Padahastasana or the Hand Under Foot pose is a ‘forward bend asana’. This pose requires a considerable amount of flexibility in the back, abdomen, and legs which is why it is not considered to be one of the best yoga poses for beginners. However, this does not mean that yoga beginners cannot do this pose, it simply means that you need to have some level of physical fitness before you attempt this asana.
The term Padahastasana is a combination of the words pada (the Sanskrit word for ‘foot’), hasta (which means ‘hand’), and asana (meaning posture). Padahastasana strengthens the muscles of the limbs as well as the core and promotes good form which is why it is one of the most commonly recommended yoga postures for people who are interested in overall fitness and muscle flexibility. Once you are proficient in basic yoga poses and yoga exercises for beginners, you can try more challenging asanas such as Padahastasana.
How To Perform Padahastasana (Hand Under Foot Pose)
Padahastasana must be performed at least 4-6 hours after a meal and it is preferable that your stomach (and bowels) are empty at this time. You should perform a few preparatory asanas as this will prepare you both physically and mentally to perform Padahastasana. You can learn a few Padahastasana prep poses such as Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog pose), Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend), Janusirsasana (Head-to-Knee pose), and Supta Padangusthasana (Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe pose) before you learn how to do Hand Under Foot pose. These prep poses for Padahastasana are basic yoga poses that will gently stretch and strengthen the muscles of your calves and thighs as well as stretch and strengthen your back and abdominal muscles. These are the 7 Hand Under Foot pose steps:
1. Stand on the floor in an upright position with your hands held loosely at your sides.
2. Lift your hands straight up and allow your palms to lightly touch each other.
3. Exhale and stretch your arms out while slowly bending at your waist.
4. Keep bending until your hands reach your toes. Your chin should come in contact with your knees.
5. Slide your fingers under your toes and hold this position for 5-15 seconds.
6. Exhale and bend downwards from your hips until your hands reach your toes.
7. Hold the toes with your hands and remain steady. Relax.
Follow these Padahastasana steps carefully and do not make any changes to them. It is important to follow the Padahastasana sequence of steps to maximise the effects of this asana and to ensure that you do not place any unnecessary strain on your thighs and lower back.
How To Release From Padahastasana (Hand Under Foot Pose)
To release from Padahastasana, slide your fingers out from under your toes, and then straighten out your torso until you are upright once again. When moving from Padahastasana to any of the other poses, make sure that your movements are slow and smooth. Instead of transitioning from one static pose directly to the next, you can include 10 seconds of mindful breathing in between the poses. This will help you focus and be mindful of your movements.
Similar Poses To Padahastasana (Hand Under Foot Pose)
There are a few other poses that are similar to Padahastasana and you can include them in your yoga routine to relieve any tension in your hips, thighs, or calves.
Uttanasana – Intense Forward-Bending pose
Paschimottanasana – Seated Forward Bend
Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward Facing Dog pose
Bhujangasana – Cobra pose
These poses will enhance the benefits of Padahastasana and will help to quiet your mind and relax your muscles.
Benefits Of Padahastasana (Hand Under Foot Pose)
Strengthens the thighs and calves as well as the lower back.
Firms the buttocks and abdomen by working on your core stomach muscles.
Improves posture and balance.
Improves the ability to sustain forward bending poses for a longer period of time.
It helps to control digestive problems.
Yoga brings together physical and mental disciplines to increase muscle flexibility and body tone while also eliminating stress and anxiety. Yoga for strengthening thigh and calf muscles will also help to increase stamina and will enhance your overall fitness levels. While there are many benefits of Padahastasana and it is undoubtedly one of the best thigh strengthening yoga asanas, you should ensure that you are doing it correctly as doing it incorrectly can put a great deal of stress on your thigh and calf muscles as well as your ankles.
There are several Padahastasana variations depending on whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or advanced practitioner. This pose can also be done where you touch the tips of your fingers to your big toes – this is one of the best modifications of Chaturanga Dandasana for beginners and people who are not as flexible. While there are several yoga poses that work wonders for pregnant women, it is advisable to avoid this pose when you are pregnant. Padahastasana is physically challenging as well as mentally taxing as it requires immense focus and determination. Most yoga beginners lose their focus within a few minutes as their minds start to wander and this is one of the most common mistakes made by yoga beginners. However, with regular yoga practice you will be able to overcome this problem.
Contraindications Of Padahastasana (The Hand Under Foot Pose)
While the benefits and importance of Padahastasana are immense, there are certain circumstances when you should avoid this pose. Avoid practicing this asana if you have hypertension or any kind of heart problem. Padahastasana is also not recommend for people with lower back pain or any sort of spinal problem. The Hand Under Foot pose for beginners generally consists of the same steps but the amount of time spent in this position is much shorter.
Tips For Padahastasana (Hand Under Foot Pose)
Do not try to put too much effort into the pose but instead work within your level of flexibility.