This posture can be entered from hero pose (virasana), where the forehead will rest on the ground in front of the knees and the hips can lift off the heels, rolling the crown of the head to the floor. For less flexible practitioners, this posture can be assumed from lotus pose (padmasana), where the forehead rests on the mat between the knees.
The hand and arm position of this posture provide a powerful stretch for the muscles of the chest and ribcage, which can increase breathing capacity. It also stretches the spine, releasing tension in the cervical and lumbar regions of the back. This is said to tone the nerves of the spine. If the gesture is practiced from hero pose with the hips lifted, there is an additional stretch for the muscles of the upper back, neck and shoulders.
The forward fold on this posture puts pressure on the abdominal organs, which helps to stimulate digestion.