The Health Benefits of Utthita Hasta Padasana (Extended Hands and Feet Pose)
Utthita Hasta Padasana can easily be overlooked as an intermediary pose. Truthfully, it is rarely practiced at yoga class by itself, yet still holds important benefits. This asana will help you measure the correct distance your feet should be spread apart when in standing postures.
When you complete that simultaneous step of hopping your feet apart and spreading your arms to their full extent, your ankles should be somewhat below your wrists. This is your ideal stance for standing poses.
If you are having trouble completing a standing pose, like the Warrior Poses, whatever is going wrong can often be traced back to an intermediary pose like this one. It is much easier to correct your initial stance here then in the full pose.
Getting Into Extended Hands and Feet Pose:
Begin in Tadasana (Mountain Pose). Your weight should be balanced evenly throughout your thighs, calves, ankles and feet. Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Simultaneously, lengthen your entire spine and firm your thighs as you turn them inward.
Make sure to straighten the spine through the neck, balancing your head evenly between your shoulders so your chin in parallel to the floor. Gaze softly ahead of you, then, rest your shoulders down on your back.
Lift your elbows to shoulder-height and brings your fingertips together in front of your chest, palms facing down. Lift and open your chest – avoid puffing your sides forward, but lift through the sternum.
Inhale and hop (or lightly step) your feet about 4-5 feet wide, extending your arms out straight at the same time. Your feet should be parallel to each other. Actively stretch from your shoulders to the tips of your fingers and from your hips to your heels. Hold posture for several long, deep breaths.
Benefits of Extended Hands and Feet Pose:
- Opens your chest
- Strengthens your legs
- Helps you develop good stance for standing poses