Prasarita Padottanasana, Wide-Legged Forward Bend
Stand straight in Samasthiti and then now open your legs about 1 to 1,5 meters apart depending on your height, length and capability. Make sure your feet are parallel to each other.
With exhalation you bend your upper body forward and place your palms on the floor in between your feet. Bring your upper body in between your legs and place the crown of your head on the floor. Your feet, palms and head should be in one line.
Keep breathing deeply, hold the posture for 20 to 30 seconds and slowly come up.
While you are standing straight, you can also interlace your fingers in your back, then open your legs and when bending down, you keep your arms straight and move your hands further towards the floor. Let the gravity pull them down while your head is in between your legs. This variation gives you an extra stretch for your shoulders.
Open your legs a little bit less wide and when you bend down, bend your upper body so far, that you can bring your shoulders through the gap of your legs and thus to the backside of your thighs. Now you open your arms wide apart.
When you perform this yoga pose, you will notice quickly that it works nicely with your complete legs. It gives strength to your hamstrings and the muscles at the inside and back of your legs. Your calves get a nice workout and your knees get support through the work of the muscles around it. You get more flexible in your hips and groins.
Your back also benefits greatly from this yoga asana. Your spine is strengthened by the workout for the muscles surrounding it, your shoulders become more flexible and your shoulder blades open. This yoga pose is even good for mild back pain.
Through the bending, your inner organs are pressurized and thus stimulated to do their work. Your liver and kidneys get activated and your digestion as well as your urinary tract is stimulated.
For women, this exercise is beneficial due to its positive effect on the ovaries and the fallopian tubes. Also during early pregnancy this pose is beneficial as it opens the hips and strengthens the back.
By bending forward, your blood flow into your upper body is strengthened and thus your brain gets more oxygen which refreshes you, takes away fatigue, improves concentration and can even cure headaches and blood pressure problems!
Focus on the bending of your back and if you cannot come down yet, bring your upper body further down with inhalation and closer to your legs with exhalation.
Don’t put pressure on your head. You are touching the floor with the crown of your head but you don’t put any weight on it.
If you cannot come down in the beginning, you can place your hands on the floor a little bit in front of your body and shift the weight there to feel the stretch.