How to perform Padahastasana and other basic yoga forward bends

Padahastasana is a stretching pose in yoga which utilises the strength of the body in order to stretch. The yoga practitioner makes use of his or her upper body strength in order to pull the body and then put it in a stretch. The term ‘Padahastasana’ is derived from the Sanskrit names pada – which means foot, ‘hasta’ which means hand and ‘asana’ meaning pose. Therefore, ‘Padahastasana’ translates into hand to feet pose in English.

What are the effects of Padahastasana?

The following are the effects of this pose:

  • Strengthens the thighs
  • Abdominal organs are toned and digestion improves
  • Liver and spleen are activated

This asana helps with bloatedness, menopause, headaches and insomnia. In addition, it calms the brain and helps to relieve stress as well as anxiety.

To find out how to do Padahastasana, follow this link.

One-Legged Downward Facing Dog

One of the most vital alignment cues for standing yoga poses is if the hips are closed (squared) or, alternatively, open. For example, they will be squared in Warrior I, however, open in Warrior II. Beginners often have a challenging time knowing what this means as well as feeling it in their bodies. One-legged downward-facing dog illustrates it very nicely. This asana also provides you with a full-body stretch and can be a transitional pose in a Vinyasa yoga practice.

How to do One-Legged Downward Facing Dog

Start by kneeling on all fours and have your hands slightly forward of your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Spread your finger out with your middle finger facing forward—Tuck your toes under themselves.

Exhale and raise your knees away from the mat. At first, keep the knees bent slightly and the heels lifted a distance from the floor. Lengthen your tailbone a distance from the back of your pelvis and press it lightly toward the pubis. Counter to this resistance, lift the sitting bones toward the ceiling.

Exhale and push your top thighs back. Stretch your heels onto, or toward, the floor. Straighten your knees but don’t block them. Firm the outer thigs and roll the upper thigs inward slightly. Draw your chest towards your thighs.

Firm your other arms and press the bases of your index fingers actively into the floor. From these two points, lift along your inner arms from the wrists to the tops of the shoulders. Your inner elbows should face each other.

Firm your shoulder blades against your back and then widen them and draw them toward your tailbone. Keep the head between the upper arms. Hold for between half a minute to one minute.

Inhale and raise your right leg parallel to the line of your torso and hold for about 30 seconds. Maintain your hips at a level position and press through the heel. Exhale, release and repeat on the left side. To come out, bend your knees to the floor with an exhalation and rest in Child’s Pose.

If you’re new to yoga, and you have difficulty release and opening your shoulders in this pose. Raise your hands off the floor on a pair of blocks or the seat of a metal folding chair.

What to be careful of in One-Legged Downward Facing Dog

If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, be cautious with this position. Avoid it entirely if you’re suffering from diarrhoea or are in the late stages of pregnancy.

If you are suffering from elevated blood pressure, or headaches, support your head on a block with your ears level between your arms.

Preparatory poses are either plank pose or Uttanasana. Follow-up poses to One-Legged Downward Facing Dog can be any one of the standing poses or, again, Uttanasana. The counter pose is Child’s Pose.

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