This asana has four parts, A, B, C & D. All four combine a standing forward bend with an inversion, giving you the best of both worlds. Practicing Prasarita Padottanasana is believed to create a calm mind and tranquility. By keeping the focus on your breathing and the dristi (focal point) to your nose, it is sure to slow the mind and calm the nerves.
Start in Samasthiti and jump the feet out to the right in a medium-width stance (the width will depend on your height, but anywhere from 3 – 5 feet apart). The feet are parallel facing forward and the hands are on the hips.
- Hands on hips, feet parallel
Inhale and open the chest, exhale fold forward. Place the hands shoulder width apart on the ground between the feet. Inhale flatten the back creating length in the spine, gaze it towards the third eye (between the eyebrows) flat back, gazing to the third eye, exhale fold forward, working towards placing the top of the head on the mat, bending the elbows at 90 degrees. Gaze is towards the tip of the nose. This is Prasarita Padottanasana A. Hold here for 5 breaths.
- Prasarita Padottanasana A
Inhale flatten the back, look to the third eye, exhale come all the way up.
Inhale the arms out to the sides, exhale place them back on the hips, inhale open the chest and exhale fold forward. Keep the hands on the hips and working towards placing the top of the head on the ground. Gaze is to the tip of the nose. This is Prasarita Padottanasana B. Hold for 5 breaths here.
Prasarita Padottanasana B
Inhale back up, exhale. Reach the arms behind the back and interlace the fingers. Inhale open the chest and exhale fold forward working to reach the arms overhead and place the hands on the ground for Prasarita Padottanasana C. Gaze is to the tip of the nose. Hold here for 5 breaths.
Prasarita Padottanasana C
Inhale back up to center, exhale. Inhale open the chest, exhale fold forward and grab the big toes with the first two fingers, hooking with the thumbs. Inhale flat back, lengthening the spine and gazing to the third eye (between the eyebrows), and exhale fold forward. Bend the elbows out to the sides at 90 degrees and working towards placing the top of the head on the ground. This is Prasarita Padottanasana D, the final position in this series. Gaze it towards the nose. Hold here for 5 breaths.
Prasarita Padottanasana D
After 5 breaths, inhale flat back, gaze to the third eye, exhale hands to hips, inhale come all the way up, exhale back to Samastithi.