Utthita Hasta Padasana (Extended Hands and Feet Pose)
Level: All levels
Category: Standing Pose
Utthita = extended or stretched. Hasta = hand. Pada = foot.
Strictly speaking, Utthita Hasta Padasana (Extended Hands and Feet Pose) and Parshva Hasta Padasana (Side Hands and Feet Pose), the pose that generally follows, are intermediary stages one passes through on the way to another pose. In her book, “Yoga in Action: A Preliminary Course”, Mumbai, YOG, 2000” Geeta Iyengar takes the time to single these stages out and to name them specifically. It is a useful exercise as they set up the body for whichever pose is to come. Often whatever is going wrong in a pose can be traced back to one of these intermediary stages and corrected more easily here than in the full pose.
Organizing the pose
- • Stand in Tadasana (Mountain Pose).
• Lift the elbows to shoulder height and bring the fingertips together in front of the chest with the palms facing down.
• Lift and open the chest.
• Inhale and lightly step or hop the feet approximately four feet apart, extending the arms out at the same time.
• Turn the feet so they are parallel to each other (i.e.: the second toe points forward and the center of the heel points back).
• Hold the position for several breaths.
- • Spread the toes and ground through the feet.
• Draw the thighs up into the chest.
• Reach the draw the tailbone down towards the heels and soften the lower abdomen.
• Lift the upper abdomen.
• Lengthen up through the sides of the trunk.
• Reach the wrists away from each other to get a stretch across the chest and the upper back.