Try Hands-To-Feet Pose for a great leg and spine stretch that’s easy to do anytime, anywhere…
Hands-to-Feet Pose (Padahastasana) is a basic forward-bending yoga pose that provides a great stretch for the calves, legs, and back muscles. This pose also releases tension and improves range of motion in the neck and shoulders, stretches the glutes, thighs, and hamstrings, and generates energy throughout the body. The pose is believed to help relieve and prevent sciatica, awaken the nervous system, and reduce stress, anxiety, and insomnia. It may also help to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome by keeping the hands and wrists active and engaged.
To modify the pose, you may use a yoga strap to assist with the stretch if you are not able to bend all the way down to reach your toes. Just place the strap under the balls of your feet and hold onto the ends of the strap and pull gently to deepen the stretch. Or, you may also hold behind the knees or calves instead. (This variation is common in the Bikram yoga style.) You may also keep your knees slightly bent and work on gradually lengthening the backs of the legs as you gain flexibility.
Don’t worry if you aren’t able to bring your nose all the way to your knees at first. Just gently allow the body to soften as you stretch, and work towards this goal over time.
Those with hand or wrist injuries should use caution or avoid this pose.
How to Do Hands-To-Feet Pose:
Step 1: Start by standing in an upright position. Your body should be straight with your kneecaps raised and the spine straight. Keep your feet shoulder width apart. Ensure that the thigh muscles are long and engaged as you stand.
Step 2: From the standing position, lift your hands up slowly to towards the ceiling as you inhale so that your fingertips point to the ceiling in Raised Hands Pose.
Step 3: Slowly bend forward, moving the head, hands and the torso as one unit. As you lower your upper body, keep the legs straight and the spine elongated and straight, with your back flat.
Step 4: Continue to fold forward until your nose or chin touches the knees. Your hands should now be touching your toes.
Step 5: Lift your toes so that you can slide your hands underneath the balls of the feet. Hold yourself in that position for a set duration or a few breaths. (Alternately, you can also hold behind the ankles.)
Step 6: To release from the pose, slide your hands back out from under the feet. Inhale as you slowly and gently roll your spine back up to a standing position.
Read more at YogaTeket.com…