The Telegraph
Tuesday , February 21 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
Yoga expert Meera Raichura Vaghani helps you crack a tough Asana that works the leg muscles


In Sanskrit, Parshva means ‘side’ and Uttana ‘an intense stretch’. There are five steps for better performance of Parshva-uttanasana…


Step 1

Stand tall and erect like a palm tree. Breathing normally, fold your arms into a namaste behind your body. Fingers pointing upwards and palms closed below, this is the Paschima Namaskarasana. (Picture 1).

Step 2

Keeping the namaste pose intact, try to push the palms upwards, so that it is right behind the heart. Keep the breathing stable as it helps loosen the muscles, almost elongating them. Feel the chest area widening, as the muscles stretch around the sternum. Stay with this pose.

Step 3

Spread your legs with a 3-4ft distance between both, feet on parallel lines. Keep the weight equal on both legs and suck in the kneecaps.

Step 4

Turn the whole body to the right i.e. the right leg, left leg, trunk, neck, head and eyes (Picture 2). Get a better hold over your balance as you stretch your legs. Keep the respiration intact.

Step 5

Taking a deep breath in and out, begin to walk the torso-trunk down towards the right leg in front (Picture 3). Fold from the abdomen, bending the spine over the thigh leg, exhaling more while going down. Keep arms stretched in the namaste pose so that the back does not sag. Stay down breathing, trying to touch the forehead and chin to the knee. Take comfort in breathing, seven to 10 counts.

Rise up inhaling. Come to the centre with both legs still apart but parallel to each other. Repeat the step, this time with the left leg (Picture 4). When complete, jump-close both legs and relax in a pose of your choice.


You may not succeed in touching your forehead or chin to the knee. So place hands to hold the leg and support the stretch or you can just come halfway down and release the arms parallel to the floor.

Keeping your balance is also difficult. Make the adjustments as guided and follow the mind to get it best aligned.


This asana works on the muscles of the legs, paving growth in the fibres that make the muscles of your quadriceps, hamstrings, calves and shins.

Paschima Namaskarasana works on the chest, cardiac muscles, shoulder blades, shoulder joints, upper arms, elbows, forearms and wrists.

Because of the intense forward bend of the spine, there is plenty of scope to develop strength, tone and shape of the entire chest, back and abdominal floor muscles.

The stomach fold helps in better circulation of blood and oxygen to the stomach organs like the intestines, pancreas, liver, kidneys and stomach. Also unblocks the path of nerves embedded in the spinal tract.

Send your fitness queries for Meera to