Hatha Yoga: Sun Salutation Series

In continuation to our blog series on the Sun Salutation series, let us know more about the third asana in the Surya Namaskara series – Padahastasana.

PADAHASTASANA

‘Padahastasana’ is the 3rd and the 10th pose in the ‘Sun Salutation’ series. ‘Padha’ refers t0 ‘feet’ and ‘Hasta’ refers to ‘hand’. On conjoining the two together, this refers to the pose that involves hands and feet. This pose is commonly referred to as the ‘hand under foot’ pose in English. This is one of the ideal yoga poses to achieve maximum flexibility and stretch in the body. It is also a vital pose as a part of weight loss programs.

Instructions on how to perform this pose for maximum benefit:  

Step 1: Stand in ‘Tadasana’ pose. Stand straight. Keep your legs slightly apart from each other up to 6 inches while your hands can hang alongside your body. Keep your thigh muscles firm and your knee caps lifted up. Keep your lower belly soft yet firm.

Step 2: While keeping the body firm, raise your hand above your head. Inhale slowly.

Step 3: Ensure your biceps touch your ears. Keep your arms firm.

Step 4: Now slowly bend forward at the hips as you exhale. Bend till your chest touches your knee. Make sure the knee does not fold. Concentrate on ‘genital’ chakra. For further benefit, if you have the required flexibility then you can try to brace your chin with the knee while bending forward.

Step 5: To turn back into Tadasana from Padahastasana, slide your fingers out from under your toes and, then slowly straighten out your torso until you are upright once again.

When you move from Padahastasana to any of the other poses, make sure that your movements are calculated, slow and smooth. Instead of leaping from one stagnant pose directly to the next one, include 12 seconds of focused breathing in between the poses. This will help you concentrate and be aware of your movements.

Modifications

For more enlightening experience, you can chant mantra while practicing this pose.

Mantra during the 2nd pose: OM SURYAYA NAMAH!

Mantra during the 11th pose: OM HARIOM!

If you are flexible then try to hold your feet with your palm placed beneath your feet for ultimate stretch.

If you are a yoga newbie and find it difficult to touch the floor then you can seek support of a brick or yoga block.

Benefits:

  • Removes excess abdominal fat by working up the core muscles. Increases metabolic rate of a person’s body. Its post-workout effect lasts for to up to 5 hours which is highly beneficial for fat loss.
  • Stretches and tones thighs, hamstrings and back muscles. It is an ultimate power packed posture for working up all the major muscles in the body.
  • Regular practice of this yoga pose has been known to increase height in kids and teenagers.
  • Highly increases the flexibility of spine and provides ultimate stretch to it.
  • Eliminates constipation and promotes healthy digestion.
  • Improves balance and posture of the body.
  • Improves blood flow to the central nervous system which is highly beneficial for improving concentration.

What not to do?

Padahastasana must be performed at least 4-6 hours after a meal. In fact, it is recommended that you perform this yoga posture when on an empty stomach. A full stomach can lead the food to back up and lead you to experience nausea.

Do not close your eyes while doing this pose as it might cause you to lose balance. This pose requires immense focus and concentration. Closing your eyes may lead you to visually disconnect from the environment and deter you from keeping your balance into the ground.

If you suffer from a back injury, then you can try to bend your knees a little to facilitate this pose without causing any damage.

Avoid the pose with you have knee surgery, back surgery, or hamstrings surgery. This yoga posture completely stretches your knee, back muscles and your hamstrings muscles. Hence, practice of Padahastasana may tear up the wound or sutures and cause major obstruction in its healing process.

Do not practice this pose if you have stomach ulcers, or if you suffer from hypertension. When you practice this yoga asana the entire blood flow of the body is circulated to the head. If you are a hypertension patient, this may restrict blood flow and cause you to faint or experience critical dizzy spells.

If you are a beginner level yogi then this pose is not strictly advisable during your pregnancy. However, if you have a yoga equipped body and have been a regular yogi then you may try this pose against the support of a wall. Be careful not to bend beyond completely.

If you face breathing problem and are unable to inhale or exhale then stop the exercise immediately.

Always start slow. Gradually increase the degree of movement and the total time spent on this pose.

Shruti Singh

Shruti Singh is a creative writer, a blogger and a yoga enthusiast. She has been practicing yoga since a few years now. She has been a student of Rishikul Yogshala where she attended their yoga teaching training program. And she has not looked back ever since. She claims that yoga has spiritually inspired her. And, she wishes to inspire others by sharing her thoughts and insights on it.

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