Definition - What does Padahastasana mean?

Padahastasana is a standing forward fold and one of the 12 basic postures of Hatha yoga. It is also the third pose of surya namaskar, the sun salutation sequence. It is believed to reduce tamas, which means heaviness or inertia in the body.

This pose's name comes from the Sanskrit pada which means "foot," hasta meaning "hand" and asana meaning a "seat" or "posture."

The English name for padahastasana is hand to foot pose, hand under foot pose or gorilla pose, depending on the variation performed.

Yogapedia explains Padahastasana

Depending on the interpretation and the type of yoga, padahastasana can be performed with the hands simply moving to the feet, as in a flowing sun salutation, or the hands placed under the feet with the palms facing up. The latter forms part of the primary series of Ashtanga yoga.

Padahastasana is considered an important posture because in addition to the physical stretching and strengthening benefits, it is believed to have pranic, or energetic, benefits. In removing tamas from the body, it helps the practitioner to feel lighter and more energized. It is also said to slow the heartbeat, giving relief from both mental and physical exhaustion.

In terms of ayurvedic doshas, padahastasana is thought to stimulate vata, which speeds up digestion and increases the light, airy energy in the body.

On a spiritual level, some believe that the position of the body in this posture helps to balance between one's lower and higher self. It is also thought to help find harmony between nature and spirit.

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