What is Padangusthasana?
One of the standing asanas of Ashtanga yoga, Padangusthasana is an excellent asana to make your body flexible, stronger, and improve its balance. The asana gets its meaning from Sanskrit terms ‘pada’ meaning foot, ‘angustha’ meaning big toe, and ‘asana’ meaning pose.
Also known as the Big Toe Pose yoga, it works on your legs, ankles, and hamstrings while activating your hips, arms, and shoulders.
Padangusthasana is a part of Bikram Yoga and is the number 12 asana in the sequence of asanas.
Who should do Padangusthasana?
Padangusthasana can be easily modified to suit different fitness objectives, ages, and health statuses. This asana can be done by:
- People who want to reduce stress and anxiety.
- Those who are suffering from liver and kidney problems.
- People who suffer from lower back pain.
- Those who experience frequent digestive problems.
- People who have constant mild headaches.
Who should avoid Padangusthasana?
In case you suffer from any of these health conditions, you should never practise Padangusthasana without consulting your doctor:
- Pregnant women.
- Injury in the quadriceps, back, or hamstrings.
- Recent surgery in the neck, abdomen, or knees.
- Chronic diarrhea
- Chronic headaches or migraine.
How is Padangusthasana done?
Though it seems like a simple enough pose, Padangusthasana, just like any other yoga asana needs to be done carefully keeping in mind its proper technique.
Here is a detailed step-by-step explanation of the Padangusthasana pose steps:
- Begin by standing straight with your hands on the side.
- Keep your feet hip-width apart.
- Take a deep breath in and stretch your arms above the head.
- Breathe out and bend your torso towards your feet.
- Hold your toes with your fingers.
- Stay in this position for 50-60 seconds.
- Take a deep breath in and lift your body up. Do this while ensuring that your legs and elbows are straight.
- This is one repetition. You can do 8-10 repetitions daily.
What are the variations of Padangusthasana?
There are several variations of Padangusthasana that you can include in your workout regime. These include:
- Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana: Also known as Standing Toe Hold Pose, this is an advanced variation of Padangusthasana that challenges your muscles more. It is an effective yoga pose that stretches your lower body muscles and makes them stronger.
- Stand straight and lift your left foot up. Do this while extending your leg fully and flexing your ankles.
- Grab your big toe with the first two fingers and thumb of the left hand. Keep your gaze ahead.
- Remember to do this without tensing your neck or shoulders and keeping your back straight.
- Position your right hand over the right hip.
- Hold the pose for a few seconds while breathing deeply.
- Inhale and bring the leg back to the front and slowly lower it to the floor.
- Repeat on the other side.
- Supta Padangusthasana: Also known as the Reclining Hand to Big Toe Pose, this is an easier variation of Padangusthasana. Supta Padangusthasana benefits people with weak knees and is also effective for stimulating your digestive organs and the prostate gland. Other Supta Padangusthasana benefits include relieving backache, sciatica pain, and menstrual discomfort.
- Lie on your back with your back and legs straight.
- Exhale and lift your right leg.
- Keeping your back straight lift your right hand to touch the big toe of the raised leg.
- Hold the pose for 30-40 seconds and gently lower your leg down.
- Repeat the process with your left leg.
Why should you do Padangusthasana?
The Padangusthasana pose has amazing benefits for your mental and physical health. Some of these include:
- One of the most important benefits of Padangusthasana is that it stimulates your digestive organs and prevents problems such as bloat, flatulence, and constipation.
- Just like the toe stand, this is an excellent asana to stretch and strengthen your thigh muscles. This improves your workout performance and functionality.
- Like the toe stand pose, this asana is also beneficial for people who lead a sedentary life or need to spend a lot of time in front of the screen. Padangusthasana helps in activating your lower back muscles and correcting your posture. This prevents postural problems such as lower back pain, stiffness, and tension.
- One of the most important benefits of Padangusthasana is that it improves the circulation to your brain. This is essential for better cognitive functioning and preventing age-related neurodegenerative conditions.
- Padangusthasana benefits people who suffer from liver and kidney issues.
- By stimulating the reproductive organs, Padangusthasana benefits women who experience painful menstruation. It is also an effective asana to relieve the discomforting symptoms of menopause.
- An important benefit of Big Toe Pose Yoga is that it can be easily modified for everyone depending on their age, conditioning, and flexibility levels. It also makes for a good pose of yoga for beginners.
- Since Padangusthasana doesn’t require an elaborate set-up, it can be easily included in your home workouts.
How to do Padangusthasana safely?
To gain the benefits of Padangusthasana yoga pose, you need to master its correct form. Here are some things to keep in mind while doing this asana:
- If you have any existing health conditions, don’t do Padangusthasana without consulting your doctor.
- If you are a beginner or have tight hips or hamstrings, you can do Padangusthasana and its variations using a strap. Alternatively, you can stand against a wall to balance yourself.
- Never hyperextend while doing Padangusthasana.
- Listen to your body while performing this asana. If you feel pain, nausea, or dizziness, stop practising immediately.
- Never begin practising this asana on your own. You can learn it from an experienced yoga teacher or by joining online yoga classes. This is not just important for correcting your form and gaze, but also for preventing injuries.
Including Padangusthasana yoga pose in your workout routine is a great way to enjoy lifelong fitness. However, the key to this is to remain consistent with your practice and keep yourself challenged and motivated along with appropriate lifestyle changes.
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