Special: Paścimottānāsana serves as the counterpose to the intense backbend (ūrdhva dhanurāsana) and acts as a transition to the calmer closing sequence. This pose encourages a longer stay, and many practitioners remain in it for more than five breaths. After adjustments, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois used to guide practitioners to transition directly from Ūrdhva Dhanurasana to this counterpose without the Vinyāsa sequence. His back massage in this pose was legendary. Today, the tradition of transitioning directly without assistance from Ūrdhva Dhanurasana is often followed.
Directly from the pose of "Downward-Facing Dog" in the previous sequence of movements.
Vinyāsa 1 to 6:
Follow the familiar sequence of movements until you reach "Downward-Facing Dog."
Vinyāsa 7 – Inhalation, Exhalation, Inhalation:
Inhale and push off from the pose of "Downward-Facing Dog," gliding into a hand balance. Then, exhale slowly lower yourself between your arms. Complete the movement with an inhalation by extending your legs forward. Plant your hands firmly into the ground and let your spine grow straight upward.
Vinyāsa 8 - Exhalation, Inhalation:
Exhale and reach for your feet with extended arms. Inhale, lengthening your spine upward.
Try: You can experiment with each of the hand positions from Paścimottānāsana A to D in this pose. A particularly effective grip is one where you interlace your hands in front of your feet and thread your thumbs between your big toe and second toe, pulling them backward.
Vinyāsa 9 - Exhalation, 5 breaths:
Exhale and slowly lower yourself forward, starting from the pelvis, with a long spine. By the fifth exhalation, let your skull reach toward your toes.
Try: This pose also invites a longer stay, so you can enjoy the lengthening of the spine for 10 breaths or more.
Vinyāsa 10 - Inhalation, Exhalation:
Inhale and rise up, starting from the heart center. When your arms reach full extension, exhale.
Vinyāsa 11 to 14:
Follow the familiar sequence of movements until you return to "Downward-Facing Dog."
In traditional counting: Proceed directly to the sequence of movements for the next pose from here.
Effect: The preceding backbend creates length, especially in the front of the body. Paścimottānāsana now provides length to the back of the body, relieving the overall spine