Paschimottanasana Benefits and Contraindications

Paschimottanasana is one among the essential yoga poses; it is not very difficult compared to some other poses like mayurasana or vrischikasana, yet it is full of health and spiritual benefits.

The asana tones the abdominal organs and eliminates their lethargy. It also tones the kidneys, rejuvenates the entire spine and improves digestion.

The spine is horizontal in animals, and the heart is below it, which provides health and greater endurance. In humans, the spine is vertical, and the heart is not in a lower position to it, so people quickly get tired and are prone to heart disease.

paschimottanasana benefitsIn Paschimottanasana the spine is aligned horizontally, making the heart staying lower, under it. The prolonged stay in the pose gives a nice massage to the heart, spine and abdominal organs, toning and strengthening them; and it also gives repose to the mind.

Due to the intense stretching in the pelvic area there is more oxygen enriched blood coming there, which results in more nutrition to the pelvic and abdominal region. This increases body’s vitality, cures impotence, gives a person the ability to control their sexual activity, which give paschimottanasana another name – Brahmachariasana. In Sanskrit, Brahmacharya means celibacy, and celibacy is the ability to control own sexual desires and urges.

One should be very serious about paschimottanasana practice. In Hatha Yoga Pradipika (1-31) it is said that paschimottanasana gathers prana (life air) from the upper part of the body to the lower one. It kindles the digestive fire, turns fat people into slim, and also heals all the diseases of man.

During the practice of this asana the density of pranic streams significantly increases on the whole back surface of the body. This leads to strengthening and stabilization of energy circulation in the main energy channels of the subtle body (linga sharira).

Paschimottanasana removes fatty deposits on the back and around the hips, cures sciatic neuralgia, constipation, hemorrhoids, diabetes, gastrointestinal diseases, including acute ones, eliminates nocturnal emissions in men, eliminates general lethargy and weakness, makes the body strong, flexible and sturdy.

Many yogis use Pashchimottanasana to warm up before exercise.

ATTENTION! In order to achieve a better effect from paschimottanasana technique, you need to focus on a point in the middle of the forehead, on the border of the scalp. If it seems difficult for you, you can start with concentration on the forehead center of on the point between your eyebrows. If you fail to do this too, focus on the nose bridge.

Paschimottanasana Contraindications

In case of the painful and enlarged liver and/or spleen, or you have a herniated disc or acute appendicitis; you should never do paschimottanasana until you remove the symptoms of the above mentioned conditions!

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22 thoughts on “Paschimottanasana Benefits and Contraindications

  1. I HAVE DONE PASCMNITOSANA ASAN FOR MOR THAN 45 MINUTES FOR 2 MONTHS A WITH ONE BRAEK ON NLY SO THIS IN BENEFECIAL OR DAngerous to my health please tell me i have done before 3 years in 2008

    1. Hello!
      First of all, every yoga asana should be learned slowly and gradually. So, when you start doing any asana, there is no need to do it for 45 min right away. BUT, of course, if you have got some experience already, there is no harm in doing it for 45 min, unless you do it completely wrong. But I doubt there is need to do so. Usually 5-15 minutes is enough.
      Another important thing is to do some counter pose after paschimottanasana with either the opposite bending (such as bhujangasana, dhanurasana, ushtrasana, purvottanasana or matsyasana) or with a spinal twisting (as in ardha-matsyendrasana, ardha-vakrasana, or in marichyasana).
      In general, paschimottanasana is definitely beneficial to your health, just do it following the correct technique.

      1. thanks bro for your help but if i have done continusly this asan wat are other benefits accept sprituality as i heard paschmnitsana devolp sprituality and i am benifited lot spritualy by this asan and what are loss doing it to long time

        1. When it comes to “spirituality”, paschimottanasana can serve as a tool, helping you to achieve the certain states of your body and mind, preparing them for higher practices, such as meditation.
          On a physical level it serves you by improving the health of your spine and back muscles. In also stimulates abdomen muscles and organs. As I said before, you should do paschimottanasana along with other yoga poses. You can start with it, then do bhujangasana or the cobra pose after it, then ardha-matsyendrasana, then viparita-karani, then savasana – this will be one of the simples yoga sets.
          There are no losses in doing paschimottanasana regularly unless you fall into one of the “contraindicated” categories.

