Back Stretch (Paschimottanasana) – Yoga Exercise for Strength & flexibility of Your Back & Spine

Back Stretch (Paschimottanasana) (for strength and flexibility of your back and spine)


Stage 1

Step 1

Back Stretch - Yoga Exercise - 01

Back Stretch – Yoga Exercise – 01

  • Sit as shown in the figure
  • Legs are together, feet touch each other
  • Hands rest on thighs
  • Spine straight

 

 

 

 

 

Step 2

Back Stretch - Yoga Exercise - 02

Back Stretch – Yoga Exercise – 02

  • Think of graceful movements of a ballerina
  • Raise arms slowly to shoulder level
  • Gracefully bring them overhead
  • Bend backward several inches (to firm your abdomen)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 3

Back Stretch - Yoga Exercise - 03

Back Stretch – Yoga Exercise – 03

  • Slowly & gracefully bend forward
  • Keep arms outstretched

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 4

Back Stretch - Yoga Exercise - 04

Back Stretch – Yoga Exercise – 04

  • Hold knees securely
  • Do not go farther than knees
  • Knees do not bend
  • Neck is relaxed, head bends forward

 

 

 

 

 

Step 5

Back Stretch - Yoga Exercise - 05

Back Stretch – Yoga Exercise – 05

  • Hold knees firmly and draw trunk down as far as possible
  • Forehead is aimed toward knees
  • Elbows bend outward
  • Knees remain straight
  • Feel spine stretching but do not strain
  • Hold the posture motionless
  • Remain in your extreme position for 20 seconds
  • Slowly straighten to upright position of 1st figure
  • Slide hands back up to knees

 

 


Stage 2

Step 1

  • Complete the stage 1

Step 2

Back Stretch - Yoga Exercise - 06

Back Stretch – Yoga Exercise – 06

  • Perform the movements of step 1 to step 3 of first stage but now bend forward several inches further.
  • Attempt to hold the calves, and if you cannot as yet hold calves, revert to knees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 3

Back Stretch - Yoga Exercise - 07

Back Stretch – Yoga Exercise – 07

  • Hold calves firmly and draw trunk down as far as possible
  • Forehead is aimed toward knees
  • Knees must remain straight
  • Do not strain
  • Hold your extreme position (as far down as you can come) without motion for 20 counts
  • Slowly straighten to upright position

 

 

 

 

 


Stage 3

Step 1

  • Perform the step 4 of stage 1

Step 2

  • Perform step 3 of stage 2 twice (two times) without pausing between repetitions
  • Relax upon completion

Step 3

Back Stretch - Yoga Exercise - 10

Back Stretch – Yoga Exercise – 10

  • Reach up and backward as far as possible

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 4

Back Stretch - Yoga Exercise - 11

Back Stretch – Yoga Exercise – 11

  • Attempt to hold the ankles (if you cannot as yet hold ankles revert to a more modified position

 

 

 

 

 

Step 5

Back Stretch - Yoga Exercise - 12

Back Stretch – Yoga Exercise – 12

  • Hold ankles firmly and draw trunk down as far as possible
  • Forehead is aimed toward knees
  • Elbows bend outward
  • Knees remain straight
  • Do not strain
  • Hold your extreme position (as far as you can do) without motion for 20 counts
  • Slowly straighten to upright position

 


Stage 4

Step 1

  • Perform step 5 of stage 1 and hold extreme position for 20 counts
  • Perform step 3 of stage 2 and hold extreme position for 20 counts
  • Perform step 5 of stage 3 and hold extreme position for 20 counts
  • Relax briefly upon completion

Step 2

Back Stretch - Yoga Exercise - 13

Back Stretch – Yoga Exercise – 13

  • Raise arms overhead and perform the backward movements as usual
  • Reach forward and attempt now to hold the feet

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 3

Back Stretch - Yoga Exercise - 14

Back Stretch – Yoga Exercise – 14

  • Bend forward as far as possible
  • Elbows need not bend outward as previously
  • Knees remain straight
  • Hold your extreme position (as far down as you can) without motion for a count of 20
  • If this position is too difficult, revert to a less extreme posture
  • Slowly straighten to upright position
  • Repeat this extreme position once

 

 


Stage 5

Step 1

  • Perform step 5 of stage 1 (Knees) once and hold for a count of 10
  • Perform step 3 of stage 2 (Calves) once and hold for a count of 10
  • Perform step 5 of stage 3 (Ankles) once and hold for a count of 10
  • Perform step 3 of stage 4 (Feet) once and hold for a count of 10

Step 2

Back Stretch - Yoga Exercise - 15

Back Stretch – Yoga Exercise – 15

  • When the count of 10 is completed in the position of the below picture, lower elbows toward floor for ultimate stretch of back and legs. Hold for a count of 10
  • Straighten to upright position and relax

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