BENGALURU: Paschim translates as West or back of the body from the heels to the back of the head. This is an intense forward bending stretch in a sitting position. The other names are Ugrasana (powerful) and brhamacharyasana (celibacy).
First sit in Dandasan with your legs extended. Next inhale and raise your arms overhead and bend forward from the hip joint as you exhale moving your arms over your legs and extending your hands towards the feet. Maintain your legs straight and your arms parallel to the legs. Inhale and lengthen your spine exhale and lower your head toward the knees at every exhalation.
After a few breathing cycles hold your ankles, feet or toes. Continue looking forward. You may hold the big toes with the index and middle finger and thumb or your feet from the toes down as shown, or sideways. Finally you may bend your elbows and create more space for your head to go down towards the knees. Advanced students may clasp the opposite wrists or place the hands flat on the floor beyond the feet.
In the final position pull your abdomen in towards the spine and also apply the mula bandha (lifting your pelvic floor muscles up.) This allows the lower back, glutes and thighs to stretch more. Push your tailbone back and try to maintain the awareness of a concave back.
This is an intense stretch for the posterior body. All the muscles get stretched. The anterior body gets a nice contraction. Good for abdominal organs and the pelvis. This asana improves digestion.
Hernia, back pain and slipped discs.
Anshu Vyas Seetharaman is a yoga and fitness trainer at Sri Aurobindo Society, Bengaluru. (110 Gangadhara Chetty Road, Ulsoor)
You Tube: Anshu Vyas Yoga 365