Monday, November 23, 2009

Yoga Posture: The Standing Forward Bend (Padahastasana)

Padahastasana - Pada means the foot.  Hasta means the hand.  This posture is done by bending forward and standing on one's hands.

Padangusthasana - Pada means the foot.  Angustha is the big toe.  This posture is done by standing and catching the big toes.

Once you have gained sufficient flexibility in the back of the legs, and are able to hold the Standing Forward Bend comfortably for several minutes, you may wish to try different hand position variations.  They stretch the muscles in different ways.

This is the first of the standing poses.  In effect it is similar to Paschimothanasana, the sitting Forward Bend.  If it is remembered that "you are as young as your spine", Padahastasana will be seen as a veritable elixir of youth.  Its practice promotes a continued youthful vigour throughout life.

The Standing Forward Bend gives a complete stretch to the entire posterior of the body, from the back of the scalp to the back of the heels.  The position enables the body to take advantage of the force of gravity.  If the head and neck are kept relaxed, their weight will aid the body in stretching a bit further, provided that the knees are not allowed to bend.  Keep the body weight centred; do not allow the hips to drop backwards.

The abdominal organs are toned and digestive juices increase, while the liver and spleen are activated.  Persons suffering from a bloating sensation in the abdomen or from gastric troubles will benefit by practising this asana.

Slipped spinal discs can only be adjusted in the concave back position.  Do not bring the head in between the knees if you have a displaced disc. 

Physical Benefits

  • Lengthens the spine, making it supple and elastic.  Can even give a little extra "growth".

  • Mobilizes the joints.

  • Invigorates the entire nervous system.

  • Stretches the hamstrings and muscles of the back of the legs and the lower body.

  • Stretches all the muscles on the posterior side of the body.

  • Rectifies shortening of the legs resulting from fractures, and can correct inequalities in the length of the legs.

  • Increases the blood supply to the brain.
Mental Benefits

  • Greatly enhances concentration.
  • Expels Tamas (inertia or laziness), stimulating intellectual capacities.

Pranic Benefits
  • Renders the body light by expelling Tamas.
  • Purifies and strengthens the Sushumna nadi (the central astral nerve tube that induces meditation).
  • Invigorates the Apana Vayu (downward-moving, or efferent, prana).

Common Faults

  • Weight of the body is on the heels.

  • Back is rounded.

  • Weight is unevenly placed, causing the body to tilt to one side.

  • Feet are apart and/or turned out.

  • Knees are bent.

  • Hips are dropping back.

  • Head is forced towards the knees.
Note: Please perform the yoga posture under the guide of a certified yoga teacher especially for beginner. You are at your own risk and responsible if you perform on your own. Whatever provided here is just act as an information.

                   Light on Yoga - B.K.S. Iyengar