Over the years, we have started to teach two different versions of Hands to Feet pose. We call these postures Hands to Feet A & B. There are several reasons for this, some of which are historical and others anatomical.
We will focus on the anatomical reasons in this blog, because we've previously written about the historical context. You can find that here.
So, what is the difference between the two postures?
Hands to Feet A is a forward bend of the spine. It uses the muscle of spinal flexion (rectus abdominis) to round the spine forward and bring the head toward the knees or thighs. If you have ever tried this posture, you probably noticed the intense engagement in the abdomen.
However, Hands to Feet B is a hamstrings stretch. In this posture, the pelvis tilts forward. Not only does this require hip flexor engagement, but it also engages the back of the spine. All of this is in services of the hamstrings lengthening. Then, by using arm strength, the upper body is pulled closer to the legs. This is not a forward bend of the spine. It does not use the muscles that bend the spine forward.
What does this mean in practice?
Either posture is worth practicing. It depends on what we are trying to accomplish. However, it's worth incorporating Hands to Feet A into the Half Moon sequence if we are trying to bend the spine in all directions. Otherwise, if we practice Hands to Feet B only, we bend the spine sideways and backward, but never forward.
Scott & Ida are Yoga Acharyas (Masters of Yoga). They are scholars as well as practitioners of yogic postures, breath control and meditation. They are the head teachers of Ghosh Yoga.
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