Lots of Yoga

Prasarita Padottanasana - Love Your Wide-Legged Forward Bend

Prasarita Padottanasana or Wide Legged Forward Bend is one of the most loved yoga poses from the yoga standing sequence. Here's all you need to know.

Even though Prasarita Padottanasana is quite a mouthful to say, it's one of our favourite standing poses. As one of the ultimate stretches in the yoga standing sequence, we decided to learn more about the good old Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend.

Prasarita Padottanasana Benefits

http://instagram.com/p/3d5Kl7tV-q/?tagged=prasaritapadottanasanaa

Also known as wide stance forward bend, when done properly, all that stretching of the body - combined with the upside-down element of Wide Legged Standing Forward Bend - can benefit us in many ways. This pose helps to: -

  • Stretch the hamstrings
  • Stretch the inner legs
  • Stretch the back muscles
  • Strengthen the legs
  • Strengthen and elongate the spine
  • Calm the mind (great for mild depression, headaches and fatigue)
  • Help mild back pain
  • Stretch the shoulders
  • Stretch the neck.

There are four main Prasarita Padottanasana Poses, with the only variation between poses being the hand positioning.

How to do Prasarita Padottanasana A

http://instagram.com/p/BEqRPzTlnwd/?tagged=prasaritapadottanasanaa

Step 1. From standing at the top of your mat in Mountain Pose (Tadasana), take a big step back, as you would, for instance, in Warrior Pose. Turn the whole body, including the feet, to face the side. Raise your arms out wide to make sure you have spread the feet out wide enough. When your arms are up, the feet should be directly under the wrists. When you have the correct foot positioning, bring the toes slightly inwards towards each other, leaving the heels where they are.

Step 2. Put the hands on the hips, take a deep breath in, and on the exhale, bend from the hips, keeping the spine straight, and release the hands to the floor in between the legs. The hands should be in alignment with the feet, and the elbows drawing in towards each other. Keep the spine straight, neck lose and the head towards the floor. Hold for five breaths.

Step 3. To get out of the pose, inhale and rise to fingertips, exhale and put the hands on the hips, inhale and slowly come up till in fully upright position.

Troubleshooting: Can't get your hands on the floor? No problem! Put them on a couch, a chair or some blocks instead! Remember, you can always put a slight bend in the knee.

How to do Prasarita Padottanasana B

http://instagram.com/p/_6JPXdJE6T/?tagged=prasaritapadottanasanab

Step 1. Follow the instructions in Step 1 of How to do Prasarita Padottanasana A.

Step 2. Put the hands on the hips, take a deep breath in, and on the exhale, bend from the hips keeping the spine straight and keeping the hands on the hips, with the elbows drawing in slightly towards each other. Keep the spine straight, neck lose and the head towards the floor. Hold for five breaths.

Step 3. To get out of the pose, inhale and very slowly come up till in fully upright position.

Troubleshooting: If there is too much pressure on the hamstrings, bend the knees slightly, or revert to a modified version of Prasarita Padottanasana A using blocks or a chair.

How to do Prasarita Padottanasana C

http://instagram.com/p/BFU2n32NdqK/

Step 1. Follow the instructions in Step 1 of How to do Prasarita Padottanasana A.

Step 2. Bring the hands behind the back and intertwine the fingers, keeping the arms straight. Roll the shoulder blades back, and take a deep breath in. On the exhale, bend forward from the hips, keeping the spine straight and the hands tightly intertwined, and the shoulder blades rolled back. Keep the spine straight, neck lose and the head towards the floor. Push the hands slowly towards the floor, as far as they will go. Hold for five breaths.

Step 3. To get out of the pose, inhale and very slowly come up till in fully upright position.

Troubleshooting: If you can't get your hands together behind the back, you can always use a strap by either holding either end of it, or wrapping it around your upper arms.

How to do Prasarita Padottanasana D

http://instagram.com/p/BCZ1RtRoMOC/?tagged=prasaritapadottanasanad

Step 1. Follow the instructions in Step 1 of How to do Prasarita Padottanasana A.

Step 2. Put the hands on the hips, take a deep breath in, and on the exhale, bend from the hips keeping the spine straight and release the hands to the floor, grabbing the big toes with the index finger and thumb of each hand. The elbows should be splayed out as much as possible. Gently pull on the toes to bring the upper body down. Keep the spine straight, neck lose and the head towards the floor. Hold for five breaths.

Step 3. To get out of the pose, inhale and rise to fingertips, exhale and put the hands on the hips, inhale and slowly come up till in fully upright position.

Troubleshooting: If you have trouble reaching to grab the toes, put a strap on either foot and pull on those instead!

Wide Legged Forward Bend Pose Modifications and Variations

Here are some of our favourite variations to this wonderful pose.

Prasarita Twist

http://instagram.com/p/-uwcReheV2/

Put one hand on the floor in between the legs and raise the other to the sky.

Get your teacher to help you

http://instagram.com/p/-WPjbHIDFC/

Your teacher will know exactly where to stand when you are in this pose so that you don't topple over so you feel safe enough to bend deeper. A gentle hand on the lower back and another on the upper can help you get deeper into your bend without being afraid.

On your elbows

http://instagram.com/p/3fXq-ah4ig/?tagged=prasaritapadottanasanaa

If you feel that you can go deeper and deeper, but don't quite feel that you want to attempt to go into tripod headstand from this pose, try resting on the elbows for maximum stretch.

Strap the hands together

http://instagram.com/p/-yoVrVlFL_/

If you can't keep the hands together in the C version, try strapping them together.

With a little help from my friends...

http://instagram.com/p/-_uDOrh9Ra/

Getting an adjustment in this pose feels great. A teacher or a friend can will help you get deeper in the pose by applying as much pressure as you would like to the lower back.

Use a wall

http://instagram.com/p/9ra6WqozqJ/

If you can get down low enough but are afraid of falling over, a wall can be your best friend in this pose.

Prasarita Padottanasana Videos

If you are more of a visual learner, here are a coupe of videos for you to perfect your Wide-Legged Forward Bend.

Prasarita Padottanasana with Kino Macgegor

Wide Legged Forward Bend - Yoga With Adrienne

Wide Legged Forward Bend - John Schummacher

Prasarita Padottanasana Transition Into Tripod Headstand

The ultimate goal of Prasarita Padottanasana is being able to transition into tripod headstand. If you feel you are ready to do so, here are a couple of vids to help you get there.

Kino Transitions Into Tripod Headstand from Prasarita Padottanasana

Transitioning into Tripod Headstand from Wide Legged Forward Bend

Prasarita Padottanasana Transition Into Tripod Headstand

How do you find Prasarita Padottanasana? Are there any tips, tricks, modifications or variations you feel we missed out? Please share them with us! We'd love to hear from you.

Follow us for more free, high-quality yoga and mindfulness content... and subscribe to our mailing list below!

*indicates required field

 

Or connect with us on social media (facebooktwitterinstagrampinterest or tumblr).