Standing Big Toe Pose - Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana

How to Do Utthita Hasta Padangustasana
Utthita Hasta Padangustasana. Ann Pizer

Type of Pose: Standing, Balancing

Benefits: Improves leg strength, core strength, and balance, stretches the hamstrings


1. From mountain pose, shift your weight over to your right foot.

2. Bend the left knee, bringing the left foot off the floor.

Hug your left knee into your chest

3. Bring your left hand inside your left thigh in order to grab your left big toe in a yogi toe lock.

4. Straighten your left leg out on front of you as much as possible.

Keep both hips squared to the front of the room. Flex your left foot.

5. Try to keep the spine straight, the shoulders sliding away from your ears, and your left arm in the shoulder socket.

6. Release the left foot and repeat the pose on the other side.

Beginners' Tips:

1. If you can't comfortably straighten your left leg and keep your arm plugged into its socket at the same time, use a yoga strap around the instep of the left foot. Hold the strap in your left hand and then straighten the leg.

2. Try bending your left leg and holding onto your knee instead. Keep your left foot flexed.

3. If your balance is compromising your hamstrings stretch, try the reclined version of this pose, supta padangustasana. It's also a great prep pose for the standing version. 

Advanced Tips:

1. Try coming into the pose from uttanasana. Grasp your left toe while you are in the forward bending position. Come all the way up to stand while keeping ahold of the toe.

Your left leg stays as straight as possible the whole time. You can bend your standing leg a little if necessary as you come to stand. Straighten it once you get upright. 

2. Once you are up, there are a few balancing variations you can try. First, forward bend your torso over the left leg, keeping a flat back the whole time.

3. Open the left leg out to the left side. Keep both hips squared to the front.

4. You can also try switching your grip on your left toe from your left hand to your right hand. The left leg stays straight in front of your as you twist your torso to the left and extend your left hand to the back of the room.

5. When coming out of the pose, release your grip on your toe and try to keep your lifted leg the same height without your hand for support. Hold for 5-10 breaths while concentrating on not leaning backward before releasing the leg.

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