Eka Pada Paschimottanasana, Half Hero Forward Bend, One Leg Forward Bend
How to perform Eka Pada Paschimottanasana
Sit in Dandasana with straight legs and a straightened spine. Check which of your nostrils is active. If you are breathing more from your right nostril it means that your right side is activated.
Bend your right knee and place your heel under your buttocks as you would do in Vajrasana. Bring your arms straight up without bending your elbows.
With an exhalation bend forward and grab the toes of your left foot. Place your upper body on your left leg and right thigh. Come up with inhalation.
Repeat this posture from the other side.
Benefits of Eka Pada Paschimottanasana
Eka Pada Paschimottanasana is a beneficial pose to stretch and strengthen the thigh, calves, hamstrings, back and spine. It prevents and heals sciatic pain.
Your strength and the flexibility of the knee joints and ankles is improved by this posture.
You want to reduce fat from the belly? Perfect: if you practice this posture daily you will never have a problem with gaining belly fat and you can even reduce it.
There is also a positive effect on the digestive system and other organs as the bending forward stimulates and massages the organs.
It relaxes the mind and improves concentration due to the increase of blood flow and blood circulation in your upper body and head.
This is why it is also good for diabetes. It regulates the sugar in your blood by this activation of blood circulation.
This yoga pose strengthens the nervous system.
Eka Pada Paschimottanasana works with the solar plexus chakra which is responsible for distributing the energy in your body. You will thus feel energetic, enthusiastic and active.
Eka Pada Paschimottanasana stimulates Prana, Samana and Apana Vayu in the body. Prana Vayu lives in the heart region and moves between heart and navel. It is responsible for breathing, the heart function and the movement of digestive acid.
This posture gives a positive effect to Prana Vayu and its action as well.
Samana Vayu, which is located in the navel region, is responsible for the function and the movement of the abdominal organs like pancreas, liver, kidney, spleen and gall bladder.
Apana Vayu is located between navel and anus and its function is to produce urine and stool and the pressure to get rid of it again. Bladder, uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries and their functions are also connected to Apana Vayu.
That’s how this posture is beneficial for menstruation irregularity or problems with the menopause. It also stimulates the acupressure points on the buttocks.
Always bend down with exhalation and come up with inhalation. Your focus should be to lay your upper body on your legs and try to keep your upper body as straight as possible.
Keep the foot of the straight leg stretched by pulling your toes in the direction of your body.
Tips and Help
To make this posture even more fun you can do it together with your partner. Just sit face to face to each other and practice together.
You can for example help your partner in bending forward by pulling his arms towards you.
You can place a cushion under your buttocks if you are not comfortable bending forward. You can also put a folded blanket or a cushion under your ankles when they are hurting or they make you feel uncomfortable.
If you cannot put your heel under your buttocks you can also place it next to them as in Virasana.
If you cannot grab your toes, try to reach as far as possible on your calves.
When to Avoid Eka Pada Paschimottanasana
Avoid this posture if you have an ankle or knee injury, torn ligaments or a damaged meniscus.
You should also not do this pose if you are suffering from back pain, slip disc, a displaced sacrum or diarrhea. It is not very good to do this exercise during pregnancy as it pressurizes the womb.
Be careful with doing this posture if you have strong sciatic pain.