Downward-Facing Intense West Stretch

Definition - What does Downward-Facing Intense West Stretch mean?

Downward-facing intense west stretch is a basic restorative forward bend that calms the mind and relieves stress. This pose is performed while seated on the edge of a chair. The legs are stretched straight out and the upper body folds forward as the hands reach for the feet.

Downward-facing intense west stretch is also known by its Sanskrit name, adho mukha paschimottanasana.

Yogapedia explains Downward-Facing Intense West Stretch

Downward-facing intense west stretch is a less intense variation of seated forward bend (paschimottanasana), which is one of the 12 basic postures of Hatha yoga and is also part of the Ashtanga yoga primary series.

In yoga, the front of the body is called the eastern side and the back of the body is the west; hence, the name of this posture refers to the intense stretch of the back of the body, from the hamstrings up the spine to the neck.

In addition to its calming and stress-reduction benefits, downward-facing intense west stretch is believed to offer the following benefits:

  • Relieves lower backache
  • Tones the liver and kidneys
  • Is therapeutic for anxiety and depression
  • Stimulates the reproductive system

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