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.


Bhujangasana: Cobra Pose

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ADJUSTMENTS    |     BENEFITS    |     SEQUENCING    |     SANSKRIT    |     STEPS

Bhujangasana (boo-jang-GAHS-anna) is a great way to strengthen the upper back and is often practiced as part of a transition back to downward-facing dog in vinyasa yoga. Practicing cobra pose regularly can improve your lung capacity, reduce stress, and stimulate many of the internal organs in your body.

Philosophy + Origin

Although often perceived as evil or dangerous, snakes also have a rich history of power and worship. In some yoga traditions, the energy of kundalini is represented by a serpent resting coiled at the base of the spine. By awakening this snake, we enliven our body’s energy and create a pathway towards enlightenment. This connection with enlightenment is also seen in many portrayals of the Buddha where he is shown with a cobra over his head.

ADJUSTMENTS/MODIFICATIONS:

  • Option to swap cobra pose for sphinx pose by placing your forearms on the floor.
  • Lengthen the back of the neck to avoid straining the neck and upper back.
  • If you experience discomfort in the lower back, bend the elbows more.
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