Padahastasana: Hand Under Foot Pose

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Padahastasana (PAHD-ah-hahs-TAHS-ah-nah) stretches the hamstrings and spine while compressing the hands and wrists. As a forward fold, padahastasana also relaxes the neck and shoulders to calm the mind and nervous system.

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.

ADJUSTMENTS/MODIFICATIONS:

  • Bend your knees in order to place your hands under your feet, then straighten your legs.
  • If legs are straight, avoid locking the knees.

STEP-BY-STEP:

  1. Begin standing at the top of your mat. Exhale to fold forward from the hips. Keeping length in the front of your torso, bring your hands to the floor. Bend your knees as much as needed.
  2. Turn your hands palm face up and slide them under the soles of your 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.
  3. Once you have secured your hands with your feet, option to draw your elbows out to the sides and forward. Keep the back of your neck long.
  4. Stay for up to eight breaths before releasing your hands from beneath your feet and slowly return to standing.

PREPARATORY POSES:

SEQUENTIAL POSES:

COUNTER POSES:

  • Chair pose | Utkatasana
  • Cow pose |Bitilasana
  • Mountain pose | Tadasana

SANSKRIT:

  • Pada = Foot
  • Hasta = Hand
  • Asana = Pose

PHYSICAL BENEFITS:

  • Stretches hamstrings, back body, and wrists.
  • Encourages relaxation of the neck and shoulders.

ENERGETIC BENEFITS:

  • Thought to balance tamasic energy.
  • Thought to balance vata dosha.


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Ananda Balasana: Happy Baby Pose

Ananda balasana (ah-NAHN-duh bah-LAHS-ah-nah) stretches the inner groin, hamstrings, and lower back. Invite the attitude of a joyful baby with this pose!

Philosophy and Origin:

Dasharatha, the King of Ayodhya, was a famous warrior and a protector of dharma (life purpose). He had three wives and no children. He longed for an heir, and Mother Earth was seeking a protector to save her bounty from unscrupulous and devious desires. Tradition teaches that as the wick of dharma burns low, Vishnu the preserver uses birth to set things right again. Mother Earth’s call meant that Vishnu would return.

After performing a sacrifice that yielded a golden milk pudding, the king was instructed to share this bounty with his wives with the promise of fertility and children. Each of his wives became pregnant and would give birth to all of his children. It is often thought that the divine is born into each person on a regular basis and unexpectedly, and we can understand this story as an allegory of how we treat our minds and bodies: avatars and other deities represent potentials waiting to be realized.

Sanskrit:

  • Ananda: blissful, pure bliss
  • Bala: baby
  • Asana: pose

Physical Benefits:

  • Opens and stretches the hips.
  • Stretches the inner groins and hamstrings.
  • Lengthens the spine.

Preparatory Poses:

Sequential Poses:

  • Cow face pose | Gomukhasana
  • Reclined twist

Counter Poses:

Adjustments/Modifications:

  • Hold your ankles or shins.
  • Place a blanket under your neck.
  • Hold each foot with a yoga strap looped around the middle arch of each foot.

Step-By-Step:

  1. Start on your back with your knees drawn in toward your chest.
  2. Grab hold of the pinky toe sides of your feet, with your elbows on the inside of your knees.
  3. Draw your shoulders toward the ground, tone your arms, and flex your feet as you pull down on your feet.
  4. Draw your knees wide and toward your armpits and try to stack ankles above knees.
  5. Lengthen your lower back down to the ground.
  6. Stay here for up to one minute, and then release and draw your knees into your chest.

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