Ashtanga Yoga Pose Explained

INTENSE WIDE LEG STRETCH| Prasarita = Spread out, Pada= Foot, Uttana= Intense stretch

Prasarita Padottanasana ‘D’ is the last wide legged forward fold in the Ashtanga Primary Series. It is different from the other Prasarita Padottanasanas in that the arms are locked onto the big toes. By using the strength of the biceps and the arms, one can draw one’s head even closer to the ground. It is arguably the most intense of the Prasarita Padottanasanas in the primary sequence. Keep reading below to find out how to receive all the big benefits of this asana.

Benefits of Prasarita Padottanasana ‘D’:

Prasarita Padottanasana ‘D’ strengthens and stretches the inner legs, as well as the back of the legs. It also stretches the spine. It is known to relieve a mild backache as the forward fold relaxes the lower back muscles. Prasarita Padottanasana ‘D’ involves locking the first two fingers and the thumb around the big toes and flaring the elbows out so they are in line with the wrists. This engages the shoulder muscles. Lastly, to hang with the head heavy, towards the floor or placed on top of the floor, encourages blood flow towards the brain is excellent for the crown chakra and helps to calm the mind.

Now that you know what this Asana is good for, let’s get cracking!

Prasarita Padottanasana ‘D’ is the fourth wide legged forward fold in the Ashtanga Primary Series sequence. It is identified merely by the letter ‘D.’ It is followed directly by Prasarita Padottanasana ‘C,’ and you do not need to return to Samashti base position before moving on to the Prasarita Padottanasana ‘D’ asana. Keep your legs in the same position throughout the entire A, B, C, and D sequence.

(1) Ekam - Inhale - Arms out to sides, like wide airplane wings.

(2) Dve - Exhale - Fold forward and catch your big toes with first two fingers and close with the thumb. Lift your chest and shift your pelvis forward.

Inhale - Raise your head, reach your chest up, and straighten your spine for a single inhale.

(3) Trini - Inhale - Folding forward again into the full expression of this fold. Keep elbows bent, and attempt to place the crown of your head on the floor.

Hold the posture and breathe for 5 breaths.

(4) Chatvari - Inhale - Raise your head up looking towards the nose and straighten your spine.

Exhale - Release the breath without disturbing hands or body position.

(5) Pancha - Inhale - Release your hands and come up slowly.

Exhale - Jump forward to the top of the mat into Samasthi.

The eye gaze, dristi, is Nasagrai (the tip of the nose).

Tips for Successfully Completing Prasarita Padottanasana ‘D’:

It is important that you keep your spine completely straight, rather than curving it. If you are not curving your spine, then you can fold deeper, drawing attention to the fold originating from the hips instead of the spine. Also, make sure your elbows flare out to the sides, in line with the wrists, so you can use some of the strength of your arms to intensify the pose.

Also, make sure you shift some of your weight forward, away from the heels to further deepen this asana.

Modification for Prasarita Padottanasana ‘D’:

Modification: Rather than grabbing your big toes, you can hold the back of your legs with your hands. Always keep your back straight. To do so, stay in the half-way position. Do not curve your spine. Another option is to micro bend your knees so that you can grab your big toes. Bending the knees is allowed in this asana for a modification.