Padahastasana: Hand Under Foot Pose
An incredible release for the back body, Padahastasana (pod-A-hahs-TAHS-anna), or Hand Under Foot pose, lengthens and stretches the hamstrings and spine. As a forward fold, Padahastasana also relaxes the neck and shoulders to calm the mind and nervous system. The position of the hands under the feet is therapeutic for the wrists, making it a great pose for anyone with carpal tunnel syndrome or hand and wrist discomfort associated with repetitive motion.
Philosophy + Origin
By bringing opposites together — upper and lower body, hands and feet, Padahastasana is said to unite higher states of awareness and lower states of consciousness, bringing balance to body and mind. Likewise, practicing Padahastasana unites the external nature and internal spirit, bringing calmness and well-being needed to live in complete harmony and health. In today’s modern world, finding balance both mentally and physically can be difficult, which is why regular practice of this posture is so beneficial.
- Bend the knees in order to place the hands under the feet.
- If legs are straight, do not lock the knees.
CONTRAINDICATIONS AND CAUTIONS:
- Back injuries or lower back pain
- Hamstring injury
- Heart problems and conditions
Placing the hands under the feet is more important than practicing the posture with straight legs. Even with bent knees, Padahastasana is incredibly therapeutic for the wrists and will relieve tension from the back, neck and shoulders. To increase the benefits for the hands and wrists, try moving your feet and toes to massage the muscles and joints. Practiced regularly, this posture can counteract the negative effects of technology use in day-to-day life. Try incorporating it into your daily rounds of Surya Namaskar as a replacement or alternative to Uttanasana.
- Begin in Tadasana, Mountain pose, at the top of your mat. Finding length in the spine and openness in the chest, use an exhalation to begin to fold forward from the hips. Keeping length in the front of your torso, bring your hands to the floor. If this is not possible, bend the knees.
- Turn your hands palm face up and slide them under the soles of the feet so that the toes are at the wrist joint. Shift the weight of your feet front and back so that you find the appropriate amount for your hands and wrists. Once you have secured your hands with your feet, begin to draw your elbows out to the sides and up. As you do, keep the back of the neck long.
- Engage your upper thighs and internally rotate them to help release the lower back. Use the breath to deepen the pose by inhaling as you lift and lengthen the front of the torso and exhaling as you release the back body and bring the belly, chest, and forehead towards the legs.
- Hold the pose for 30 to 60 seconds before releasing the hands from beneath the feet and returning to Mountain pose.
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- Adho Mukha Svanasana
- Supta Padangusthasana
- Janu Sirsasana
- Utthita Trikonasana
- Virabhadrasana I and II
- Pada = Foot
- Hasta = Hand
- Asana = Pose
- Lengthens hamstrings, back body and wrists
- Relaxes neck and shoulders by relieving tension
- Therapeutic for carpal tunnel syndrome
- Stimulates glands in the body, including the pineal and adrenal glands
- Improves digestion
- Calms the mind and soothes central nervous system
- Stimulates chakras along the spine, specifically the sacral chakra
- Boosts creativity, intimacy, motivation and relationships
- Balances opposites in the body to promote overall well-being
- Reduces tamas and removes laziness, dullness and depression
- Balances vata dosha
“Sacral Bija Mantra”
To help unlock the creative powers of the sacral chakra, recite or chant the bija mantra VAM (rhymes with thumb).
MUDRA: Sakthi Mudra
Sakthi mudra helps open and balance the sacral chakra, Svadhisthana. To practice the mudra, bring your hands together at your chest, palms touching. Keep pressing your pinky and ring fingers together as you use your index and middle fingers to grasp your thumbs. Join the knuckles of the index and middle fingers together as you continue to extend your ring and pinky fingers.
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