An Easy Guide to Prasarita Padottanasana, or Wide Legged Forward Fold

Prasarita Padottanasana, or Wide Legged Forward Fold, is therapeutic for conditions such as headache, fatigue and mild depression, because it increases blood flow to the brain, improving brain function. Although at first it may seem daunting, inversions like Prasarita Padottanasana help to calm and relax the body, as well as alleviate back pain.

Prasarita Padottanasana

Wide Legged Forward Fold tones the legs and abdominal organs, as well as stretching the spine.  

This is a great pose at any time, but especially when full inversions are out of reach, as the head is flooded with blood and oxygen.

Watch a clip for this yoga pose 

How to do Prasarita Padottanasana, or Wide Legged Forward Fold, in easy steps

Step 1:

Begin in Mountain pose (Tadasana). Bring the hands to the hips.

Step 2:

Inhale and step or jump the legs about 4 to 5 feet apart, the feet are parallel and in line.

Step 3:

Engage your legs by lifting from your groins, through your thighs and knees to the inner arches of your feet.

Step 4:

Press into the balls and outer edges of the feet. Grow roots.

Step 5:

Take a deep breath, and lift your chest, opening the heart and stretching through the lower back.

Step 6:

On an exhalation, hinge from the hips and put your palms or fingertips on the floor, parallel with your hipbones.

Step 7:

Inhale and look up, leading with the chest. Spread the buttock-bones and lengthen the spine.

Step 8:

Exhaling, bend your elbows to lower your chest and head towards the floor, keeping the weight in your legs, being careful not to tip forward.

Step 9:

Stay for 5 to 10 breaths.  

Step 10:

To release, bring your hands to your waist and slowly lift your trunk on an inhalation. Return to Mountain Pose.

Prasarita Padottanasana

Yoga pose category:  Standing

Level: 1

Although this is a yoga pose for beginners, many yogis find it daunting, because the head and torso are inverted, positioned so that they are upside down. To help with this fear, try placing a cushion or a yoga block under your head, to minimise the bend, and to lift you a little higher. This helps you feel a little more in control. 

Eventually, after practice and dedication, inversions will seem much less daunting, and you will be able to practice without the need for extra support.

Sanskrit words meaning: 

Prasarita - spread

Pada - foot

Ut - intense

Tan - stretch

Asana - pose

Yoga pose health benefits: 

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




Back pain

Brain ache


Yoga pose contraindications: 

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

Back injury

Hamstring 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.