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Understanding Prasarita Padottanasana with variations A, B, C & D

Learn more about Prasarita Padottanasana with the variations A, B, C & D.

​Prasaritta Padottanasana known in English as standing wide-legged forward fold, is a beautiful asana that helps us to develop grounding and stability. As a standing posture, it activates Muladhara, the root chakra which represents the foundation of our practice on the mat, and also in life. When we are steady on our feet, grounded and strong, we can maintain balance not only physically but also mentally/emotionally.

​Prasarita Padottanasana gives us the perfect combination between the earth and air elements, steadiness and seeing the world upside down, as we bring the crown of the head on the mat. In my interpretation and from personal experience with Prasarita Padottanasana, this is a beautiful metaphor which we can apply in life. To be strong, still and have a solid foundation, then we can explore life from different angles.

Physically, the benefits of this asana are:
Stretching the hamstrings and releasing tension from this area.
Inversion-boosts blood circulation and prana flow to the brain.
Stretches and lengthens the spine.
Opens the shoulders.
Grounds the body.

Mentally, it helps us to develop focus and concentration and gain a sense of clarity in the mind.

The four main variations of Prasarita Padottanasana are practiced in the standing/starting sequence of the Ashtanga Vinyasa practice. Creating the ideal space between the legs, we can start on the wide side of the mat and open our arms wide, with the palms facing downwards. Then we can align the ankles to be on the same line as the wrists.


  • Making the stand wider just so the crown of the head can reach the mat. Instead focus on lengthening the spine with practice and deepening the forward fold.
  • Slouching the shoulders inward and curving the upper spine. Instead open the chest by taking a deep breath in and looking forward, and with exhalation lengthen the spine into the forward fold.
  • Bending the knees. Instead, yoga blocks can be used to rest the hands on or the crown of the head.


Prasarita Padottanasana A


Prasarita Padottanasana B


Prasarita Padottanasana C


Prasarita Padottanasana D