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3 Ways to Modify Extended Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose

Modify Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana 
if needed to find safe alignment in your body.

Modify Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana if needed to find safe alignment in your body. 

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana is an intermediate standing balancing pose. If you find this pose difficult, you are in good company. If you fall out of the pose, do not give up, as falling is part of the process. Take a few steady breaths in Tadasana. Stand tall. Stand strong. Refocus and try again. Know that you are getting stronger each time. Let the pose become your teacher, and you will gain strength, focus, confidence, and poise. Take the lessons of this pose off the mat and into your life in every instance in which you face challenging circumstances, and need to simultaneously be steady, strong, and sensitive. Despite your best efforts, you will “fall out of poses” in life, too, and that’s OK. That’s why we call it yoga practice: Your practice on the mat is training you for your practice off the mat.

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If your hips or hamstrings are tight …

Standing hand to big toe pose modification

Try using a strap.

Try using a strap around the ball of the foot. When your hips or hamstrings are tight, you’re unable to straighten both legs while holding the big toe and keeping your torso lifted. The strap extends the length of your arm so you don’t have to lift the leg as high, while still developing greater flexibility in the pose. Make a small loop with the strap and hold the loop in your right hand as you stand in Tadasana. As you turn your right leg to the right and bend your knee, put the loop around the ball of your right foot.

See also3 Ways to Modify Camel Pose (Ustrasana)

If your hips or hamstrings 
are tight and you don’t 
have a strap …

Standing hand to big toe pose modification

Try practicing with a bent knee.

Try practicing the pose with your knee bent: Follow steps 1 through 3 to the point of holding your big toe with the first two fingers of your hand. Keep your knee bent as much as you need to while moving the leg to the side, stabilizing your pelvis and lifting your torso evenly without leaning forward or to either side.

See also3 Ways to Modify Fish Pose for Joy + Contentment

If you’re struggling to balance and keep falling out 
of the pose …

Standing hand to big toe pose modification

Try using a wall.

Try using a wall for balance. Stand with your left side toward the wall about an arm’s length away. Put your left hand on the wall, and follow all the instructional steps. As you move into the pose, your arm will bend slightly. Avoid leaning heavily on the wall. If you start to feel stable, try to bring your hand off the wall and balance, reaching back for support as needed.

See alsoModify Sleeping Pigeon Pose to Balance Body + Mind

About Our Pro

Standing hand to big toe pose, noah maze

Teacher and model Noah Mazé founded Noah Mazé Yoga in 2003; in 2012, he founded his Los Angeles–based YOGAMAZÉ yoga school, which offers online and in-person teacher trainings. His curriculum combines detailed alignment with vinyasa theory. He began practicing yoga at age 14, studying with Richard Freeman, Pattabhi Jois, John Friend, and Manouso Manos, and he continues to study with teachers of all yoga styles and traditions. Learn more at yogamaze.net.