Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)
Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose) mainly targets the abdominal and hip muscles. In this asana, legs are moved in an upward direction. The dynamic upward movement of the legs prepares and strengthens the muscles of the core, abdominal, lower back, pelvic and hips, etc.
This asana helps in gaining strength for the beginners and gradually person can move to Urdhva Prasarita Padasana variations as well (Upward Extended Feet Pose variations)
Meaning of Urdhva Prasarita Padasana
The name Urdhva Prasarita Padasana explains the purpose of the asana, it consists of three parts where ‘Urdhva’ means ‘Upward’, ‘Prasarity’ means ‘Extended’ and ‘Pada’ means feet. This asana is having multiple benefits and is comparatively have a very lower risk because it is completely done lying flat on the floor.
To whom Urdhva Prasarita Padasana benefits
Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose) also benefits joggers and runners, as they can do warm-up practice with this asana. Because this asana engages the muscles of the core and abdomen in a very effective mode, variations of this asana can be included in other Yoga sequences as well like:
- Vinyasa Yoga
- Power Yoga
- Yoga sequences for athletes
- Yoga sequences for aerobics
- 10 minute Yoga sequences for those who have less time for a workout, etc
This asana helps to maximize energy in our body and thus can also be included in various flow yoga sequences.
Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose) is also considered a warm-up yoga asana to prepare the body for variations and for more advanced Yoga poses / Yoga flows.
Urdhva Prasarita Padasana, predominantly benefits the following muscles:
Thus can be included in yoga movements with the resultant muscle focus:
- Abdominal muscles
- Lower Back muscles
- Core muscles
- Feet and Ankles muscles
- Hamstring muscles
- Hip muscles
- Pelvic muscles
How to do Urdhva Prasarita Padasana
The below-mentioned yoga poses show in multiple ways to do Urdhva Prasarita Padasana depending upon the focus of your yoga training and on the strength and ability of the person.
- Start the practice lying down on your back, and stretch your legs keeping the toes flexed and tightening the knees. Place your hands by the side of your legs. This stimulates the entire length of the legs and prepares you for the asana (pose), which gets the most out of the asana.
- Exhale, move the arms over the head, and stretch them out straight on the floor. keep the palms shoulders distance apart. take two breaths.
- Exhale, raise the legs up through 30 degrees, keeping the legs together, and hold the position for 15 to 20 seconds with normal breathing.
- Exhale, move the legs up to 60 degrees still keeping the feet together, and hold for 15 to 20 seconds with normal breathing.
- Again exhale, move the legs higher still to the perpendicular and lift both the legs 90 degrees to the floor, keeping the legs together, hold it for 30 to 60 seconds with normal breathing.
- Now exhale, lower the legs slowly to the floor and relax for some time.
You can repeat 3 or 4 times from position 2 to 6
As you move from one position to the other, you can observe the lower abdomen getting stimulated more and more. The 30-degree position would be the most difficult to perform as there are much more core activities involved in it.
Inhale and as you exhale, bring your arms beside your legs. Relax your body and take a rest with your knees bent with your arms beside your legs.
If you find it difficult to do the three positions in one stretch, then you can also do them in 3 steps taking a rest in between.
- Start the practice lying down on your back on the floor and stretch your legs keeping the toes flexed.
- Inhale and take your arms above your head and stretch them out straight on the floor. Keep the palms shoulder-distance apart.
- Exhale, lengthen the neck. Inhale and lift both the legs 90 degrees from the floor, meanwhile keeping the legs together. Stay in this position for 20- 30 seconds, normal breathing.
- Exhale, lower your legs to 60 degrees, and still keeping the feet together. Stay in this position for about 15 – 20 seconds, with normal breathing.
- Exhale again and lower the legs further to 30 degrees from the floor, keeping the legs intact. Stay here for 15- 20 seconds of normal breathing.
