Hands To Feet Pose, Padahastasana, (PAHD-ah-hahs-TAHS-ah-nah)
pada (foot) + hasta (hand) + asana (pose)
Also Known as: Padahastasana
Feel a deep release in this spine with this Bikram forward fold.
Hands To Feet Pose Fundamentals
Hands To Feet Pose is a Bikram yoga pose that comes right after Half Moon Pose, and these two poses work together to stretch and open the spine in all directions.
This pose specifically is a forward bend, and targets the spine but also the hip flexors and the back of the legs. This makes it an effective stretch for decreasing lower back pain. It also releases the tension from the neck and shoulders, which calms the nervous system.
Symbolically, Hands To Feet Pose is believed to connect the higher and lower states of awareness, as the lower and upper body come together. This creates an energetic balance within the body, which makes us feel much more confident, energetic, and stable.
This asana is similar to Uttanasana or the Standing Forward Fold, but it is deeper and focuses on an active stretch, rather than allowing the upper body to hang. In this manner, it can help further develop your flexibility.As well as in Bikram yoga, you will also encounter this asana in the Ashtanga Yoga Primary series. However, you can include it in any of your yoga flows where you are focused on stretching and improving flexibility in the back body.
Hands To Feet Pose Benefits
- Stretches and lengthens the back, spine, hamstrings, glutes, pelvic muscles, and wrists.
- Releases tension from the neck and shoulders.
- Strengthens the ankles and muscles in the feet.
- The opening of the spine and the hamstring stretch helps relieve lower back pain.
- Relaxes the heart and opens the back side of the lungs.
- The improved mobility in the back body and the toning of the ab muscles may help you in building better posture.
- The contraction of the stomach may help boost metabolism and release gasses and toxins from the body.
- May be used as a supplemental therapy or prevention of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Activates the endocrine glands, helping with issues related to thyroid imbalance and digestive issues.
- Boosts blood flow to the brain, which helps improve its functioning and calm the mind.
- The increased blood flow to the face muscles boosts collagen production and gives the skin a healthy glow.
How To Do Hands To Feet Pose: Step-By-Step
How To Get There:
- Begin standing in Mountain Pose. With an exhalation, begin to fold forward, starting from the hips. Bend your knees as much as you need to bring your hands to the mat.
- Turn your palms toward the feet and face them up. Then slide them under your feet, so the toes sit on the wrist joint.
- You can shift your weight back and forth a couple of times to find a position that doesn’t put too much pressure on the wrists.
- You can open your elbows to the side and move them forward, away from your body. Keep your spine as long as you can.
- Hold the pose for 5 to 8 deep breaths, then slowly release. You can move back to Mountain Pose or continue with another pose depending on your flow.
Tips And Tricks:
- Don’t force yourself to enter the deepest version of the pose, especially if your back and hamstrings are tight and if you’re still not warmed up. Bend your knees as much as you need, and take your time.
- If it’s difficult to place your palms under the feet, you can grab opposite elbows behind the knees or take hold of your calves.
- Prioritize bringing the upper body closer to the thighs rather than keeping the legs straight.
- When it’s time to release the pose, do it consciously and slowly.
- When you achieved straightening your legs, move your face close towards your shins and move your hips forward, to increase the hamstring stretch.
Hands To Feet Pose Variation:
Hands To Feet Pose Variation: Standing Forward Bend
Hands To Feet Pose is a more intense and active variation of the Standing Forward Bend.
If it’s too difficult to push your upper body towards the legs and to place the hands under the feet while maintaining good alignment, perform the Standing Forward Bend instead.
You’ll still get a great stretch in the spine and the hamstrings, and the pose will prep you for Padahastasana.
Read more about Standing Forward Bend here.
Hands To Feet Pose Variation: Legs Bent
If your lower back is tight, don’t force extending the legs. Instead, keep your knees bent and focus on compressing your upper and lower body together.
With time, you’ll be able to straighten your legs, but always keep them slightly bent first, and focus on the alignment of the upper body to get the best stretch in the hamstrings.
Hands To Feet Pose Variation: With Strap
You can deepen your stretch in Hands To Feet Pose by using a strap.
You can place the strap under your feet and use the grip of your hands to move your upper body closer to the legs.
Precautions & Contraindications:
Rounding the back. In some forward bends you are instructed to round the back. But in Hands To Feet Pose you should strive to keep it as long as possible and to move the entire front torso towards the leg – ending with the head – rather than only moving the forehead to the knees.
Injuries and Conditions
Avoid the pose if you have injuries in the hands and wrists, and if your struggle with migraine, acute vertigo, high blood pressure and epilepsy. Also refrain from the pose if you have injuries or strains in the hamstrings, knees, pelvis, hips, shoulders, spine or neck.
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