The Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana, also known as Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose, is a challenging and invigorating pose that improves physical, mental balance, and involves the deep stretch of the hamstrings, hips, arms, and shoulders.
The Sanskrit name for Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose, “Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana”, comes from combination of five words.
- “Utthita” = “extended”
- “Hasta” = “hand”
- “Pada” = “foot”
- “Angustha” = “big toe”
- “Asana” = “pose or posture”
As you might guess, the Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana (Extended Hand to Big Toe) plays a major role in this yoga pose! Keep reading to learn more about this pose.
|Also known as:||Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose, Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana, Standing Extended Leg Stretch Pose, Stand Bend Balance, Standing Big Toe Hold Pose|
|Sanskrit name:||उत्थित हस्त पादाङ्गुष्ठासन|
|IAST:||Utthita Hasta Pādāṅguṣṭhāsana|
|Pronunciation:||oo-TEET-uh HAWS-tuh POD-ung-goos-THAWS-un-nuh|
|Total time:||30 to 60 seconds|
Up the leg, at the big toe;
Over the shoulder of the standing leg
|Chakra:||Swadisthana Chakra, Muladhara Chakra|
|Focus:||Ankles, arches, calves, and thighs|
|Counterposes:||Tadasana, Supta virasana, Uttanasana, Natarajasana|
|Preparatory poses:||Supta padangusthasana, Anjaneyasana, Ardha hanumanasana|
|Follow-up poses:||Parivrtta hasta padangusthasana, Hanumanasana, Adho mukha svanasana|
|Indications:||Calm mind, improve balance, improve focus, hamstrings|
|Contraindications:||Vertigo, Hernia, Knee, or ankle, or hip injury (keep knee into chest), low back injury|
Benefits of Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana (Extended Hand to Big Toe)
This yoga pose challenges and improves your sense of balance, however following are the physical and mental benefits of Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana (Extended Hand to Big Toe):
- Physical Benefits:
- Strengthens the arches, ankles, calves, and thighs
- Improves balance
- Lengthens the spine
- Stretches the hamstrings
- Mental Benefits:
- Cultivates poise
- Stimulates the mind
- Builds focus
- Develops willpower
Step by step Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana (Extended Hand to Big Toe)
- To start, stand in Mountain Pose (Tadasana). Spread the toes and root down into the floor through all four corners of the feet. Inhale and draw muscularly from the feet up into the core of the pelvis. Bend the right leg, bring the arm to the inside of your leg, and grasp the big toe with the first two fingers of the right hand. Root the tailbone down and extend from the pelvis down through your left foot into the floor. Draw the top of the left thigh back until the left hip joint is directly over your ankle. Place the left hand on your hip.
- Lower the right hip to bring your hip bones level. Maintain steadiness in the legs and torso. Exhale and stretch the right leg straight and parallel with the floor. Lengthen from the waistline up through your armpits and take your shoulders back, curling the shoulder blades more onto your back, behind your heart. Press forward through the right foot and pull back with your right hand. Use the resistance this action creates to square the shoulders. Draw muscularly from the right foot back into the core of the pelvis and level the hips.
- Externally spiral (rotate) the right leg and descend the right hip. Exhale and take the right leg out to the right and press the ball of the big toe away from the torso against the resistance of your fingers. Draw the shoulder blades more onto your back. Root the tailbone down and extend from the low belly up through the crown of your head.
- Extend the left arm out, parallel with the floor, with your palm facing down. Turn the gaze to the left. Hold for a 30-60 seconds. Release and repeat the process on the other side.
Modifying Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana (Extended Hand to Big Toe)
Modify the this yoga pose with the help of a few props to make it easier:
1. Yoga strap
Use a yoga strap under your feet when lifting it. Use your hand to move the leg forward and side-wise. Using the strap makes it easier to hold the posture for a longer period of time.
2. Using a chair
Before starting the pose, place a chair in front of you. Keep it at a distance equal to the length of your outstretched leg. Now, after extending the leg, fasten it to the top of the chair.
3. Both chair and strap
Combining both the chair and the strap will also make this pose easier.
1. With bent knees
Do not move the leg forward, instead, bend and hold the big toe from the knee.
2. Thigh variation
- Follow the same steps as the genesis hand Padganthasan while leaving the part of the big toe to catch.
- Just hug the palms with the palms, lift them up and spread them out.
- Interlock the fingers under the thigh.
3. Pointing big toe up
- After maintaining the stretch, extend the foot towards the ceiling with the big foot facing.
- To maintain balance, raise the other hand as well.
4. Stretch without hands
- Follow all the steps of this yoga pose by placing your hands at the waist.
- Try to lift the leg towards the ceiling.
As a Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana (Extended Hand to Big Toe), the balancing pose is high, requiring a steady body as well as a lot of breath. Therefore, while adding this yoga pose in any yoga session, the individual should keep following things in mind.
1. Understand the movement of the body
Although this is not a contraindication, this yoga posture should not be attempted without first supporting or guiding, keeping in mind the difference in body composition of each one. In this yoga posture the muscles get a tremendous stretch and if it goes wrong with the alignment, the muscles can get injured.
2. Hip injuries, muscles in legs
While this yoga pose is good for improving blood circulation in the legs and giving the whole leg a toned look, injuries on the hamstrings, quadriceps and calves can only add more damage. Therefore, take precautions while practicing this yoga pose even with an injury to the hips.
3. Low blood pressure
The body needs to balance well and the chest muscles are used to do this. For this, it is important that the individual has knowledge about breaths, so that the core muscles can also be used. If one is suffering from low blood pressure, there is a greater tendency to breathe or tighten the chest muscles, leading to dizziness and headache. And so as Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana (Extended Hand to Big Toe) is a balancing pose, it is best to avoid suffering from low pressure.