Padangusthasana

Padangusthasana

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Begin by standing with feet 3-4 feet apart with your feet parallel to each other and your knees unbent, with your hands resting on your hips. Exhale, and then lean your torso forward from the hips.

2. Reach out with your fingers, and curl the index and middle finger of each hand under and around your big toes, with your thumb on the other side. Secure your fingers by pressing down with your toes. (If you are unable to reach your toes start step 1 with a strap underneath the ball of each foot and hold onto the straps).

3. Inhale and lift your torso, as if you were going to stand up, straightening your elbows and hollowing your back. Contract your thighs and relax your hamstrings on each of several exhalations.

4. Exhale, bend your elbows out to the sides, pull on your toes and lengthen your torso again, bringing yourself gently back into a full front-bend. If you are flexible enough, bring your forehead towards your shins, but be careful not to hunch your back or over-extend your hamstrings.

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5. Remain in this position for at least 30 seconds, increasing the duration as your ability increases. To come out of this pose release your toes, bring your hands to your hips, and raise your torso upright on an inhalation.

BENEFITS:

This pose stretches the hamstrings and calves whilst strengthening the thighs. Mastery of this pose improves posture and balance and stimulates the organs of the abdomen, such as the liver and kidneys, while improving digestion and helping to relieve stress and fatigue. This pose can also help to relieve the symptoms of the menopause, and relieve headache and insomnia.

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