Summary of Contents
About the pose
In Sanskrit, ‘utthita’ = ‘stretched’, ‘hasta’ = ‘hand’, ‘pada’ = ‘foot’, ‘angustha’ = ‘big toe’, and ‘asana’ = ‘posture or pose’. Thus Utthita Hasta Pada Angusth Asana in other words simply means the stretching of the leg while holding the toe with your hand. Hence in English, it reads as Standing Hand to Big Toe Pose. This standing pose or asana, is considered as a balance pose while having one leg raised at hip level or more and holding this raised leg’s big toe with your hand. The pressure builds towards the leg which is firm on the ground to hold the body in balance. Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana, works on the flexibility of the hip joint along with the base of the spine, and the flexibility of the hamstring muscles to hold the posture comfortably.
- Arms and Shoulders
- Biceps and Triceps
- Feet and Ankles
How to do the pose
- Start in Tadasana / Mountain pose
- Take a point at eye level to focus on with a soft gaze.
- On an exhalation, bring the weight on your left foot and lift your right knee up. Reach with your right hand for your big toe.
- Firm your left hip in and lengthen your spine. Keep your shoulders blades firmly on the back, and your chest open. As you inhale, start extending your right leg out to the front, without compromising the length in spine.
- Stay for about 5 breaths, then as you inhale, bring your leg out to the right and stay for 5 more breaths.
- To come out of the pose, on an inhalation, bring your leg back to the centre. As you exhale lower the foot back to the floor.
- Repeat on the other side.
- Work on your balance first with Tree pose.
- If you have tight hamstrings, keep the lifted knee bent instead of straightening the leg out. This is also your option if your back rounds when you straighten the leg.
- Keeps the hips and hamstrings flexible.
- Strengthens the legs, ankles and core muscles.
- Improves concentration and focus.
- Improves balance and stability.
Watch out for
- This yoga pose requires good balance and really works the small muscles in the ankles and feet. Practise some simple ankle rotations after coming out of this pose if you feel the strain.
- Take care not to overstretch the hamstrings – it’s fine to keep the raised leg bent and take hold of the knee instead of the toe.
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- Understanding about yoga
- Try using a strap looped around the sole of your foot instead of hooking your big toe with your fingers and thumb
- To extend this pose for a longer period, use a wall as a prop. Press your raised heel firmly into the wall, keeping your leg active.
- Try the pose lying down in Supta Padangusthasana / Reclined Big Toe pose