Paścimottānāsana - Intense Western/Back Stretch

  1. Sit with legs together and extended straight in front of you. (If hamstring muscles are tight and lower back feels compressed then sit on a block or neatly folded blanket.)

  2. Draw the flesh of the buttocks out and back behind you.

  3. Place your hands by your hips with the fingers pointing towards the toes.

  4. Draw the spine upright from the floor bringing the sacrum (back of pelvis) perpendicular to the floor as you do so.

  5. Allow the shoulders to descend as the spine ascends.

  6. Look evenly ahead keeping the breast bone and rib cage raised.

  7. Stretch your side ribs up from the hips and reach for your feet or bridge the gap with a belt.

  8. Keep the top of your thigh bones down and heels broad and extended.

  9. Draw the knee caps up suck in outer hips.

  10. Lift the front of your spine from the front groins to breast bone.

  11. Suck the side ribs in as you extend side ribs into the armpits.

  12. Inhale extend front body up and over legs contracting front thighs as you extend.

  13. Rest torso on legs. (Alternatively have a chair with the seat facing you over your legs and reach up for the top of the back support resting head onto folded blanket on seat).

  14. Keep heels broad hips in and spine long.

  15. Breathe and allow the mind to quieten.

  16. Stay for anything from 10-50 breathes.


  • Those with inflamed or vulnerable sacroiliac joints or mid to late term pregnancy should extend to chair as advised.