      2. damodar ji i want to know that as i have heard that paschmnitosana asan leads to bramhacharya means celibacy is it true and as if person has done some asan for example paschmnitosana for longer time and left it for many years as i want to know that every yoga has life long effect on human body and paschmnitosana helps in problems of body parts like kidney and spine but it also helps in helping brain and protecting person from diseases related to neuro brain and as i have heard paschmnitosana is a asan develops flexibilty in person body but it also helps to achieve good height as it is true or not and if it is true than i have done paschmnitisaba asan more than 40 munutes so why i dont have good taller hheight as now my height is 5.10 inches so no big increase what are the reasons as due to done this asan for longer duratuon than also i have not grabbed maximum bebefits from this asana and i have done in month of jan 2009 paschmnitosana asan for 1 month for 40 minutes after 3yeara also no benefit sorry disturbing you again and again

        1. Hello, Manmeet!
          My question to you: have you been doing paschimottanasana in a sequence with other asanas? I should have written a post about paschimottanasana technique, and I guess I’ll do it soon. Anyway, the point is that yoga poses should be done in a particular sequence. Not that there is a certain sequence to fit everybody but there are combinations of poses that can support each other, increasing their total effects and benefits.
          So, it is better to do other yoga poses along with the seated forward bend pose; for example, after paschimottanasana, you can do bhujangasana, salabhasana, ardha matsyendrasana, navasana, sarvangasana, matsyasana. Before paschimottanasana you can have a couple of standing poses like padahastasana and trikonasana. And even before that you can do Surya Namaskar to warm up your body. So, here I have given you almost a complete asana sequence you can do daily. Or you can learn more asanas and adjust them to your needs.
          Now, about the benefits of the paschimottanasana. Yes, what you mentioned – all of them are there: it helps with kidney problems (and bhujangasana or the cobra pose will be a good addition to it to deal with these particular problems), it works on your spine, makes your back muscles more flexible and toned, improves blood circulation, stimulates the function of the spinal nerves, improves the signal transferring between the brain and internal organs, and even helps to lose some weight. It may be conducive to promoting growth by stretching your spine and aligning the spinal discs, but I’m not sure how effective it may be in the case of an adult person. If you want to get a bit taller, try hanging on a horizontal bar for few minutes on a regular basis. This may work if you don’t have any serious back issues.
          As I mentioned before there is no essential need to do paschimottanasana for 40 minutes at once. Better do it for 10 minutes, and leave other 30 min for other supporting poses. This will make a more balanced yoga practice.
          If you are interested in brahmacarya, then while doing paschimottanasana, also perform mula bandha, then add to your asana sequence such poses as uddiyana bandha, maha mudra, nadi shodhana pranayama, bhastrika pranayama.
          Another important point is where you are during your practice. If your mind rambles, and your attention is not directed to your practice, expect having the total benefit almost 50% reduced.
          If you have been practicing some yoga poses then abandoned them, their effect will remain for some time but not forever, of course. The nature of this material world is ever changing, and all the complex systems here are prone to degradation, so you cannot expect anything to last forever without any maintenance. Keep practicing yoga and the results will surely come and stay as long as you keep practicing. Treat it like eating or sleeping. You won’t eat today, and expect feeling no hunger during the next 30 days, right? 🙂 The same is true for yoga.

  2. should we control on eating when doing paschimottanasana ??
    can it be done daily ???
    to cut out fat how much time it requires and how many minute we should do it daily ??? if are able to do it easily ???

    1. Hi, Parth,
      1) You should do paschimottanasasa on empty stomach – this is required for all yoga asanas.
      2) Yes, the asana can be performed on a daily basis; in fact, I do it daily.
      3) You can do paschimottanasana 3-5 times during one set. At the end of a paschimottanasana set you can hold the asana for 5-10 minutes or as much as you feel comfortable to.
      When it comes to “easiness” – you don’t have to push yourself too much, just do what you can and gradually you will get better at it.
      Don’t expect the fat go away quickly, but if you practice the asana regularly, it will go away eventually and won’t return (unless you stop practicing and keep some bad eating habits).
      I need to say, that ideally you need to have some yoga routine instead of doing a single asana, because the routine or a program will enhance the benefits of each yoga pose that is included in the program.

      1. thanx 4 ur soon reply
        eating 2 hours before or after doing this asana wl do to reduce fat ??
        i do counts rahter then asana
        eg 1st streching right leg folding the left 1 i touch my head on the right knee several tyms till i get perspiration
        nd same thing with left leg nd then both leg together..will this be effective ?
        i feel good after doin this type of counts..get too much perspiration at abdomen nd belly..approximately according to u will it take a month to reduce fat around belly and abdomen??
        reply soon

        1. Just eating before or after the asana will not work. It is all about what you eat and how you do it. Of course, eating at least two hours before doing paschimottanasana is fine; but never do the pose after your meals.
          Doing counts is also fine.

          eg 1st streching right leg folding the left 1 i touch my head on the right knee several tyms till i get perspiration
          nd same thing with left leg nd then both leg together..will this be effective ?

          It seems that you do janu-sirsasana before paschimottanasana, so it’s OK. It will make the paschimottanasana (the forward bend) more effective.

          approximately according to u will it take a month to reduce fat around belly and abdomen??

