In the Sanskrit language pada means ‘foot’ and hasta refers to the ‘hand’. Therefore padahasta asana means the ‘hand to foot pose’.
The Hands to Feet Pose or Pada Hastasana gives many benefits – trimming the waist, restoring elasticity to the spine, and stretching the ligaments of the legs, especially the hamstrings.
It also aids the flow of blood to the brain. Once again, as in the Forward Bend, the purpose of the asanas is to bend down as far as you can with your spine and legs straight.
Holding your toes and bringing your head into the shins will follow naturally when your back has become more flexible.
Breathe deeply in the position, and let yourself fold a little further down with each exhalation.
To pull your chest in closer to your legs, walk your hands back behind you, palms on the floor, as in the picture below.
Steps for Pada Hastasana :
- Standing with your feet together, exhale and bend forward at the hips, keeping your arms extended throughout the movement, finishing with your upper torso and arms hanging straight downward.
- Inhale slowly, draw the head and neck forward (look up) and lengthen the spine.
- Exhale again and relax the head, neck and spine downwards, fixing your fingers and palms firmly under your toes and the balls of your feet into the complete padahastasana.
- To come out of the posture, release your hands from beneath the feet, straighten your arms, inhale and slowly come back up into tala asana, with the arms again extended high overhead.
- Exhale, slowly lower the hands back down and relax in sama sthiti asana(normal pose).
Note: Also try to hold this position for 15 to 20 seconds in the beginning, increasing the duration over time.
Note: It is imperative that the legs remain straight and should not bend at knees within this posture. As many suffer from a great deal of inflexibility in the legs, back and hips, this can be a very difficult posture in the beginning. You may rest your hands gently upon your ankles or thighs, or as far as you are able to stretch downwards without bending your knees, and gradually with practice attain the full pose.
The benefits of padahastasana are numerous. In this posture, there is great emphasis on the flow of blood to the head without the difficulties presented in other postures which also do so such as the headstand. Some key benefits are:
- The toning of the abdominal organs
- Conditions of bloating of the abdomen, constipation, indigestion and other gastric troubles can be greatly alleviated
- Helps to relieve sciatica
- The spine is made resilient, straight and flexible
- Circulation of the blood throughout the body is improved
- The muscles of the back are stretched and energized, making one feel invigorated afterwards