Yoga Nidra

Yoga Beginners: Corpse Pose and Padahastasana

Corpse Pose and Hand-to-Foot pose, known as Shavasana and Padahastasana in Hindi, are beginner level asanas you will also find in intermediate and advanced classes. Shavasana is one of the easiest poses to perform. Coming out of padahastasana, standing forward bend, may cause some beginners dizziness you can avoid with small modifications explained below.

The What and When of Shavasana

Shavasana is the reclining, relaxation pose and one of the most essential yoga asanas for beginners to master. Some styles of yoga, such as Hatha and Sivananda, perform shavasana at the beginning and end of class, as well as in between poses or sequences. Power, Vinyasa and Flow styles of yoga might only perform shavasana at the end of class. Shavasana typically lasts one to 20 minutes. Your instructor may provide instruction via a guided meditation at the beginning, middle or end of shavasana. The purpose of the corpse pose is to relax your muscles and quiet your mind.

How to Do Shavasana

Sit in the middle of your yoga mat, with half the length in front of you and half the length behind. Lay down on your back. Separate your feet about shoulder-width apart to a distance comfortable to you, and relax to let your feet splay out to the sides. Place your arms about 6 inches away from your body with your palms up. Breathe normally, relax all your muscles, and keep your body and mind as still as possible.

The What and Why of Padahastasana

Padahastasana is also known as standing forward bend. This asana stretches your back muscles and hamstrings, so it’s great as one of those anytime stretches throughout the day. It’s supposed to help alleviate gas, constipation and indigestion. Contraindications for padahastasana include, but are not limited to, heart disease, high blood pressure and abdominal hernias, without permission from your doctor.

How to Do Padahastasana

There are a number of ways to get into padahastasana and here is the easiest one…Step your feet hip-distance apart and parallel. Relax your arms by your sides. Inhale. Exhale and relax your chin to your chest. Slowly move the top of your head down towards the mat, vertebrae by vertebrae, until your body tells you to stop – this depends on your level of flexibility. Let your arms hang and place the palms on the floor, if you can, or around your ankles or shins. Relax your neck and shoulders. Take 4 to 6 deep breaths. To get out of padahastasana, roll up to standing one vertebra at a time, starting at your lower back. Keep your chin to your chest for two breaths before lifting your head to avoid feeling dizzy after forward bends.

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