An Easy Guide to Paschimottanasana, or Forward Fold Yoga Pose

Paschimottanasana, or Forward Fold Yoga Pose, helps to stretch the hamstrings and relieve pressure on the lower back. This is a great yoga pose for de-stressing at the end of the day, helping the body and mind to unwind.

Forward Fold

Paschimottanasana is a lovely stretch for the spine, and a massage for the heart - what's not to love?

Watch a clip for this yoga pose 

How to do Paschimottanasana, or Forward Fold Yoga Pose in easy steps

Step 1:

To begin, sit on the ground with legs extended out in front (Dandasana). Feet are flexed with the toes pointing upwards.

Step 2:

If required sit on a blanket or block for extra lift in the spine.

Step 3:

Spread the flesh of the sitting bones away, so that they are rooting into the mat.

Step 4:

Push through the heels and press the thighs down into the mat. Reach through the crown of the head, sit tall.

Step 5:

Exhaling, lean forward and hinge from the pelvis, reaching for the sides of the feet, ankles or shins. Alternatively, wrap a strap around your feet and pull against that.

Step 6:

Try to reach out of your lower back, rather than from the shoulders.

Step 7:

The aim is to reach your upper body forward to your toes, rather than have your head greet your knees.

Step 8:

Widen the elbows and use them to get more stretch into the legs and lower back.

Step 9:

Lift and lengthen with each breath, reaching a little further forward - again from the lower back.

Step 10:

Stay here for as long as comfortable. Release by slowly lifting the torso up on an inhalation.


Forward Fold

Yoga pose category:  Seated and twists

Level: 1

Although this is a yoga pose for beginners, most yogis can’t fully bend forward until they have practiced this pose at length and become more flexible. Don’t push too far – ease yourself forward. Don’t rush the process – you’ll get there in the end.

Sanskrit words meaning: 

Paschima - the West

Asana - pose

Yoga pose health benefits: 

Like all yoga poses, Paschimottanasana has many health benefits. Use it to help with the following health conditions:

High blood pressure







Yoga pose contraindications: 

Don’t practice Paschimottanasana if you have any of the following health conditions: 

Back injury

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Lucy Edge 

is a yoga advocate and writer with three yoga books to her name, including the beloved travel memoir Yoga School Dropout. She writes regularly for the national press, has authored over 150 guides to types of yoga and yoga poses, discovered nearly 250 proven health benefits of yoga through her painstaking classification of 300 clinical studies, and collected more than 500 personal testimonials to the real life benefits of yoga. She is also the creator of our yoga shop – YogaClicks.Store – handpicking yoga brands that are beautifully made by yogis committed to environmental and social sustainability.