Padahastasana - Hand to Feet Pose
Padahastasana is a stretch pose that uses the strength of the body to stretch. The yogi uses the upper body strength to pull the body and put it in a stretch. Padahastasana is derived from the Sanskrit names pada which means foot, hasta which means hand and asana meaning pose. Padahastasana, therefore, translates to hand to feet pose in English.
Padahastasana Step by step
Step 1: Start by standing in an upright position. Your body should be straight with your kneecaps raised and the spine straight. Keep your feet shoulder width apart. Ensure that the thigh muscles are stretched out already as you stand.
Step 2: From the standing position, lift your hands up slowly to the top as you inhale so that the tips face the ceiling.
Step 3: With your hands up lower your torso slowly moving the head, hands and the torso as one unit. As you lower, keep the legs straight and the spine elongated and straight.
Step 4: Lower your body until your nose or chin touches the knees. Your hands should now be touching your toes.
Step 5: Lift your legs so that you put your hands underneath the arches of the feet. Hold yourself in that position for a set duration or a few breaths.
Step 6: To release from the pose, slide your hands back out from under the heels of the feet. Move your hands up to your waist and as you support the lower back inhale as you lift your torso upwards.
During the pose, straps can be used for those who cannot reach their knees with ease. As belly fat continues to burn ensure you carry out the pose without any props. Some people also bring their hands to the back of the shins. This allows you to pull yourself using your upper body strength to effectively do the pose.
Tadasana Namaskar, Tadasana urdhva hastasana, Uttanasana
Follow up poses
Ardha Uttanasana, uttanasana, Chaturanga Dandasana, urdhva mukha svanasana.
Stretches and strengthens hamstrings
Stretches and strengthens the thighs
Stretches the spine and back
Enhances upper body strength
Refreshes and rejuvenates the mind
Tones the thighs and abdomen
Padahastasana is considered a variation of Uttanasana, therefore, the converse is also true. In Uttanasana you are not concerned with touching the toes. Push your hands to the back of the legs and pull for a complete stretch. You can also perform the Padangusthasana or the big toe pose where you reach for the big toe when in forward bend position.
In Ashtanga Vinyasa tradition you reach from the front of the foot and from Bikram yoga tradition you reach from the back and grab the heels.
Padahastasana Bikram yoga tradition
Stretch pose, standing pose, forward bend
For beginners, it might be hard to go all the way down so that your nose touches the knees. It might also be hard to go all the way down to reach your toes. If that is the case you should start slowly until your body has attained the required level of flexibility.
A strap can be used when you are not able to reach the toes so that you can hold the desired position.