Padangusthasana - Foot Holding
पाद pāda: foot | foot of a tree, of a column, of a mountain; position, site | beam | quarter, fourth part | phil. [sāmkhya] the faculty [karmendriya] of walking, under the control of Visnu; its predominant element [bhūta] is tejas - fire; the perception [tanmātra] associated is the aspect [rūpa] that stimulate the sense [buddhīndriya] of vision [aksi] || gr. πεδον; lat. pedis, ang. foot; fr. pied..
अङ्गुष्ठ angustha (aṅguṣṭha): thumb, big toes. From anguli-stha. अङ्गुलि anguli (aṅguli): foot; toe. स्थ stha: that holds, that stays, that is (in, on, among); located at || lat. stabulum, fr. étable/
Note: See also स्था sthā_1: sto stand, to remain immobile | to stay; to persist | to be present, to exist || gr. εστην; lat. sto, engl. to stand; fr. stable. sthā_2: that holds and स्थाणु sthānu: ferm, fix, immutable | tree trunk, pillar, post, column | soc. mast of the ritual vajapeya — myth. np. of Sthānu "Pillar (of fire)", one of the 11 divine breaths [marut]; epith. of Siva.
This pose has various names, including "Foot to Fingers Forward Bend", "Big Toe", "Hand to Toe".
Padangusthasana consists of two series of stretching focusing on promotion of the circulation of energy through the deep work on the legs.
Series 1 (Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana)
Standing up, one hand on the hip, eyelids open and eyes fixing a real or virtual point, several breathings are made to promote the concentration. During an exhalation, the leg opposed to the hand on the hip is flexed and its toes are grasped. During the inhalation that follows, the leg is then stretched forward as high as possible while the pelvic girdle remains as forward as possible and the back straight.
In that position, practice the energy work as long as possible, while attempting to relax all muscles unnecessary to the position.
Upon an exhalation, leave the position; bring the breathing back to normal, and switch legs.
While fixing the real or virtual point, privilege the full retention with Mula Bandha. Insure that the exhalation is long. Perceive the energy diffusing along the stretched leg throughout the body.
In this series, the starting point is standing up. The eyelids are open and the eyes fix a real or virtual point. Initiate Anjali Mudra and then exhale while bending slightly forward with the hands going down. During the inhalation, stretch the arms upward. Pause in full retention, and go down by bending forward. Grab each foot by the big toe with the thumb, second and third fingers. Finally, bring the head up and pull the feet with the arms to bridge as much as possible. Fix a point at the horizontal.
While fixing the point, privilege the retention time with the root lock and elongate the exhalation. Remain as long as possible while relaxing all muscles unnecessary for the position. Experience the energy diffusing from the legs to the whole body.
The starting point is the same. However, instead of pulling the head up, it is pulled down to the knees by mean of the arms. The energy work is identical to Series 2, except that the eyelids are closed.