Urdhva Prasarita Padasana Benefits:
In Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose) asana the legs move in such a way that keeps many muscles engaged, which brings with it numerous benefits. These are explained below:
1. Stretch and strength
Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose) The active movement of the hip stretches the muscles of the legs, abdomen, pelvis, in the upward and downward movement of the legs.
These muscles strengthen the core and abdominal muscles keeping the lower back muscles active and flexible. Strong core muscles act as solid support for the lower back and hips.
2. Posture and Toning
In Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose) the various group of muscles is stretched and contracted with each movement, the active use of the shoulders and chest strengthen the sides of the upper body.
Frequent stretching helps in toning and strengthening the posture of the back. It especially benefits the person with a hunchback or those who are obese.
3. Stimulation and Metabolism
Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose) strengthens the inner muscles that are around the abdominal organs.
The active movement of the abdominal muscles which stretches and contracts regularly helps in the stimulation of the internal organs of the body.
This in return hugely helps in improving digestion and assimilation of food. It also helps to relieve symptoms of all stomach-related problems such as gastritis, flatulence and bloating, etc.
4. Energy and Circulation
The movement of the legs in Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose) in a particular direction increases the heart rate.
Along with the increased heart rate, there is also a proper supply of oxygen in the blood that increases the energy in the body.
The increasing activity of the muscles of the body with more oxygen keeps the body fully energized with proper circulation of the blood flow and throwing wastes of the body like carbon dioxide and lactic acid.
With high levels of energy and proper blood circulation, the body and mind become free from laziness, lethargy, and dullness.
5. Other benefits
Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose) can be included in the various yoga sequences to build stronger legs and core muscles.
This yoga asana can also be included in postnatal yoga to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles few months after delivery.
But it is always advised that practice should be done under the guidance of an experienced Yoga teacher, to avoid any injury or complications.
Urdhva Padasana Precautions
It is very important to do all yoga poses keeping in the mind the age, location, body conditions, injuries, and diseases so that no harm is caused to the person practicing it.
1. In case of Injury and Surgery
Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose) this asana stretches and contracts the hip area which further puts pressure on the lower back muscles.
Hence any person suffering from lower back issues due to any injury or severe back pain should avoid the leg raise movements.
Persons should also skip if they are recovering from any abdominal surgery, a slipped disc or anything that is contraindicated for the lumbar spine, hip flexors, pelvis, and hips.
Injury to the rib cage, shoulders, upper body is also contraindicated, and hence best to avoid this asana.
2. Kids and old age person
Upward Extended Feet Pose for kids or old age persons should be done with caution. A very rapid heartbeat is not safe, and the chances of this happening in this variation are high.
The rapid movement of the legs and holding them at different degrees from the ground can also lead to breathlessness, hence, not safe for everybody, specifically for kids and senior citizens who may find breathing a challenge.
The rapid movements of the legs with the active hip flexors put pressure on the lower back, so care should be taken. The tender hip joints and lumbar vertebrae will not be able to take the pressure.
3. Pregnant women
As pregnant women are in such a situation that rapid movement of any body parts particularly related to abdominal areas can do harm to them or to the baby in the womb.
Therefore, it is always advisable to avoid rapid movement of this asana during pregnancy. However under expert guidance asana with slow gentle movement during the pregnancy can be done, if there is no pain or discomfort.
Urdhva Prasarita Padasana is also a base pose for (Pada Sanchalanasana) Cycling Pose.
As persons have different abilities depending upon various factors, a given yoga pose may be easy for a particular person but hard for another.
In such a case, a person can do variations to further challenge his muscles, whenever they find a specific yoga pose easy to perform.
Urdhva Prasarita Padasana asana pose variations can as a result help you to grow and build further confidence in your yoga practice no matter what your starting ability levels were.
Urdhva Prasarita Padasana asana is a particularly beneficial exercise for reducing fat around the abdomen. It gives power and strength to the lumbar region of the back, it also tones the abdominal organs, and relieves those suffering from gastric trouble and flatulence.
Share your experience of performing Urdhava Prasarita Padasana and if you have any questions regarding this pose you can ask in the comments section below.