glutes and lower back
- It improves hip joint flexibility
- It strengthens the feet
- It acts as a semi inversion
- It creates length in the spine
- It improves posture
- It provides rest to the heart
- It helps to turn inward
- It’s a good pose for stress, anxiety, and depression
- It challenges both strength and flexibility
- Its symmetrical shape keeps your pelvis, sacroiliac joint and spine neutral and quiet, while the active rooting of your feet and legs allows your upper body to be soft and receptive.
- It gives the heart a rest while encouraging movement of stagnant blood