What is Padanguli Naman & Gulf Naman (Toe & Ankle Bend)?

Toe bending exercises are called Padanguli naman and Ankle bending exercises in yoga are also known Gulf Naman. These Toe and Ankle bending exercises are very helpful in preventing conditions like arthritis that affect the joints in the body. The three major joints found in the ankle include the fibula, tibia, and talus. Arthritis in the ankles wears out and damages the cartilages causing inflammation and pain.

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Padanguli Naman & Gulf Naman (Toe & Ankle Bend) exercises are also good forpeople suffering from lower back pain. The stretching of the leg muscles in turn helps relieve lower back pain effectively over time. They help in toning the muscles in the leg and feet, which in turn increases our body’s stability.

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It is considered best when Padanguli Naman & Gulf Naman (Toe & Ankle Bend) exercises are practiced early in the morning. However, if because of some reason, you are not able to practice it in the morning, you can practice this pose in the evening as well. Mornings are preferred as the food is digested and your body has the energy to perform the asanas. But make sure that when you are practicing these exercises in the evening, you should have your food five to six hours before you practice as your food takes this much time to digest.

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Technique Of Practicing Padanguli Naman & Gulf Naman (Toe & Ankle Bend):

To practice Padanguli Naman or Toe Bending, one must get into Dandasana first:

Steps to practice Dandasana:

  • To practice Dandasana or The Staff Pose, sit straight with your legs outstretched on the floor or on Yoga mat.
  • In case you have tight hamstrings, you can sit on a cushion or blanket so that your torso can be upright and vertical.
  • You can also sit with your back against a wall in such a way that your shoulder blades are touching the wall while leaving a little space between the wall and your lower back.
  • Press your buttocks on the floor, and align your head in such a way that the crown faces the ceiling while practicing Dandasana or The Staff Pose.
  • Also, bring your thighs to touch the floor. At the same point, press out through your heel.
  • Press your thigh bones firmly down into the floor. Make sure your legs do not rotate outward while practicing Dandasana or The Staff Pose.
  • Place your palms next to your hips on the floor.
  • Doing this will support your spine and also relax your shoulders.
  • While practicing Dandasana or The Staff Pose your torso must be straight and relaxed.
  • While practicing Dandasana or The Staff Pose, relax your legs, and press your legs firmly to the floor.
  • Broaden across your shoulders and lift your chest. Also, draw your navel in toward your spine.
  • In the final position, your torso should be perpendicular to the floor and your crown should be towards the ceiling.
  • Always try to keep your chin parallel to the floor and close your eyes and focus on the center of the eyes.
  • Stay in this position for 3-4 minutes or for as longer as you can.
  • Practice Dandasana or The Staff Pose for as long as you can. Stop when you feel discomfort in your legs or spine.

Steps to Practice Padanguli Naman or Toe Bending:

  • Get into Dandasana to practice Padanguli naman or the toe bending.
  • Sit in the base position with the legs outstretched and the feet slightly apart.
  • Now, place the hands beside and slightly behind the buttocks.
  • Lean back a little, using the arms to support the back.
  • In this position, your back must be straight and not bent.
  • Keep the spine as straight as possible.
  • Always be aware of the toes while moving them in this exercise.
  • Move the toes of both feet slowly backward and forward, keeping the feet upright and the ankles relaxed and motionless.
  • Hold each position for a few seconds.
  • Relax for a few breaths.
  • Repeat the exercise for 10 rounds.
  • Beginners should try to stay in this position for 1-2 minutes or until your legs and feet start feeling discomfort.
  • Advanced practitioners should stay in this pose for 3-4 minutes or for as long as you can.

Breathing Pattern To Be Followed While Practicing Padanguli Naman Or Toe Bending

  • Inhale as the toes move backward.
  • Exhale as the toes move forward.
  • Maintain a constant breath while holding the pose.

Awareness While Practicing Padanguli Naman Or Toe Bending

Physical Awareness - The Physical Awareness while practicing Padanguli Naman or Toe Bending should be on the breath synchronized with the movement and the movement and stretch on legs while practicing the asana.

Spiritual Awareness – The Spiritual Awareness while practicing Padanguli Naman or Toe Bending should be on Swadhisthana Chakra or The Sacral Chakra. Svadhishthana contains unconscious desires. It is said that to raise the Kundalini Shakti or the energy of consciousness.

Steps to Practice Gulf Naman or Ankle Bending:

  • Get into Dandasana to practice Gulf Naman or Ankle Bending.
  • Remain in the base position.
  • In this position, keep the feet slightly apart.
  • Slowly move both feet backward and forward, bending them from the ankle joints.
  • At the same time, try to stretch the feet forward to touch the floor and then draw them back towards the knees.
  • Hold each position for a few seconds.
  • Relax for a few breaths.
  • Repeat the exercise for 10 rounds.
  • Beginners should try to stay in this position for 1-2 minutes or until your legs and feet start feeling discomfort.
  • Advanced practitioners should stay in this pose for 3-4 minutes or for as long as you can.

