Seated Forward bend - Paschimottanasana

Seated Forward Bend is an excellent posture to stretch the back of the thighs (hamstrings) and the glutes. It can easily be practiced by itself.

Outside of my yoga practice, I sometimes like to stretch my body. And this asana is one of my favorite for this. I like to take extra opportunities to work on getting more flexibility in my hamstrings. Runners, cyclists, hikers or other sports enthusiasts who have tight hamstrings would definitely benefit from a regular use of this posture.

Seated Forward Bend is a calming posture. It helps to calm the mind and to slow the breath down. This can contribute to a better sleep or simply lead you toward a nice and calm time before falling asleep, if you practice it before going to bed.

Seated Forward Bend
  • Sit on the floor with your legs together and in front of you. Make sure to sit on your sitting bones by moving the flesh out, as necessary.

  • Flex the feet and point the toes toward the ceiling.

  • Get your legs active: press the back of your knees down to the floor by contracting the quadriceps.

  • Posture tip

    On each inhale, lift the chest up slightly and lengthen the spine to increase the fold at the hips. Then exhale and release down.

  • Inhale both hands up toward the ceiling, lengthening the spine.

  • As you exhale, hinge forward at the hips, as far as possible, reaching out with your arms and hands to keep a long spine.

  • Next, relax you upper back, neck and head down

  • Grab your toes, feet, ankles or calves and pull gently to deepen the stretch.

Main Target / Benefits
  • Stretches the calves, hamstrings, glutes and back muscles.

  • Strengthens the quadriceps when the legs are kept engaged.

  • Calms the mind.

Caution / Recommendation
  • Hamstrings injuries: Be very gentle or avoid the posture completely until healed.