Yoga Asanas

Padangusthasana - Big Toe Pose

Posted on 2019-01-10


The Padangusthasana is an asana of the Ashtanga yoga tradition that is done while standing. The pose is very good for stretching many muscles of the body and ideal for people with flat feet. The name Padangusthasana is derived from the Sanskrit pada which means foot, angustha which means thumb and asana which means pose. It is also known as the big toe pose in English.


Padangusthasana Step by step instructions

Step 1: stand straight with your feet about 6 inches apart. Keep your legs completely straight and your kneecaps lifted.

Step 2: As you exhale, lower your torso and your head as one unit. Bend lower but ensure you are bending at the hips, not at the waist. Bend forwards until you touch your forehead to your knees. Ensure to keep the legs straight all through.

Step 3: Put the index and middle fingers in between the big toe and the second toe. Grip the big toe firmly using those fingers and the thumb. Press your toes firmly on the fingers.

Step 4: Lift up your torso as if you wanted to stand again as you inhale. As you exhale release your torso so that your lower back hollows depending on your flexibility.

Step 5: continue inhaling and exhaling as you lift your torso up increasing the stretch on the hamstrings. Ensure also to lift the sternum and then lower the torso and the sternum towards the knees in cycles.

Step 6: after several cycles, exhale and lower your elbows to the sides. With your elbows to the side, pull on the big toes. Hold at this position for a set time and release going back up to standing position.


Modifications

If you are unable to reach your toes, you can use straps on the feet arches to reach on to when you bend.


Preparatory poses

Supta Pandangusthasana, uttanasana, paschimottanasana, adho mukha svanasana, tadasana


Follow up poses

Trikonasana, Utkatanasa


Benefits

  • It stretches the hamstrings and the calves

  • It strengthens the core

  • It stretches the back

  • Strengthens the thighs

  • It strengthens the back

  • Stimulates the digestion system


Drishti

Tip of the nose


Variations

The pose can be made more challenging by using the raised hand big toe pose (Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana). In this variation, the hips and the thighs are stretched more. To perform the pose, start in standing position then put one of your legs to the sides. Reach for your big toe with the fingers of the alternating hand. For instance, reach for the right-hand big toe with the left-hand arm. While doing this, ensure that your legs are straight.


Pose type

Stretching pose, standing pose, backbend bose


Beginner tips

  • Avoid bending your knees when trying to reach your toes. If you are unable to reach the toes when you have bent completely consider using a strap attached to the arch of the feet and hold on to that instead.

  • It is important to maintain proper form even when you are unable to completely get your forehead to the knees. With the proper form your hamstrings will be stretched to the best levels and the calves too and as flexibility increases, you can now bend even further.

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