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Padangusthasana or Hand to Big Toe Pose

padangusthasana
English Name(s)
Hand to Big Toe Pose
Sanskrit
पादांगुष्ठासन / Padangusthasana
Pronunciation
Pah-dang-goos-TAH-suh-nuh
Meaning
Pada: Foot
Angustha: Big Toe
Asana: Pose

Padangusthasana at a Glance

Padangusthasana also known as the Big Toe Pose, is a standing, forward bend pose. This is a traditional Hatha yoga practice and is also included in the Ashtanga primary series. Padangusthasana is an intense variation pose of Uttanasana.

Benefits:

  • It helps to stretch your hamstrings and calf muscles.
  • It helps to strengthen your hips and legs.
  • It is good for your knee joints and strengthens your abdominal muscles.
  • It helps to strengthen and stretch your spine.
  • It can also help fix flat feet.

Who can do it?

People who are already doing yoga can do Padangusthasana. Individuals having a medium level of flexibility can do it. People with desk jobs can do this asana. Beginners can do it initially under the guidance of a yoga teacher.

Who should not do it?

People with severe back issues should avoid it. Pregnant women should avoid doing it. People with any injury, high blood pressure, or any medical conditions should avoid doing Padangusthasana. For any recent surgeries, avoid doing it.

How to Do Padangusthasana?
Follow the Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. This is a forward bend asana and can give you a soothing effect if done properly.
  2. Start this asana from the Tadasana (standing) pose. Stand in the Tadasana pose, keep your feet a little apart, keep your arms by your side, and breathe in and out deeply.
  3. Keep your back, right leg, and left leg straight in one line.
  4. Now inhale deeply and you can keep your hands on your side of the waist (for support).
  5. Now, when you exhale, bend your upper body, keeping your head and back in one line.
  6. Your head shouldn’t be falling and see that you bend from the hips.
  7. Now as you bend half the way, inhale and bring your hands down to your foot and bring your index finger and middle finger between the second toe and big toe of the right foot and left foot.
  8. Grasp the big toe firmly with those fingers and thumb and press your toe (of right and left foot) on the fingers.
  9. If you have tight hamstrings, you can slightly bend the knee.
  10. In this position, avoid rounding your shoulders and back.
  11. Now inhale and exhale, and move your elbows outward, bringing your head touching the knees.
  12. Hold the pose, keep breathing, and hold the pose for about 5 to 6 breaths or as much as possible.
  13. To release, inhale, and release your hands, inhale and come up slowly, keeping head and spine in one line, and come to the standing position.

What are the Benefits of Padangusthasana?

  • It strengthens your abdominal muscles.
  • It helps to stretch your back and strengthen it.
  • It also helps you with a better digestive system.
  • It strengthens your thighs, calf muscles, and hamstrings.
  • It helps to make your entire body flexible.
  • This stimulates and helps in better functioning of the reproductive system.
  • It also helps to strengthen and tone all the muscles engaged.

Health Conditions that Might Benefit from Padangusthasana

  • This pose can improve your joint movement and is helpful for arthritis.
  • This can be helpful to women suffering from PMS (postmenstrual syndrome).
  • This can help cure flat feet.
  • Regular practice of this asana can help with your digestive issues.
  • People with mild stress and anxiety issues can practice this asana to get relief as the blood flows to their head region.

Safety and Precautions

  • If you have any hip, lower back, or ankle issues, be careful while doing it.
  • Pregnant women should avoid it or modify it under the guidance of the prenatal yoga teacher.
  • People with high BP and Low BP should be careful while doing it.
  • For Any health concerns, consult your health care professional before you start on it.

Common Mistakes

  • Don’t overach your lower back, and keep your legs straight.
  • Avoid rounding your shoulders.
  • Engage your core and thigh (left thigh and right thigh) muscles.
  • Engage your breath and keep breathing.
  • Don’t avoid the alignment principles.
  • Don’t force your body to bend deeper if you can’t.

Tips for Padangusthasana

  • Do some warmups to loosen your muscles before doing the big toe pose.
  • If initially, you cannot reach your toes, you can use props to reach your toes.
  • Beginners can bend their knees (left knee and right knee) slightly to avoid pressure.
  • Use your breath to bend deeper.
  • Bending should be from your hips.
  • Your neck and back should be in one line.
  • Beginners should initially learn from a trained yoga teacher.

Physical Alignment Principles for Padangusthasana

  • Start with the Tadasana and keep the hip width and feet distance.
  • For bending forward, you can stretch your arms up or keep on your waist.
  • Your legs should be straight and keep your thigh and core muscles engaged.
  • When folding forward, bend from your hips (right and left hip evenly) and keep your back and head in one line.
  • Catch the big toe with the help of the index, middle finger, and thumb.
  • Keep a firm grip and keep the feet grounded.
  • Breathe in and exhale to get a deeper bend.
  • Bend, and you can touch your knees with your head, and your elbows should open and point outward.
  • Hold the Big toe pose for 5 to 7 breaths, keeping your back and head in one line, and avoid pushing your head to touch your knee.

Padangusthasana and Breath

Breath is the guide for this pose. Coordinate your breath with each movement. In the Tadasana position, inhale and exhale to ease yourself. Inhale, and while you exhale, bend forward, keeping your back straight, and catch hold of your big toe. Now, inhale and exhale to straighten your back and bend deeper. You should use your breath to extend your back and bend deeper to touch your knee with your head. As you reach this position, take a few breaths, feeling the pose and the stretch and the breath flowing with the energy into your body.

Padangusthasana and Variations

  • You can use props to reach the toe, like a yoga strap, or keep a yoga block below your head when you bend down.
  • You can also bend half the way and catch the shin.
  • You can bend half the way and keep your hands on the floor.

The Bottom Line

Padangusthasana is a stress-free asana if practiced regularly and benefits your entire body. Beginners can do it under the guidance of the yoga teacher. You can use props initially to support and gradually progress. Avoid forcing your body to get into the pose all of a sudden. If you have any injury, surgery, or any health concern, contact your healthcare provider for guidance.

Breath is the coordinator for this pose, as for all the yoga poses. So, keep breathing and let the energy flow to get the final pose and reap all the benefits. This could be very helpful to relieve your stress and anxiety and calm your body and mind.

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Meera Watts
Meera Watts is the owner and founder of Siddhi Yoga International. She is known worldwide for her thought leadership in the wellness industry and was recognized as a Top 20 International Yoga Blogger. Her writing on holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, CureJoy, FunTimesGuide, OMtimes and other international magazines. She got the Top 100 Entrepreneur of Singapore award in 2022. Meera is a yoga teacher and therapist, though now she focuses primarily on leading Siddhi Yoga International, blogging and spending time with her family in Singapore.

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