[Pose Of the Week] Lying Down Westward Pose (Intermediate)

Enjoy a deep spine and hamstring stretch in Lying Down Westward Pose…

Lying Down Westward Pose (Supta Paschimottanasana or Urdhva Mukha Supta Paschimottanasana) – also known as Reclining Stretch of the West, Supine Forward Bend, or Reclined Forward Bend Pose, or Upward-Facing Reclined Intense Back Stretch Pose, is an intermediate-to-advanced yoga pose that offers a great hamstring and back stretch. It is also thought to relieve constipation and improve digestion, and may help relieve headaches and back pain.

This is the reclined version of Seated Forward Bend pose, and provides a different way to approach a forward bend. Since you are supported by the floor in this pose, it helps to take pressure off the spine, while allowing gravity to gently deepen the stretch. This is a calming pose that helps to slow the breath and heart rate. It is believed to reduce stress and relieve anxiety and fatigue, and to active the solar plexus chakra which is associated with confidence and self-esteem.

This pose is a good one to do to calm the mind in preparation for meditation, or as a restorative pose at the end of your practice.

How to Do Lying Down Westward Pose:

  • While lying flat on the back, bend your knees in to the chest.
  • Straighten your legs and slowly relax them back over your head, holding behind the knees if you are not very flexible.
  • Roll slightly back so that the upper part of the shoulder blades touches the mat. Feel free to rock a little as long as it feels safe.
  • Press overhead through the heels and toes and try alternating flexing and pointing the feet.
  • Stretching through the heels will result in a much deeper stretch along the legs and back but extending through the toes stretches the muscles around the tibia and the ankles.
  • Hold for several deep breaths, or as long as you feel comfortable. Breathe deeply into the backs of the legs and concentrate on relaxing your hamstrings.
  • To come out of the pose, bend your knees and rock on your spine into an upright seated position.



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