By B.K.S. Iyengar April 1999 PRASARITA PADOTTANASANA‘Prasarita‘ means to spread apart. ‘Pada‘ means a foot. ‘Ot‘ means intensity while ‘tan‘ means to stretch. As the name suggests, in this asana legs are spread out and stretched intensely. Technique1. Stand in Tadasana (straight like a tree trunk). 2. Keep the hands on the waist. 3. Inhale, jump and spread the legs about 5 feet apart. 4. Lift the kneecaps up and extend the toes to the front. 5. Exhale and place your palms in line with the shoulders on the floor between your feet. 6. Press your palms on the floor, inhale and raise the head. 7. Make the back concave and roll the shoulders towards the shoulder blades. 8. Exhale, bend at the elbows and place your head on the floor. 9. To bring your head down, take the hard portion of the groin back and raise the groins. 10. The weight of the body must be distributed evenly on the feet and the palms, and not on the head. 11. Stay in this pose for half a minute, breathing normally. 12. Inhale, raise the head, make the back concave and place hands on the waist. 13. Jump back to Tadasana.Special InstructionsThose who cannot keep the head on the floor should keep the palms slightly forward. The head should also be kept forward and not in line with the feet. In the beginning, if there is a difficulty in placing the head on the floor, then you can place the head on a folded blanket or a block of wood. BenefitsWith this asana, the hamstring muscles are fully developed, while blood is made to flow to the trunk and head. Those who cannot do Sirsasana (headstand) can benefit from this pose, which increases digestive powers. ADHO MUKHA SVANASANA ‘Adho Mukha‘ means face downwards. ‘Svana‘ means a dog. This pose resembles a dog stretching itself with head and forelegs down and the hind legs up, hence the name. Technique1. Stand in Tadasana. 2. Exhale, bend forward and place the palms before your feet. 3. The distance between the palms should be 1½ feet. 4. Spread out the fingers and the palms in such a way that the middle finger points to the front and the thumb and little finger are extended to the sides. 5. Step back about 4 ½ feet, one leg at a time. 6. Straighten the legs. The distance between the legs should be about 1½ feet. 7. Keeping the legs straight and firm, extend the arms straight up towards the waist. 8. Rest the heels and soles of the feet on the floor with the feet parallel to each other and the toes pointing straight ahead. 9. The left foot should be in line with the left hand and the right foot with the right hand. 10. Exhale. Push the thighs back and move the trunk towards the thighs. Place the head on the floor. 11. Stay in this pose for about a minute and breathe deeply. Inhale and lift the head off the floor. Step forward towards the palm and stand in Tadasana. Special Instructions• If you are a beginner, straighten the knees so as to release the muscles and loosen them.• Revolve thighs and knees from inside out along with the ankles.• The last step is to rest the head on the floor. Do not hasten the process by bending at your knees or elbows. It does not matter if you cannot rest your head on the floor in the beginning.• Spread your palms well so that the arch of the palm is also stretched, allowing the elbows to be lifted. Don’t allow them to drop towards the floor.• If your heels don’t rest on the floor, you may take the support of the wall and rest the heel on the wall so that the toes and mounts are on the floor. Benefits• A longer stay in this pose removes fatigue and brings back lost energy.• It rejuvenates the brain cells.• Relieves stiffness in the shoulder blades and arthritis of the shoulder joints.• Relieves pain and stiffness in the heels and helps soften calcaneal spurs.• Strengthens the ankles and makes the legs shapely.• Helps sprinters develop speed and lightness in the legs.• The abdominal muscles are drawn towards the spine and strengthened.• Persons suffering from high blood pressure can do this pose.
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