Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana - Extended Hand To Big Toe Pose
Utthita Hasta Padangustasana is a standing pose practiced in almost all forms of modern yoga. This pose requires the yogi to engage their core and most of the muscles in the body and therefore it has many benefits.
Utthita Hasta Padangustasana is derived from the following Sanskrit words; utthita meaning extended, hasta meaning hand, pada meaning foot, angustha meaning big toe and asana meaning posture. It, therefore, translates to the extended hand-to-big-toe pose in English.
Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana Step by Step
Step 1: Start in standing position with your feet close together. Bring your left knee up towards your belly.
Step 2: Reach inside the left thigh with your left arm and clasp on your big toe between the thumb and the index and middle fingers. Firm the front thigh muscles of the standing leg so that they are engaged.
Step 3: extend the left leg forward straightening the knee as much as possible without letting go of the toe. If you are not steady you could end the pose here. You can also tie a strap under the sole of your feet and hold it if you are unable to hold on to your toe.
Step 4: Swing your leg to the side while still holding on your toe. Put your right arm on your waist akimbo. Hold the position for a set time and repeat with the other leg.
For beginners, if you are not able to reach your toe, you can use a strap underneath your foot to make it easy for you to reach and do the pose. You can also do it with a bent knee. Grab the toe but do not straighten the leg out straight but keep it bent so that it is easy to reach while maintaining form everywhere else.
You can also perform the asana while standing close to a wall. Use the wall for support instead of putting your arm akimbo place it on the wall to keep balance.
Supta padangusthasana, supta virasana, uttanasana
Follow Up Poses
Uttanasana, adho mukha svanasana, bhujangasana
Stretches and strengthens the legs
Stretches and strengthens the ankles
Stretches the back of the legs
Stretches the hips, adductors and arm muscles
Improves posture and sense of balance
Forward or to the side
The pose can be performed with the help of a wall. To do this lift up your foot and instead of holding your toe place the foot against the wall for support. Lift your foot to the level where it is parallel to the floor or the level where you are comfortable.
You can also perform the pose while the foot is in front of you rather when to the side. This will give you practice to gain the balance that you need to be able to perform the pose with the foot to the side.
Standing pose, stretch pose, balance
For beginners, a strap can be used on the leg to enhance your reach. You could also get support by leaning against a wall.
You can also support the raised leg on the edge of a chair which is padded with a blanket for comfort. This can enable you to hold the pose for a long time.