Relax in Hand to Foot Pose

hand to foot poseIt may not look like it, but Hand to foot pose, also known as Pada Hastasana, is very relaxing. If you can reach your toes with your fingertips, you can easily practice Hand to foot pose. Even if you can’t touch your toes, you can use a yoga strap or towel to help you get into an appropriate stretch.

The main benefit of practicing this pose is that you get to naturally traction your spine. By bringing your head lower than your hips, you allow gravity to stretch your spine for you. This is a step toward undoing all the compression that gravity causes on your spine while you’re upright.

Plus, this is a great opportunity to give your wrists a break. After so many poses that involve wrist flexion (Down dog and Plank for example), it’s nice to have some extension and stretch the back of your wrist. Here’s more about this wonderful pose.

Hand to Foot Pose

If you are unable to touch the floor with your fingertips, bring a yoga strap or towel with you to practice this pose.

  1. Use ujjayi breathing.
  2. Begin in Tadasana.
  3. Inhale and reach your arms up toward the ceiling. Take a moment at the top of your inhale to really reach your fingertips toward the ceiling and feel length in your side body.
  4. Draw your belly button toward your spine.
  5. Exhale and forward fold into Uttanasana.
  6. If your fingertips can touch the floor, lift the toes of your right foot and slide your right fingers underneath. When you do this, the back of your hand should be toward the floor. If, however, you are unable to touch the floor, slide a strap or towel under the ball of your right foot. Having something to hold on to will help you get deeper into your stretch and move you closer to being able to practice this pose without assistance.
  7. Do the same thing for the left side.
  8. If you feel like you can get more of the back of your hands on the floor, shift your weight from side to side to adjust.
  9. Once you feel like you’re in the best position possible, take a moment and refine your alignment. Rotate your pelvis so that your SITs bones angle toward the ceiling. Draw your belly button toward your spine. Feel your back lengthen and the back of your neck relax.
  10. Now, hold and breathe 5-8 breaths.
  11. When you are finished, lift your feet off of your hands and inhale as your reach back to your final standing pose, Tadasana.

Hand to Foot Pose Video

Here is a video for visual learners.

What is your favorite way to stretch your spine? Let us know in the comments below.

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About Sarah Stockett

Hi, I'm Sarah! I'm a certified Pilates and yoga instructor with a passion for pain relief. I believe you can use simple exercises to relieve your aches + pains. AND, I believe I can teach you how.