Standing (or Reclining) Big Toe Pose
Sanskrit: Utthita (or Supta) Hasta Padangusthasana
First Photo courtesy of Donald Anderson IV
Second Photo courtesy of yogajournal.com
Big Toe Pose, whether reclining or standing, is a fantastic pose to help open up our hips and inner thighs. You’ll also really strengthen your core, abdominals, legs and ankles. It’s a beautiful stretch for the legs! This balance pose as well as others will really allow you to get deep into your mind. Take this opportunity to remove those mind thoughts and just breathe. As you are totally in focus of what you are doing, as well as your breath, nothing else can enter. You can just be and enjoy. Give this one a shot and the more dedicated you are with this pose the better your balance will get and the less you will think those mind thoughts. They just get in the way anyway! 🙂
Directions on how to come into the pose:
Stand in Tadasana (Mountain) with your feet together, spine upright, open across your chest and relax your shoulders and lift out of the hips. Deepen your breath and focus your gaze on a still point ahead of you, this helps you to balance. Bring your right knee towards your chest and with your two peace fingers (index finger and middle finger) take hold of your right big toe or foot. You may also choose to, instead, use a strap and wrap around your foot. Your choice.
Elongate your posture, roll your shoulders back and open your chest. Pull the navel in towards the spine. Holding your left hand on your hip to start, extend your right leg out in front of you. This will really engage your core abdominal muscles. Utilize your core and your balancing leg to hold this pose. Straighten your left knee without locking it and stabilize your joints and posture. Ground into the earth with your balancing leg and reach tall, lifting to the sky.
Next, you may begin to open your right arm and foot out to your right side. Another option to challenge you in this pose is to stretch your left arm out shoulder height. Breathe. Stability, concentration and balance.
Focus on your breath. Use the power of your prana life force energy to maintain your center. Lift up in the posture, open your heart center. Hold for 3-7 deep breaths. Slowly release out and repeat on your left side. Come back to Mountain pose.
The modification for this pose is to do this with your back against a wall to start. And you can also take this pose to the floor and do a Reclining Big Toe pose as illustrated above. Enjoy!
When not to do this pose or to modify/Contraindications:
Avoid this pose if you suffer from a lower back, knee or ankle injury. Always listen to your body.
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