From the Sanskrit word, “Pada” meaning foot, “Angustha” meaning big toe and “Asana” meaning pose, is the Padangusthasana. As one of the standings forward folds yoga poses, the Padangusthasana (Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose) is easy to perform helping the practitioners reap the stretching, stimulating, and relaxing benefits of the hand to big toe pose.
When practicing with great attention to the alignment, the pose lengthens the spine, stretches the muscles of the body, increases muscle density, and burns fat in them. This pose is the storehouse of physical and spiritual benefits that practitioner of any level can reap with utter dedication.
Practice the pose by following the given instructions:
● Stand on a yoga mat in an upright stance with inner feet parallel to the floor and about 2-3 inches apart
● Keep the legs fully straight. Exhale, bend forward moving your body as one whole unit
● As you fold forward, bring your hands down. Slide the index and middle finger around the toe and adjacent finger of the feet, wrapping the thumb of the hand around the other two fingers to tighten the wrap
● Press the toes down against your fingers
● Relax your forehead.
● With an inhalation lift your torso and upon exhalation fold forward.
● Stay in the final position for 30-60 seconds.
Variations of the Padangusthasana
1. Supta Padangusthasana (Reclining Hand to Big Toe Pose): The pose provides a good stretch to the lower body, stimulates the prostate gland, and make knees stronger.
● Lie on your back with straight legs and feet flexed
● Breathe out, draw your right knee towards your chest and loop a yoga strap around the feet.
● Stretch the right leg up towards the ceiling in a manner that the shoulders are pressed to the floor and arms are extended.
● Firmly hold the strap in your hand throughout the performance of the pose.
2. Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana (Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose): The pose stretches and strengthens the ankles and legs along with improving the sense of balance.
● Stand in Mountain yoga pose.
● Draw the left knee towards the chest.
● Extend the left arm out inside the thigh, cross it over the ankle, and grab the toe of the feet
● Inhale, stretch the left leg straight forward as far as possible.
Health Benefits of the Padangusthasana:
1. Strengthens Digestive Fire: As you fold forward in the pose, resting your stomach over the thighs, the belly gets a good massage that helps in improving digestion. Also, forward folds enhance blood circulation that nourishes the gut and strengthens the digestive fire. When the Agni is strong, the stomach is able to perform its functions with potency.
2. Minimizes Risk Of Osteoporosis: Owing to the stretching, the pose helps in building muscle density and burns accumulated fat in them. With greater muscle density, the risk of developing the disease of osteoporosis reduces as well as you gain a more sculpted look. It is one of the few yoga poses to practice for muscle density health benefits of Padangusthasana.
3. Stretches Hamstrings: Lower back pain, limited range of motion of hips, neck pain, muscle cramps, and weak knees, all can stem from tight hamstrings. In the Padangusthasana, the legs are strong and long that gives a good stretch to the hamstrings assisting in the release of tightness. Healthy hamstrings make your legs feel much better and movable.
4. Brain Calmer: As you hang your head down while breathing, your brain receives freshly oxygenated blood that triggers the parasympathetic nervous system. With the rest-to digest response activated, the body conserves energy that relaxes the body, slows heart rate, and increase organ functions. Within a healthy body resides a healthy mind.
5. Massages Liver and Spleen: The benefits of Hand to Big Toe Pose extend to the organs of liver and spleen. The forward fold position massages the liver and spleen thus enhancing their working and wellness. The liver is responsible for purification and absorption. The spleen helps your bloodstream get rid of old red blood cells; the health of these two organs is paramount for the overall well-being.
6. Cures Headache and Insomnia: By effectively calming the mind, the Padangusthasana cures headaches and insomnia. When the body-mind is relaxed, you can fall asleep faster and better. Also, a calm mind is less prone to a headache and migraine attacks. Practice it before bedtime for restful nights.
7. Magnifies Flexibility: Padangusthasana effectively stretches all the muscles of the body. As the muscles are stretched, the tensions in them are released building greater flexibility in the muscles of the hands and legs.
Fold forward in Padangusthasana and lift yourself up as a healthy and refreshed individual.
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