Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Focus Pose(s) - Padangusthasana and Padahastasana

Oh my goodness! I have been quite remiss about getting back and breaking down the Primary sequence! So many interesting things to talk about. I do really enjoying working my way through the Primary Series pose by pose. It's a great way for me to really review the asana and break it down to its essence. I am always amazed by something new I learn.

I was still hoping I could pin down the Husband and have him take a few pictures of me in the poses this month, but no luck so far. Our schedules have been crazy busy and he's been swamped with homework. Barely anytime to do garden and yard stuff much less fart around taking pictures.

So far in our review of the Primary Series**, we've discussed Suyra Namaskar A and B, Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, Adho Mukha Svanasana and plank, and now were moving into the Standing Sequence with Padangusthasana:

Pada = Foot
Angustha = Big Toe

and Padahastasana:
Pada = Food
Hasta = Hand


After completing Surya Namaskar B and coming back to Tadasana at the front of our mats for Padangusthasana :

Inhale: step or jump the feet 8-12" apart.

Exhale: hands to waist.

Inhale: lift the sternum and look up (a small backbend only if it's comfortable for you.

Exhale: forward fold to grasp the big toes with two fingers.
MODIFICATIONS - Level 1, grasp behind knees; Level 2, grasp behind ankles. Both level 1, 2 can keep a slight bend in the knees. OR if you know you hyper-extend your knees, keep a slight bend in your knees.

Inhale: look up toward the horizon, and,

Exhale: lengthen the crown of the head toward the floor as the elbows move toward the ceiling.



Hold for 5 breaths. DRISTI - Nose

We move right into Padahastasana:



Inhale: lift the sternum and look up.

Exhale: slide the hands under the feet, palms touching soles, toes touching the wrists.

MODIFICATIONS - Level 1, grasp behind knees; Level 2, grasp behind ankles or stay in Padangusthasana. Both level 1, 2 can keep a slight bend in the knees. OR if you know you hyper-extend your knees, keep a slight bend in your knees.

Inhale: look up toward the horizon, and,

Exhale: lengthen the crown of the head toward the floor as the elbows move toward the ceiling.

Hold for 5 breaths, DRISHTI is Nose.

Inhale: look up toward the horizon.

Exhale: hands to the waist (keep the spine lengthening) and,

Inhale: come all the way up, adding the slight backbend if it's comfortable for you.

Exhale: step or jump back to Tadasana (samasthti)


Some important considerations - keep the back lengthening by keeping the shoulders moving away from the ears. We have a tendency to "hunch" or "round the back" in both of these poses.

For some, focusing on the nose makes them dizzy (if you wear glasses for example). Then pick a focal point at the back of the room or slightly behind you on the floor. The important thing is to pick a drishti and keep your gaze there.

You can deepen the stretch gradually (and keep your attention in the pose) by exploring the area around you on the inhales, and exhaling, move into that new space.


It is also important to keep uddiyana bandha engaged here to protect the lower back - plus, by keeping the abdominals engaged, you give yourself room to fold.

Keep your weight over the balls of your feet. We have a tendency to lean back in this pose. As an experiment, try doing the pose against a wall to see where eventually we want to be.


Benefits of this pose:
Tones the abdominal organs
Increases digestive activity
Helps relieve gastric troubles
Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and anxiety
Stretches hamstrings and calves
Can help relieve headaches and insomnia


**I practice and teach what I call Contemporary Ashtanga rather than the Traditional Mysore Ashtanga. It's the same sequence, but without the chanting, Sanskrit counting and a few minor differences in poses.

(All photos from YogaJournal.com - pose finder.)

1 comment:

Studio of Yoga said...

If done properly this padangusthasana would benefit not only body but would teach you be calm and patient. It has to be done slowly and not in a haste, if you want to receive its full benefits. The tiring muscles would be elevated and rejuvenated by this pose.

Nayeema
Anamaya Resort