This āsana has four different variations, referred to as A, B, C and D (please refer to the  previous  article for an understanding of Prasarita Padottanasana Part A  )

The variations of Prasarita Padottanasana are subtle but each variation provides different challenges and benefits.

How to do Prasarita Padottanasana yoga pose – Part 2B

Prasarita Padottanasana - Part 2

 

  • Inhaling, place the hands on the hips. Open the chest, filling the lungs with air and look up.

  • Exhaling, keeping the hands on the hips and the extension in the spine, fold forward so the crown of the head rests on the mat between the feet.

  • Stay here for 5 breaths. With every exhale, stretch the spine further towards the ground.

  • Inhaling, come all the way up.

Benefits (in addition to the benefits listed for Prasarita Padottanāsana A):

  • This variation of the āsana will challenge your sense of balance. Without the hands to provide support, you must learn to balance the weight evenly through both feet and legs. Through practice, one slowly learns to trust the body and to balance in the pose. This sense of balance can then be applied to other āsanas.

  • Correct alignment of feet and legs is essential for learning to balance in this āsana. With out the hands to support you on the mat, the student must distribute the weight evenly across the base of the feet. If the weight shifts to the front of the feet, there is a tendency to fall forwards. If the weight shifts to the back of the feet then it is difficult to extend the spine and reach the head to the mat. Very often people do not have the correct alignment of their feet –either putting more pressure on the inner or outer edge of the feet. This can lead to uneven development of the muscles of the legs. Correct alignment of the feet will develop the muscles of the legs evenly and also develop the muscles around the knees and protect them from injury.

  • In the other variations of Prasarita Padottanāsana, one can use the hands to help you reach the head to the floor. In this variation, as the hands are on the hips, you have to use your breath to elongate the spine. This variation can teach you the connection between the breath and the body. You begin to understand how to use the breath to go deeper into all āsanas.

  • This variation will provide a really intense stretch to the hamstrings. As the hands are not there to carry any weight, the legs are forced to work harder.

  • The hands are pressed into the hips and lower abdomen. One can feel the muscles of the lower abdomen and remind oneself to engage Moolah Bandha and Uddiyana Bandha.

Spiritual benefits Prasarita Padottanasana :

  • This āsana will force you to face your fears. When first practicing the āsana, there can be a sense of fear about falling forward. As the mind –body connection grows stronger; you learn to trust the body and to surrender into the āsana. By over coming these fears here, during yoga, you will become stronger and more equipped to face your fears in life. You will also learn that sometimes the only way to move forward is to surrender.

  • In this variation of the āsana, the head hangs. This allows the energy to flow with ease towards the Sahasraha Chakra.

 

How to do Prasarita Padottanasana Part – C:

Prasarita Padottanasana

  • Stretch the arms out sideways. Exhaling rotate and bring them behind you back. Interlace the fingers.

  • Inhaling, open the chest, lift the sternum, extend the spine and lift the interlaced hands slightly away from the back of the legs.

  • Exhaling, bring the crown of the head to the mat, between the legs. Allow the hands to drop onto the floor above the head. If they do not reach the floor, allow them to hang and let gravity pull them towards the floor.

  • Stay here for 5 breaths.

  • Inhaling, come all the way up.

  • Exhaling, release the hands and place them on the hips.

Modification: Rotate the arms inwards, so the palms are open. This will allow for a different stretch in the arms, wrists and hands.

Tip: For those with tight shoulders, it will be challenging to bring the hands to the ground.  After you have placed the head on the ground, pull the arms towards the front of the room before you attempt to touch them to the ground. This will allow the shoulders to release and  create more length in the arms.

Benefits of Prasarita Padottanasana:

  • Opens the shoulders, upper and middle back.

  • As you look upwards, the rib cage is extended. Because the arms are interlaced behind, there is a greater stretch in the clavicle region. This allows the upper lungs to expand and be oxygenated.

  • The wrist and fingers are stretched.

 

Spiritual benefits of Prasarita Padottanasana:

  • As the chest is expanded, there is an opening of the Anahita chakra.

  • This āsana will teach you the fine balance between effort and letting go. If you force the arms towards the ground, the shoulders will jam and you will not be able to reach the hands to the ground.

How to do Prasarita Padottanasana – Part D

Prasarita Padottanasana

  • Inhaling, open chest, lift the sternum and extend the spine.

  • Exhaling, bend forward and grab the big toes. (the index and middle finger curl around the toe and the thumb presses into the nail)

  • Inhaling, lift the head, and straighten the spine.

  • Exhaling, fold forward. Bend the elbows, and use the arms to pull your head towards the ground.

  • Hold for 5 breaths. With each exhale try to extend the spine towards the ground.

  • Inhaling, release the toes, place the hands on the hips and come half way up, so the spine is parallel to the ground. Exhale here.

  • Inhaling come all the way up.

Benefits of Prasarita Padottanasana – Part D:

  • The final variation allows you to use the arms to pull your head to the floor. This action increases the stretch to the hamstrings.

  • The thumbs and fingers, which are pressed into the toe, activate a marma point (or energy point), which is connected to the eyes. This action causes relaxation of the eyes.

Source:  http://www.shreyasretreat.com

 

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