          Well, it is natural to guess how much time it will take… But I cannot guarantee you will get a flat belly in a month. What I know from my own experience, if you keep doing paschimottanasana and some other asanas as well, you will not only lose weight, but will gain a better health and more energy. It may happen after a month, or after 6 months, but it will definitely happen to you. I have seen it many times. We are all different so for different people it may take different amounts of time to lose fat, so just keep going.

          1. ha ha i didn’t knew it was janu-sirsasana bt i find this way to do paschimotasana very easily

            thanx a lot 4 sharing ur knowledge with me.. 🙂 😀

  3. Damodar now days i want to ask that paschmnitosana is gift bhagawan shiv in many ways i want to no that paschmnitosana improves kidney problems heart problems and mental health it also improves the sprituality level of prson but i want to know that if person is doing one asa like paschmnitosana like i have done for 45 sometimes 50 minutes for 2 months regularly what does other problems would be created from this long durationasan what are other problems which would be rised due to it amd suppose if i would be doing this asan again what are side effects for it please expain in detailed

    Paschmnitosana is gift of lord shiv shankar but some times got uppset due to not understanding that asan may result into bad effect if i am doing for long hours

    1. Hello, Manmeet,
      I have left a pretty detailed comment on your question before here. Have you read it?
      Anyway, there is no need to artificially try to understand what is difficult to understand. 🙂 When it comes to yoga, you will learn more by simply doing (following, of course, the proper technique).
      As I said before, there is no need to do Paschimottanasana for 40 min or 1 hour, but if you like, you can do so, of course. Yes, it improves your kidneys, and spine (unless there is a herniated disc – in this case you cannot do the forward bend poses).
      What problems or side effects can come out of such practice with keeping the one pose for long time? Well, if your leg and pelvis muscles are weak, you may end up with the laxity of the hip joints – you will simply overstretch your ligaments in this area.
      That is why I told you in the linked comment, that it is way better to do the forward seated bend pose in a sequence along with other yoga poses. You will get a more balanced routine, and more benefits not only from Paschimottanasana, but from other poses as well.

  4. Thanks brother for ur coments and written but still i want to ask what ar is real benefit with this and if have done asan for 40 minutes before 3 years can i do it now for 4 to 5 minutes or it is not beneficial tel me bro i am very sorry for asking u again and again about it

    1. No problem for asking, Manmeet. Yes, you an safely turn to doing Paschimottanasana for 4-5 minutes, but add other poses to support and enhance it as I explained in the other comment. It will still be beneficial for you if not more, since you will do Paschimottanasana in a sequence with other yoga asanas.

  5. Damodar hi..

    I am manmeet asking that i am doing all asan how much time i should do paschmnitosana as i was doing befor 50minutes for 2 months it can damage my bak bone or not and what is cause of asan if i do paschmnitosana my height can grow up or not as i am now 20 i can go taller or not

    1. Hi Manmeet,
      I’ve got funny news for you! I’m 33 now, and recently I’ve discovered that I grew up 4cm for the last three years! Well, not sure why – yes, I do Paschimottanasana along with other yoga poses – but the fact is that I got taller at my age (people usually grow until 25-27, as far as I know). I didn’t plan it (I already was 180 cm), but it just happened.
      As in your case, do Paschimottanasana for say 3-5 minutes along with other asanas – I do it that long. In your twenties there is a good chance you can grow taller. Just keep going!
      Of course, I’m not a magician and cannot guarantee anything – it is you who creates your life and its conditions. Keep trying! 😉

  6. Damodar,

    I plan to do a sequence of Surya namaskar and Paschimottanasana, to reduce weight/belly fat. Will it work?

    Also, pls guide me on how many months, it will take to see result? ramu

    1. Hi, Raam.
      Do it this way: Surya Namaskar, Bhujangasana, Salabhasana, Dhanurasana, Ardha Matsyendrasana, Paschimottanasana, Navasana, Viparita Karani Mudra, Shavasana. It will take around 40-45 mins. If you don’t have much time, do Surya Namaskar, Salabhasana, Paschimottanasana, Viparita Karani, Shavasana – this will take around 25-30 mins.
      Will it work? Yes, if:
      – You’re positive about it
      – Eat healthy foods
      – Eat on time
      – Chew nicely
      – Practice regularly (at least three times a week)
      – Have enough sleep
      It’s difficult to make projections on how many months you need to achieve your goal since people are different. It might take like from 3-4 months and up to … who knows? 🙂
      Just do it, but do not hurry.

  7. That is otther question that yoga increases height or not which are yoga that actually increases height but what are other asan to increase height and how one can increase its height by asans

  8. I am not asking that height would increase or not what are other asan to uncrease height bro

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