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Padahastasana (The Feet and Hands Posture)

This can be styled as "Standing Paschimottanasana," as the technique is the same. The only difference is that you will have to do this while standing. Some people call this "Hastapadangasana."

TECHNIQUE

Stand erect. Let the hands hang down closely by the sides. Keep the heels close and toes apart. Raise the hands above the head. Slowly bend the body downwards. Keep the knees stiff and erect. Do not bend the legs at the knees. Slowly bring the hands down without bending at the elbows and catch hold of the toes with your thumb, index and middle fingers only. When you bend, slowly exhale and draw the belly backwards. Keep the forehead between the knees. The face is buried between the hollow of the knees or the head can be pushed further between the two thighs. There are varieties in this Asana by interchanging the feet and hands. There is no space here for a detailed description. Further, they are not of much use or advantage. Retain the pose from 2 to 10 seconds. Fatty people will find it difficult to practise this Asana in the beginning. With patience and perseverance they will be able to do it perfectly in a short time. When you draw the back, you will have to contract the abdominal muscles and rectum.
If you find it difficult to catch hold of the toes owing to the stiffness of the muscles of the hips and excess of fat in the abdomen, bend the knees slightly. After catching hold of the toes, straighten and stiffen the legs. That is Yukti or common-sense. You can drink a small quantity of water before you do this Asana.

BENEFITS

There are manifold benefits of this Asana. You will feel much invigorated after the exercise is over. The body is rendered light as much Tamas is dispelled. Adiposity disappears. Any shortening of the legs owing to fracture of the leg or thigh-bones is rectified. You will get slight lengthening of the leg by practice of this Asana for about three months and rubbing the thighs and legs with mustard oil to which a little salt is added. Salt increases penetration of the oil. This Asana helps free passage of Apana Vayu downwards. The Sushumna Nadi is purified and strengthened. The benefits of Paschimottanasana are derived from this Asana also.

VARIATIONS

I. Padahastasana (Second Variety):
Stand erect. Slowly raise your left leg and catch hold of the toe with your fingers. Keep the right on your hip. Do not bend the legs. Some people call this variety as Padahastasana.

II. Tadasana (Tree Pose):
This is a familiar exercise among the school-students in the drill-class. Now raise one hand above the head very quickly. Do not bend the head. Then bring it to former position. Again do the same with the other hand. Repeat like this as many times as you can. Instead of taking directly above the head at one stretch, you can stop for a while when the hand comes to your shoulder level, parallel to the ground. You can take the two hands together also. When this Asana is over, shampoo the muscles of the hands, shoulders, etc. This Asana is also called Vrikshasana. Sirshasana is also called Vrikshasana. Stand erect on one leg keeping the other leg at the root of the other thigh. This is also a variety of Vrikshasana.

III. Utthita Vivekasana:
This is very useful for doing Pranayama and Japa in standing position. Stand erect. You can keep the hands in a folded way near your chest.

IV. Purna Padasana:
If you keep your hands at sides and stand erect, it is called Purna Padasana.


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