Niralamba Paschimottanasana

Intermidate

Seated Asanas

Niralamba Paschimottanasana

Unsupported Back Stretching Pose

(ni-ra-lam-ba-pas-chi-mot-ta-na-sun)

Meaning: niralamba = without support

Preparation

Sit in Dandasana (Staff Pose) - spine straight and upright, hands at your sides, extend legs forward, feet together. Inhale, exhale, and relax.

Getting into position

Bring both feet in close to your pelvis (knees up), place the arms outside the legs, and grab the soles (bottoms) of the feet on the outside. Exhale. Inhaling, lean backward, balancing on the buttocks and tailbone. Exhale. Inhaling, raise the legs, focusing on a fixed point. For stability, overlap your hands over the backs of the ankles (right hand to left ankle, left hand to right ankle), point your toes away. Exhaling, pull the arms up (straightening your legs) then back, drawing the knees in toward the head. Keep the legs straight, open the chest, straighten the spine, and rest chin above knees. Hold for a few moments to allow the body to adjust. Inhale. Exhaling, bend farther. Hold with normal breathing for around 30 seconds.

Coming out of position

Slightly relax the body. Inhale. Exhaling, slowly bend the knees, separate them slightly; slowly lower the heels down; release the hands. Sit back into starting position. Inhale, exhale, and relax.

Tips

  • Keep the abdominal muscles tight and the spine straight during the practice.
  • If you lose balance, make sure especially not to fall backwards.
  • When trying to fold farther, do so while exhaling.

Precautions

Avoid

If you have a herniated (slipped) disc, sacral (tailbone) infection, or chronic/serious sciatic nerve problems.

Be careful

If you have high blood pressure; or neck, lower back, coccyx (tailbone), sciatic nerve, or heart issues.

Benefits

General

  • Stretches upper and lower back, gluteal muscles, backs of legs.
  • Strengthens arms, abdominal muscles, hip flexors, front thighs.
  • Improves balance and concentration.
  • Stimulates abdominal organs and digestive system.
  • Relieves constipation.

Therapeutic

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