Ardha Paschimottanasana

Definition - What does Ardha Paschimottanasana mean?

Ardha paschimottanasana is a basic seated asana that improves posture and calms the mind. The name comes from the Sanskrit, ardha, meaning “half”; pashima, meaning “back” or “west”; uttana, meaning “intense stretch”; and asana, meaning “pose” or “posture.”

To perform this asana, one leg is stretched straight out and the other is bent with the sole of the foot touching the inner thigh of the opposite leg. The torso then folds forward as the hands reach for the foot.

Ardha paschimottanasana is known in English as half seated forward bend.

Yogapedia explains Ardha Paschimottanasana

In addition to its physical benefits – particularly stretching the back – ardha paschimottanasana calms the nervous system, thereby relieving stress.

Traditionally, this variation of paschimottanasana (seated forward bend) is believed to open the manipura (navel) chakra, the body's energy and vitality center. Activating manipura dispels fear and insecurity and is associated with self-esteem, self-confidence and a sense of purpose. Ardha paschimottanasana is also grounding and, thus, activates the muladhara (root) chakra, which provides a sense of stability and security. Opening muladhara also sets the foundation for activating the other chakras.

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