The Utthita Paschimottanasana, or Extended Forward Bend Pose, is an intermediate backbend posture in hatha yoga that lengthens the entire backside of the body while strengthening the arms and hands, chest, shoulders, and legs. In this article, you’ll learn all about this asana’s benefits, how to perform it safely and effectively, and tips on how to get the maximum benefit from this pose.
What Muscles Are Engaged in Utthita Paschimottanasana?
The primary muscles engaged in utthita paschimottanasana are rectus abdominis, erector spinae, latissimus dorsi, and iliopsoas. In addition, external oblique, internal oblique, serratus anterior, rectus femoris, vastus intermedius & vastus lateralis are also used.
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Benefits of Utthita Paschimottanasana
- First, Utthita Paschimottanasana stretches your shoulders, hamstrings, spine, lower back, and hips. It also strengthens your upper body.
- This pose can ease tension in your shoulders due to repetitive computer use or other physical activity like heavy lifting.
- Your hamstrings will be stretched as well, which can relieve pain in your legs and knees caused by running or cycling.
- A tight lower back often leads to a stiff neck, so stretching your spine will help alleviate neck pain.
- If you have an injury that causes joint inflammation, such as arthritis, stretching helps reduce swelling that causes pain.
- And if you’re suffering from low-back pain caused by obesity, Utthita Paschimottanasana may provide relief.
- It also strengthens your hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, and ankles while stretching and lengthening muscles throughout your torso, including those in your shoulders, upper back, chest, and neck area.
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Things to Consider
If you previously have never done yoga before, then start with simple stretches that target all of your major muscle groups. For example, get on all fours (hands and knees) and do a few deep knee bends.
The exercise will stretch out your back muscles as well as loosen up your hamstrings—muscles in your upper legs. After a few repetitions of this, stretch out your arms forward so that they are straight in front of you.
How To Do Utthita Paschimottanasana?
This yogasana totally depends on your stability and back bending, and here are the steps to perform this asana. Those who know how to do paschimottanasana perfectly can easily perform this asana.
- First, perform paschimottanasana and keep your back straight.
- Now, come in the naukasana pose by joining both legs and then lifting them up. Bring both your hands near to the shin bone and maintain balance.
- The above poses will help you to warm up and maintain stability.
- Now, put a towel or a piece of broad cloth behind your hips to maintain the balance.
- Then take both your hands in a cross position under your hamstrings, just like you are giving a hug to your hamstrings.
- Now straighten your legs up and keep your spine erect, and do not allow it to sag downwards.
- This will prevent you from falling in the backward direction.
- Hold for five seconds or more and relax.
- Do two sets of 10 repetitions daily for best results.
Precautions While Doing Utthita Paschimottanasana
- Uttitha Paschimottanasana should be avoided if you have high blood pressure or a hernia.
- If you suffer from asthma, avoid taking deep breaths while in this pose.
- People with neck issues should keep their heads lowered during an initial practice of Utthita Paschimottanasana.
- Avoid Uttithasna if you are pregnant because it may put pressure on your abdomen.
Who Should Avoid Doing Utthita Paschimottanasana?
Pregnant women, people with lower back problems, and those with serious health conditions like heart disease should avoid practicing utthita paschimottanasana.
To ensure that you have a safe practice, ask your physician before attempting utthita paschimottanasana. In addition, if you have any neck or spine injuries, be careful in performing utthita paschimottanasana.
And lastly, do not force yourself into doing it if you find it challenging to perform at first. Beginners may use props like wall supports or even a chair for support until they master their poses.