Breathing Pattern To Be Followed While Practicing Gulf Naman Or Ankle Bending

  • Inhale as the toes move backward.
  • Exhale as the toes move forward.
  • Maintain a constant breath while holding the pose.

Awareness While Practicing Gulf Naman Or Ankle Bending

Physical Awareness - The Physical Awareness while practicing Gulf Naman or Ankle Bending should be on the breath synchronized with the movement and the movement and stretch on legs while practicing the asana.

Spiritual Awareness – The Spiritual Awareness while practicing Gulf Naman or Ankle Bending should be on Swadhisthana Chakra or The Sacral Chakra. Svadhishthana contains unconscious desires. It is said that to raise the Kundalini Shakti or the energy of consciousness.

Benefits Of Practicing Padanguli Naman & Gulf Naman (Toe & Ankle Bend)

  • Padanguli Naman & Gulf Naman (Toe & Ankle Bend) stretches the calves, hamstrings, hips thighs and the groin thereby strengthening the pelvic area.
  • This pose increases the strength of the knees by the stretch they get while in the final position.
  • Padanguli Naman & Gulf Naman (Toe & Ankle Bend) also strengthens the abdominal muscles and massages the intestines and internal organs of the digestive system and thereby improves digestion.
  • This pose is also very helpful for females who are menstruating as this helps in relieving the discomfort.
  • It helps in the stimulation of the prostate gland and helps in treating ailments of the Prostrate.
  • This asana is very helpful for people suffering from minor back ailments as this asana helps in relieving the pain.
  • This pose also helps in reducing ailments of the respiratory system as it helps in increasing the lung capacity of your body when it is practiced with proper breathing techniques.
  • It is a full body energizer and revitalize and it improves your concentration.
  • Padanguli Naman & Gulf Naman (Toe & Ankle Bend) helps in balancing the mind, increases the power of concentration, and induces physical and mental relaxation quickly.
  • The thinking process becomes very clear and precise with regular practice of this asana.
  • It also helps in getting rid of stress and mild depression.
  • It also helps in getting rid of Constipation with regular practice.
  • Padanguli Naman & Gulf Naman (Toe & Ankle Bend) is also very helpful for people suffering from Diabetes.

Precautions and Contraindications While Practicing Padanguli Naman & Gulf Naman (Toe & Ankle Bend)

  • People with injured or weak knees should not practice Padanguli Naman & Gulf Naman (Toe & Ankle Bend) as a lot of stress is put on the knees.
  • You should also avoid practicing this pose if you have an injury to the ankle.
  • People with very tight hamstrings should practice this pose with extreme caution as it can cause strain and pain when stretched excessively.
  • Get out of the pose if you feel a sudden sharp and shooting pain in your legs.
  • If you have any doubts about your condition, consult a physician before practicing Padanguli Naman & Gulf Naman (Toe & Ankle Bend) and always practice asana under the supervision of a trained yoga expert.
  • Do not over exert yourself while practicing this pose. Do not push yourself beyond the limits. Go only as far as your body allows.
  • You should also not perform this asana if you have any serious and chronic spinal problems like lumbar spondylitis.
  • You should not practice this pose if you are suffering from diarrhea or if you have had any recent episodes of diarrhea.
  • Pregnant women should not practice this pose.
  • People suffering from peptic ulcer, hernia, intestinal tuberculosis and other such conditions are also advised not to practice this asana.
  • High blood pressure patients should not practice this pose.
  • People with chronic heart conditions should also not practice Padanguli Naman & Gulf Naman (Toe & Ankle Bend).
  • People suffering from cerebral thrombosis should also not practice this asana.

Tips While Practicing Padanguli Naman & Gulf Naman (Toe & Ankle Bend)

  • Try to balance your body by leaning a little backwards while practicing Padanguli Naman & Gulf Naman (Toe & Ankle Bend).
  • Beginners or those with limited flexibility on their leg muscles can keep their knees bent slightly or sit on a folded blanket while practicing this asana.
  • Perform this pose with utmost care if your spine is not sufficiently flexible.
  • Beginners can practice this asana with one leg at a tome initially and you will get into the final pose with conscious, consistent and constant practice.
  • Stay in the final pose for as long as you can because your body will benefit more as the holding capacity of your body will increase. You will start feeling that you have to put efforts while holding the pose for 20 seconds; you can increase the holding capacity with constant practice.
  • It is important that your stomach is empty and bowels are clean when you practice. It is important that your stomach is empty and bowels are clean when you practice this asana. And always keep a gap at least four to six hours between your yogasanas practice and meal.
  • You can also try practicing this pose by keeping you back against a wall initially.
Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: June 30, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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