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Separate Leg Forward Fold – Prasarita Padottanasana

Prasarita Padottanasana Yoga Pose

Prasarita Padottanasana

[pra-sa-REE-tah pah-doh-tahn-AHS-anna]

Prasarita means separated. Pada means legs or feet. Uttana means intense stretching. The direct translation is “wide-stance forward bend’. This pose can also be translated as “spread out feet intense stretch”.

Benefits of Prasarita Padottanasana

  • Increases flexibility in the spine, hips, adductors, and the backs of the legs.
  • Creates traction for the spine.
  • Increases blood flow to the forehead and crown of the head, stimulating the pituitary and pineal glands to release feel-good hormones like melatonin and serotonin.

Contraindications

  • If you suffer from lower back pain and tight hamstrings it is important to use modifications.
  • Avoid separate leg forward fold if you have high blood pressure, Glaucoma, detatched retina, heart disease, hiatal hernia or have recently suffered from a stroke.
  • Take a very gentle approach if you suffer from sciatica.

Step-by-Step

  • Start in wide narrow stance, feet parallel and one leg distance apart.
  • Engage your Bandhas and feel that the waist is long.
  • Feel free to bend your knees as you bring your torso forward, hinging from your hips.
  • Bring your palms to the floor and lengthen all the way from the crown of your head to your tailbone.
  • Feel the opening of your vertebrae on the back side of your body. Breathe into these spaces. Discover freedom and spaciousness there.
  • Find length in flexion although a gentle rounding of the spine is only natural.
  • Release your body entirely toward the earth.
  • As your deep abdominal muscles wrap around your waist, feel your internal organs relax into this support.
  • Press the backs of your legs and your heels toward the earth, feeling warm, grounding, earth energy.
  • As all the muscles in your legs are active, feel the muscles hugging the bones.
  • Find a perfect point of balance between the front and the back sides of your body. This is supported by your Bandhas. Become aware of this point of balance and rest into it.
  • Feel the sit bones lift as you deepen the stretch.
  • For more of a challenge: walk your hands backward through your legs.
  • Place your hands on your hips, squeeze your elbows together and use your back muscles to come up to a vertical position.

Preparatory Poses

Counter Poses

Prasarita Padottanasana Variation