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Expanded Leg Stretch (<i>Prasarita Padottanasana</i>)

Expanded Leg Stretch (Prasarita Padottanasana)

How do I do the pose?
What are the benefits of doing Expanded Leg Stretch?
Any precautions?
Terms from the video explained
Click here to watch the video

How do I do the pose?
Stand with your feet together, arms at your sides. Inhale and, as you exhale, move your legs apart, a bit wider than shoulder distance. Bring your hands to your hips and roll your shoulders back. Interlock your fingers behind your back. As you inhale, look up to the ceiling, stretching your head and neck upward as you pull your arms down behind your back. Exhale and fold forward from the hips. Inhale and press your belly button to your spine as you remain folded. Inhale and come up halfway. Look up as you extend your arms straight out behind you (your hands are still clasped together) along your spine and raise your head above your heart. Inhale and use your arms to pull you all the way up to standing. Release your arms and roll your shoulders back. Exhale as you step your legs together, place arms back at your sides. back to top

What are the benefits of doing Expanded Leg Stretch?
This intense stretch helps release stress and tension from the neck and shoulders. It also strengthens the ankles and feet, stretches the hamstrings on the back of your thighs, and strengthens your abdominal muscles and lower back. back to top

Any precautions?
Be careful not to round your back or hunch your shoulders when doing this pose. You may want to bend your knees slightly to protect tight hamstring muscles. back to top

Terms from the video explained
  • Heart Opener: Yoga experts refer to the chest or the area behind the center of the breastbone (sternum) as the "heart." They are not referring to the actual heart organ. Postures that expand the chest are said to open the "heart" and release stress from the neck and shoulders and feelings that are troubling you (called "held emotions").
  • Samasthitih: Samasthitih is an ancient Sanskrit word that means "equal standing." This standing pose teaches balance and releases tension in the neck and shoulders. Some people stand with their hands folded in "prayer position" in front of their chest to help calm the mind.
  • Tailbone: The tailbone (coccyx) is the tip of the spine. When practicing Expanded Leg Stretch, remember to tuck the tailbone and draw in your lower belly to protect the spine. back to top
Last Modified Date: 1/5/2001