This asana is also known as ‘Ugrasana’. ‘Ugra’ means ‘Shiva’. Lord Shiva is believed to be the god of annihilation. So he is called ‘Ugra’ or ‘the terrible’. As this asana is very difficult to practice, it is known as ‘Ugrasana’.
Sit on the floor with the legs stretched straight front. Bend the trunk forward and hold the feet with the thumbs and the first and the middle fingers. Exhale, and bend the trunk lower so that the head rests on the knees. Draw the abdomen in while bending lower. This will make the bending of the trunk easy. While bending bring the head between the arms. The aspirants having flexible spine can touch the knees with the head at the first attempt. Fat persons will find some difficulty in practicing this asana. Persons having a weak spine will take a fortnight or a month to accomplish perfection in this asana. Remain in this asana for five seconds. Begin with thirty seconds and gradually increase it to ten minutes.
(1) Pashchimottanasana is the foremost of all asanas. Its effect is that the life force flows through the Sushumna nadi and it kindles gastric fire.
(2) The excessive fat around the abdomen is reduced by practicing this asana.
(3) It tones up the kidneys, the stomach, the liver and other abdominal organs.
(4) It tones up the intestines and improves digestion.
(5) This asana cures constipation, indigestion, liver diseases and loss of appetite.
(6) The practice of this asana helps the joints to regain elasticity. It rejuvenates the entire spine.