Ubhaya Padangusthasana (Both Big Toe Pose) stretches the entire body, especially the calves and thighs, while activating the liver and kidneys.
If you love working on improving the core strength and mastering balance, then you’re going to love this yoga pose, where you clench the big toes. In addition to toning the abs and back muscles, it activates internal organs, builds strength in the hip flexors as well as increases flexibility in the back of the legs, and improves the sense of balance.
The Ubhaya Padangusthasana (Both Big Toe Pose) can also help improve digestion. For women, this yoga pose can help relieve menopausal symptoms and can help any headache sufferer or insomniacs.
|Known as:||Ubhaya Padangusthasana, Both Big Toe Pose, V Pose, Double Toe Hold, Dronasana, Balancing Stick Pose|
|Sanskrit name:||उभय पादाङ्गुष्ठासन|
|Type:||Seated, Forward-bend, Balancing Posture|
|Total time:||20 to 60 seconds|
At big toes/feet (Padayoragrai or Padayoragre)
|Focus:||Hip Flexors, hamstrings, abdominal|
|Indications:||Nervous system, liver, kidneys, digestion, circulation, energizes thyroid, prostate|
|Preparatory poses:||Surya namaskar, Virabhadrasana I, Prasarita Padottanasana, Baddha Konasana, Boat Pose|
|Follow-up poses:||Paschimottanasana, Utkatasana, Adho Mukha Svanasana|
|Contraindications:||Menstruation, pregnancy, low back, hips, arms, shoulders, or neck injury, asthma, low blood pressure, headache, diarrhea, insomnia|
Ubhaya Padangusthasana is derived from the Sanskrit name, which is made up of four words – Ubhaya + Pada + Angustha + Asana:
- “Ubhaya” = “both or double”
- “Pada” = “foot”
- “Angustha” = “thumb or big toe”
- “Asana” = “pose or posture”
Benefits of Ubhaya Padangusthasana (Both Big Toe Pose)
The Ubhaya Padangusthasana (Both Big Toe Pose) helps in balance and poise. There is a complete stretch in the legs, due to which the thighs and calves are made shapely. The benefits are similar to Navasana (Boat Pose), and moreover this pose prevents hernia and gives relief from severe back pain.
However, the additional physical and mental benefits derived from this yoga pose are listed below:
- Physical Benefits:
- Stretches the spine, legs, hips, shoulders, and arms
- Opens the chest, shoulder, and throat
- Strengthens the legs, hips, groin, abdomen, and arms
- Tones and strengthens the core
- Improves balance, digestion, and circulation
- Lengthens the spine and neck
- Improves posture
- Mental Benefits:
Ubhaya Padangusthasana (Both Big Toe Pose) Practice Guide
Ubhaya Padangusthasana (Both Big Toe Pose) engages many muscles similar to Navasana (Boat Pose). It also engages your upper and lower extremities, connecting your shoulder girdle through your torso to your pelvic girdle.
Lifting the arms or bending the elbows emphasizes flexing your hips and extending your knees. This creates more stretch in the back of your legs, which is the focus of this story.
Grip on your big toes is an essential component, in which your big toes flex against your fingers and thumb to form a lock.
The pose is a balancing pose, which means you can apply the principles of physics to stabilize your posture. For example, if you start to fall back, simply bend your knees to restore balance by lowering your center of gravity.
Improve Equilibrium and Straighten of the Knees Before Do Ubhaya Padangusthasana (Both Big Toe Pose)
- Tie your hands and feet with a belt.
- Keeping your feet together, bend your knees and allow them to fall outward to feel balance on your tailbone (coccyx) and ischial tuberosities.
- Do this a few times, holding for 5 to 10 seconds (no more).
- Take several moments of rest in between to give your unconscious brain the opportunity to build the circuitry to balance more efficiently.
- Note that bending your knees lowers the center of gravity for a more stable posture. Also note how your balance improves with each successive repetition.
- When you’re ready, follow the instructions of the pose.
Instructions to Ubhaya Padangusthasana (Both Big Toe Pose)
- Sit on the floor with your legs extended straight out in front of you.
- Flex your knees and bring your feet closer to the buttocks.
- Grab your toes with your hands, exhale and raise your legs in the air, straighten them at your knees, draw your knees in toward your thighs and balance on your buttocks, keeping your spine as concave as possible.
