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52. Paschimothanasana
Forward Bend Pose
This forward bend gives a complete stretching to the neck, the back, the hamstrings and calves. At the same time, it directs your attention inward. You stimulate the entire nervous system and learn to find stillness and relaxation during a period of effort or even discomfort when doing this stretching exercise.'Paschima' refers to 'West' . In this exercise the spinal chord gets more exercise and becomes more elastic. 'Paschima' here refers to the 'Dorsal or backside'. 'Thana' means stretch. The name itself suggests that the back is stretched very well.
1. Sit down with your legs stretched. The legs lie side by side and the toes point upwards. Stretch your lower back and raise your arms. Look forward, lengthen your back, and keep the chest and your breathing free.
2. Slowly bend forward, stretch your crown upward and try not to lose the supporting dynamism of the lower back. See to it that your legs do not move or tilt.
3.The moment you notice that you can only bend further by bending the lower back, move your hands to your lower legs, ankles or feet. Lightly pull your legs, ankles or feet and continue stretching.Keep your shoulders down. Breathe in and out across the entire length of your spinal column deeply and in a relaxed way. Everytime you exhale, you should bend further towards your legs without losing the length in your back and the dynamism in the lower back. When you lose the dynamism in the lower back, you will notice that you lose a major part of the stretching and you will have a hard time breathing.
4. Stretch out your arms forward.
5. Slowly raise your upper body. Keep your legs lying side by side and the toes pointing upwards.
6. Sit straight up again, just like your original position.Try to relax as you perform this forward bend and do not pull your feet forcibly. When you pull too hard, the body hardens itself, your thinking and breathing become unquiet and you run a risk of injuring yourself.
1. Since the stomach is exercised heavily, it removes obesity. For obese people though it appears to be difficult to perform in the initial stage, but with gradual practice one can easily perform this exercise.
2. This exercise tones up the spine, nerve system and abdominal area. As such problems in the area of spine, nervous system and abdomen are cured.
3. This exercise activates stomach, liver, kidneys and pancreas. The diabetic people invariably perform this exercise in order to get good benefit.
4. Practicing this exercise helps to better blood circulation and problems in prostate gland, uterus and urinary bladder will be cured.
5. This is an effective exercise for those who are suffering from kidney problems.
6. This exercise helps to cur skin disease and cures pains in the region of the spine and back.
7. This exercise is particularly helpful to those who are short tempered and agitated, mentally depressed and those who are suffering from high blood pressure.
8. Performing this exercise helps to increase vitality and cures impotency.
9. This exercise effectively cures constipation and indigestion.
Do not attempt this pose if you suffer from:
1. Dirrhea
2. Breathlessness or asthma
3. Back injury
After bending forward keep the heels, calves and thighs touching the floor. The spine should be straight and the forehead should rest on the knees. The breath should be smooth and if possible the elbows should rest on the floor. As the abdomen is completely folded the bend should be completed after exhaling fully. One should bend only to ones comfort and then stabilise at that point. The knees should not be bent towards the forehead. As the body relaxes the head, shoulders and chest will automatically and naturally come down. Do not strain or pull on the feet to get the forehead closer to the knees. The breath will allow the body to relax more.

Mayurasana I
Ardha Padmotthanasana
Purna Bhujangasana
Setu Banda Sarvangasana
Tripura Harasana
Mayurasana II
Urdhwamukha Tittibhasana
Akarna Dhanurasana
Parirutha Janu Shrishasana
Parshva Konasana
Shalabhasana II
Uttitha Hastha Padangustasana

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