11. पादहस्तासन - Pādahastāsana - Standing Forward Bend

Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres & Ashrams

Group Asana - Standing forward bend, From the collection of: Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres & Ashrams
Pādahastāsana/ Standing Forward Bend (foot-hand posture) comes from the Sanskrit pāda meaning foot, hasta meaning hand and āsana meaning posture.
Considered to be a semi-inverted pose as well as a balancing one, the Standing Forward Bend increases blood supply to the brain, stimulating the senses and memory. It reduces stomach fat and stretches all muscles of the back of body. Legs are strengthened and a gentle massage is given to the internal organs. 

Stand erect with the feet together. Inhale and raise the arms up over the head, keeping the arms straight and next to the ears.

Exhale slowly stretching the body forwards and downwards, bending from hips and keeping knees straight.

Catch hold of the back of legs and bring the forehead in as close to the knees as possible. Make sure the weight is centred on the balls of the feet, with the hips stretching upwards. Keep the knees straight. Hold for 5 seconds increasing to 1 minute.

To come out of the position, inhale, stretch forwards and up.

Return to the original standing position with the arms stretched up over the head and then relax the arms.

Standing forward bend - wrong method, From the collection of: Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres & Ashrams
Standing Forward Bend common mistakes
The knees should not bend. The weight should not go back onto the heels. The buttocks should not push backwards. The head should not be lifted. The back should not be rounded.

PHYSICAL BENEFITS

• Restores flexibility to the back of the body, alleviating muscular tension in the back.
• Corrects exaggerated lower back curve.
• Massages all abdominal organs, especially the liver and spleen. Improves digestion. Intestines are regulated, peristalsis increased and constipation combated.
• It helps to regulate pancreatic functions, which control carbohydrate metabolism and blood sugar levels, making it valuable for diabetes patients and people with hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar).
• The entire nervous system is invigorated.
• The mobility of the joints is enhanced, the spine becomes elastic and a youthful body is maintained.
• Regular practice helps to prevent compression of the spine and sciatica (pain along course of sciatic nerve, esp. in leg).
• It stretches the hamstrings (the muscles on the back of your upper legs), lumbar and sacral regions, improves postural alignment and reduces nervous tension in the body.

MENTAL BENEFITS

• The mind is calmed.
• This pose requires conscious control to align toes, knees, and neck correctly, and conscious letting go, by allowing gravity to pull the spine into the pose. Achieving control with detachment is a benefit that can be applied to daily life, as well as in the practice of meditation.

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Anyone learning these postures should only do so under the supervision of a competent teacher. The instructions shared as part of this exhibit are for reference and knowledge only. Anyone following these on their own, they do so at their own risk. Persons with health issues and or during pregnancy are advised to consult a medical expert before attempting any of the postures.

Demonstrators in the photographs: Kannan, Padmavati, Ananda, Eri, Asha, Shreyas, Rohit  

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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