Supta Paschimottanasana

Definition - What does Supta Paschimottanasana mean?

Supta paschimottanasana is a basic reclined asana that provides a strong hamstring stretch. The name comes from the Sanskrit supta, meaning “reclined”; paschim, which means “west” and refers to the back of the body; uttana, which means “stretched out”; and asana, meaning “pose.”

In supta paschimottasana, the yogi lies on their back and folds at the hips so that the straight legs lift overhead and continue to drop toward the forehead while the hands grasp the big toes. It resembles paschimottanasana, or seated forward bend, but done lying on one's back.

In English, it is called supine or reclining forward bend with big toe hold or reclining stretch of the west pose.

Yogapedia explains Supta Paschimottanasana

This supta version of paschimottanasana is the gentlest of the forward bends, easing the asana for yogis who suffer from back pain. The ground acts as a support in the pose, taking the pressure off of the spine and allowing gravity to deepen the stretch.

Supta paschimottanasana has many of the same benefits as paschimottanasana and its other variations. It acts as a restorative pose during and at the end of asana practice by cooling the body, slowing the breathing and heart rate and calming the mind in preparation for meditation. Supta paschimottanasana reduces stress and relieves anxiety and fatigue. It is also believed to activate the manipura (solar plexus) chakra, which is associated with confidence, self-esteem and the power of transformation.

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