- In the beginning, you may roll backwards onto the floor, and it takes some time and practice to learn to balance on your buttocks alone.
- Stay in this posture for 30 to 60 seconds with normal breathing.
- To come out of the pose, inhale, release your hands, bend your legs, rest them on the floor and relax.
- After you have achieved balance, release your toes and clench your heels.
- When it becomes easier, interlock your fingers behind your extended legs and balance.
- Then without disturbing the position of your legs, move your head and torso to them, raise your neck and, while exhaling, rest your forehead on your knees.
- Now spread your legs to the fullest extent and to the spine, and stay in this posture for about 30 seconds with normal breathing.
Step-by-Step Anatomy Engaging Techniques
- Engage your abs to flex your trunk. It creates a reciprocal inhibition of your deep back muscles that are stretching, including your erector spinae and quadratus lumborum.
- Activate your psoas and pectineus to flex your femur. The hint for this is to sit with your knees bent, place your hands on the front of your thighs and try to pull your thighs towards your chest.
- Your psoas major is neurologically attached to your quadratus lumborum, and together they stabilize your lumbar spine.
Contract your quadriceps to extend your knees. Your tensor fascia lata will flex and internally rotate your hips along with this action. Also pay attention to the gluteus minimus below your tensor fascia lata. In a flexed-hip position, this muscle coordinates your both internal rotation and hip flexion.
Squeeze your knees together with your adductor group. Balance this action by engaging your tensor fascia lata and gluteus minimus, as in explained Step-2. The hint for this is to try to separate your legs while keeping your feet together, internally rotate your legs and bring your knees straight to a neutral position.
- Grab your toes and bend your forearm bones so that the folds of your elbows point upward. It helps to lock the grip of your hands.
- Bend your elbows while contracting your biceps and brachialis muscles. Notice how it draws your trunk toward your thighs and your legs toward your head.
- Engage your infraspinatus and teres minor muscles of your rotator cuff to externally rotate your shoulders.
- Firmly grasp your big toes and try to pull your hands up, as if raising your arms.
- Pull your elbows to the sides. It engages your anterior and lateral portions of your deltoid muscles.
- Your arms are not actually raised, but your trunk is drawn closer to your leg, feel how this action increases your stretch in the back of your legs.
Arch your back by engaging your erector spinae and quadratus lumborum. Note that, as your hands hold your legs, the back bend actually draws your thighs closer to your chest. Your quadratus lumborum also helps your psoas major to stabilize your lumbar spine. Activate your flexors hallucis longus and brevis to flex your big toe and hold by your fingers.
Precautions and contraindications
Strong abdominal muscles requires in the practice of Ubhaya Padangusthasana (Both Big Toe Pose) to help maintain balance on the sit bones while keeping the body strong and light. Along with these, the precautions and contraindications should also be kept in mind while practicing this balancing yoga posture.
The precautions and contraindications of this yoga pose are mentioned below:
Irrespective of the level of practice, you should not practice this yoga pose if you have injury to the hips, shoulders, neck, arms, lower back.
If one has undergone surgery, does not believe in balance posture, has weak bone structure, is new to yoga, does not have the strength of core muscles, then guidance should be taken by yoga Teacher/Instructor and in the practice of this yoga posture one should move at a slow pace.
Pregnant women should avoid practicing this yoga posture, as the right balance with the breathing process is required while holding this pose. It can be difficult if you try to hold your breath, as it may not be safe for the baby. Women who are menstruating or having an abortion should also avoid practicing this yoga pose, as the abdominal muscles are engaged to stay in position, affecting the pelvis. It is not advisable to contract the pelvic floor muscles during pregnancy or menstruation.
It is best to avoid practicing by one with blood pressure problems. Since the practice of Ubhaya Padangusthasana (Both Big Toe Pose) requires a stable body with strong core muscles and breath coordination, it can be a challenge for individuals suffering from blood pressure to maintain this posture for a long period of time. The tendency to hold the breath or to manage the process of breathing during the practice can be difficult if you are suffering from blood pressure.
Migraine, hernia, piles, IBS, and slipped disc diseases
People suffering from migraine, hernia, piles, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), slipped disc and other diseases should avoid the practice of this yoga posture as this yoga pose puts pressure on the abdominal muscles which may not be safe for the above diseases.