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.
In 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.
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!