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Big Toe Pose

Padangusthasana

padangustasana_1.jpg

Step by Step

Stand upright with your inner feet parallel and about six inches apart. Contract your front thigh muscles to lift your kneecaps. Keeping your legs completely straight, exhale and bend forward from your hip joints, moving your torso and head as one unit.

Slide the index and middle fingers of each hand between the big toes and the second toes. Then curl those fingers under and grip the big toes firmly, wrapping the thumbs around the other two fingers to secure the wrap. Press your toes down against your fingers. (If you can't reach your toes without overly rounding your back, pass a strap under the ball of each foot and hold the straps.)

With an inhalation, lift your torso as if you were going to stand up again, straightening your elbows. Lengthen your front torso, and on the next exhale, lift your sitting bones. Depending on your flexibility, your lower back will hollow to a greater or lesser degree. As you do this, release your hamstrings and hollow your lower belly (below your navel) as well, lightly lifting it toward the back of your pelvis.

Lift the top of your sternum as high as you can, but take care not to lift your head so far that you compress the back of your neck. Keep your forehead relaxed.

For the next few inhalations, lift your torso strongly as you continue to actively contract your front thighs; on each successive exhalation, strongly lift your sitting bones as you consciously relax your hamstrings. As you do this, deepen the hollow in your lower back.

Finally exhale, bend your elbows out to the sides, pull up on your toes, lengthen the front and sides of your torso, and gently lower into the forward bend.

If you have very long hamstrings, you can draw your forehead toward your shins. But if your hamstrings are short, it's better to focus on keeping the front torso long. Hunching into a forward bend isn't safe for your lower back and does nothing to lengthen your hamstrings.

Hold the final position for one minute. Then release your toes, bring your hands to your hips, and re-lengthen your front torso. With an inhale, swing your torso and head as a single unit back to upright..


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Reader Comments

yoga iove life

kissing gate

Deborah

Always fold forward from the HIPS not the waist in seated
and standing forward folds! Protect your lower back!Also when moving from Uttanasana to Mountain a slight bend
in knees is helpful to protect lower back and ALWAYS
strengthen the legs as you come up from forward standing
folds. Moving from Triangle to next standing posture you
should strengthen, firm up leg muscles or even bend the
front knee from Triangle to standing

Sam

Please add that this pose can trigger fainting or lightheadedness in those susceptible, as can many of the other forward bends. Thanks!

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