Padahastasana | Foot to Hand Forward Bend
The Padahastasana pose is a variation of the Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend).
Padahastasana Step by Step
• Stand in Tadasana, hands on hips (feet together or hip-width distance apart). Exhale and bend forward from the hip joints, not from the waist. As you descend draw the front torso out of the groins and open the space between the pubis and top sternum. As in all the forward bends, the emphasis is on lengthening the front torso as you move more fully into the position.
• If possible, with your knees straight, bend forward, place the hands under the feet (palms facing up), bringing the toes to meet the wrist.
• With an inhalation straighten your arms and lift your front torso away from your thighs, making your back as concave as possible. Hold for a few breaths, then exhale and lengthen down and forward, bending your elbows out to the sides, framing the head. Keeping space between the shoulders and the ears, draw the shoulder blades down the back. Keep the weight evenly distributed through the feet and lift the sitting bones toward the ceiling. Turn the top thighs slightly inward.
• With each inhalation in the pose, lift and lengthen the front torso just slightly; with each exhalation release a little more fully into the forward bend. In this way the torso oscillates almost imperceptibly with the breath. Let your head hang from the root of the neck, which is deep in the upper back, between the shoulder blades. Stay in the position for 20 seconds.
• To come out of the pose, release the hands. Bring the hands to the hips and inhale, come up with a flat back.
Beginner’s Tip: Starting with bent knees, position hands with palms facing up under the feet, toes touching the wrist. Straighten the legs as much as possible, lifting from the buttocks and hamstrings.
Misalignments: Legs should be perpendicular (90 °) to the floor. Watch for students leaning back into the hamstrings.