Sometimes I Call It The Star Pose
Posted by terrepruitt on September 6, 2014
I like this pose, Utthita Hasta Padasana (Extended Hands and Feet Pose). It is an easy pose. It is one of those asanas that can be used in so many places in a yoga routine. It can be used in the beginning to allow you to “come into your body” and start the process of concentration. It can be used in between other poses, either to rest or reset, or to allow for an easy transition. It can be used at the end. It can be used to help practice awareness and learning sensations in your body. I often use it as part of the cooldown in my Nia classes. It is basically something almost everyone can do. Sometimes it might present an initial challenge for some needing help with balance, but after a bit it becomes easy. I like it. It is very versatile.
Generally no matter when or where in the routine this pose is placed in my current yoga classes we do not hop into it. We step into the wide stance. The feet are beyond the width of the shoulders. If we have come from a mountain pose then we continue with our reaching, lengthening, relaxing, and lifting, but if we are stepping into this from another pose then we check our posture. We want to reach with the crown of the head to the sky, lengthening the neck – creating space between the ears and the shoulders, we allow our shoulders to relax and our shoulder blades to “drip” down our back, we lift the ribs off of the hips, and lift the knee caps by activating our thigh muscles. The feet – in the wide stance – are parallel to the edges of the mat and each other. The chest is open. Arms are stretched out to the side, elbows and hands are at an even height with the shoulders. We are reaching for the opposite walls.
Standing there you open your chest and create space in the joints. Reach up to be taller and reach out to be longer. The head reaching up, the arms reaching out. Feet are firmly planted, weight is evenly distributed over the entire foot (both feet), toes are spread. Here is where you sense the strength and stability while opening.
This pose is traditionally done from the mountain pose with hands at chest level, finger tips touching in front of the heart center. Then when you hop your legs into your wide stance you put your arms out at the same time. In order to be “gentle” we step into our Utthita Hasta Padasana.
Many yoga poses are challenging. Many test strength, many test balance, many test flexibility. The ones, like this one might be very easy so the possibility that they are over looked and not practice in many yoga classes could be very high. But it is the easy asanas where sometimes we learn the most. We learn to take a moment to sense the body. What does it feel like to stand wide, reaching and lengthening? What is the sensation in my bones? What is the sensation in my muscles? Can I open my chest any further? Can I make my arms longer? Check into these sensations. Allow yourself to learn and become familiar so that you can do more challenging poses with the body knowledge you have gained from the easier poses.
Do you do this pose as part of your practice? Do you do this pose in the yoga class you attend?