Padangushtasana stretches the hamstrings and calves, and helps in forward bending movements.

Padangushtasana: Pada means the foot. Angushtha implies the big toe. This posture is characterized by standing and holding the big toes. Padangushtasana enables the practitioner to stretch the hamstrings to facilitate graceful forward bending of the body.

How to do it?
While inhaling, raise both hands to join the palms straight above the head. Start exhalation and bend the body forward flexing at the hip. Hold the toes with the hands of the respective sides. Breathe five times in this position. While inhaling, resume Thadasana position. This helps in all the forward bending movements.

Garudasana: Garuda is the divine bird considered as the king of birds. Garuda is represented as the vehicle of Vishnu. The bird is described as having a white face, an aquiline nose, redwings and a golden body. The practise of this asana improves suppleness of all the joints of the arms, wrists, shoulders, hips and knees.

How to do it?
Stand in the Thadasana. Keeping the right leg straight, diagonally cross the left thigh over the right thigh (across the front of the right thigh) and bring the left shank behind the right shank, the left foot firmly resting behind the right calf muscles. Now, all the weight of the body is supported by the right leg.

Raise the elbows up to the level of the shoulders and cross the left arm with the right at the level of the elbow. Bring the lower arms very close, and join the left palm with the right; the arms appear intertwined. Breathe five times. This posture helps in depicting the divine bird Garuda on which Lord Vishnu is seated.


Vasundhara Doraswamy is the founder/director of Vasundhara Performing Arts Centre, Mysore.

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