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Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana or Extended Hand-to-Big Toe Pose

Benefits, Contraindications, Tips and How to Do

utthita hasta padangusthasana
English Name(s)
Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose
Sanskrit
उत्थित हस्त पादंगुष्ठासन / Utthita Hasta Pādānguṣṭhāsana
Pronunciation
oo-tee-tah ha-stah PAH-DAHN-goos-TAH-sah-nah
Meaning
Utthita: Stretched
Hasta: Hand
Pada: Leg
Angustha: Big Toe
Asana: Pose

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana at a Glance

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana means, stretching of one leg by holding the toe with one hand. This is the standing balance pose, with one leg extended from the hip. Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana is the base pose for the variation of this asana and it also can be included in the flow yoga sequences.

Benefits:

  • It helps to improve your balance.
  • It improves the flexibility of your hip joint.
  • It helps to boost the energy in your body.
  • It helps to improve your focus and concentration.

Who can do it?

People already practicing yoga can do this asana. Beginners with a normal level of flexibility can do it under the guidance of an experienced yoga trainer. People who want to improve their balance, focus, and concentration can do this asana.

Who should not do it?

Individuals with, hip, knee, ankle, or back injuries should avoid doing this pose. People who had any recent surgery should avoid doing this asana. Pregnant women should avoid doing this asana. People with severe back issues should avoid doing it.

How to Do Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana?
Follow the Step-by-Step Procedure

Regular yoga practice of the Extended Hand to big toe pose, can enhance your mind and body balance.

1. Start the asana by standing in the Tadasana pose, keeping your body erect, your neck and back in one line and your arms beside your body.

2. Take some deep breaths to energize your body and be relaxed by keeping your legs together.

3. To start with, you can do it with your right leg first, so let your left leg be steady and grounded as the whole weight will be on the left leg (left foot).

4. Firm your left hip in lengthen your spine and avoid locking your left knee (standing foot).

5. Inhale deeply, bend your right leg from the knee flex your foot, and bring your knee closer to your chest.

6. Now exhale and grasp the big toe of the right leg, with your right hand (first 2 fingers and the thumb).

7. Now after you hold your tow, just be in this position keep breathing gently check the alignment and the balance of the grounded leg, and engage your quadriceps, so that your hip, knee, and ankle are in one line.

8. Now inhale and when you exhale, gently start to extend your right leg (extended leg), by holding the big toe.

9. Gaze straight at a particular point (steady point) and keep breathing, keep the left leg straight, and see that it’s steady and strong.

10. Now keep your core engaged and flex your right foot, pushing your heel forward. Keep a check that the lifted arm is straight and your lifted foot is above the hip.

11. Your left hand should be on the hip to maintain balance and stability.

12. Hold the Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana pose for about 5 to 6 breaths or as per your comfort.

13. Now to release from the pose, inhale and bend your right leg, release your arms and bring your legs down to the ground, and balance on both legs.

14. Relax and stretch, coordinating with your breath and with the other leg (left leg) and balancing on the right leg.

What are the Benefits of Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana?

  • Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana pose helps to strengthen your, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calf muscles of the standing leg.
  • This pose helps to improve the balance with one leg, which enhances the ability to keep a balance between your work and personal life.
  • Regular practice of this pose can help to improve the flexibility of the hamstring, groin, and hip area.
  • The lifting position of one leg engages the core muscles and stimulates to improvement of the functions of the abdominal organs.
  • While doing the Extended Hand-to big toe pose, you need to focus and concentrate, which can help to calm your mental and physical state.
  • Practicing this pose can help to increase your self-awareness and encourage mindfulness.

Health Conditions that Might Benefit from Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana

  • If you practice this pose regularly this helps to improve your balance and stability.
  • Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana is a great pose to release hamstring tension while improving posture and toning the muscles of the leg, hips, and abdomen.
  • It can help build confidence and empowerment, improve posture, and counteract the effects of prolonged sitting and doing computer work.
  • This can be beneficial for people who are looking to strengthen their abdominal muscles.
  • This pose can be helpful to reduce your mild stress and anxiety levels as the Extended Hand-to big toe pose, helps to calm your body and mind.
  • The Extended Hand-to big toe pose can be helpful to people leading a sedentary lifestyle, if added to their routine, for their lower back and hips.
  • Regular practice improves self-awareness and can help to enhance your body posture.

Safety and Precautions

  • Regular practice can help you with many benefits but you need to consider the safety concerns while doing this asana.
  • People with any recent injuries, in their hip, back, or ankle should avoid doing this pose.
  • Individuals with severe back pain or herniated discs should avoid doing this pose.
  • If you have tight hamstrings, keep the lifted knee bent instead of straightening the leg out.
  • Pregnant women in their later stages should avoid or do an easily modified pose, only under the guidance of the yoga trainer, to avoid any risks.
  • People with high blood pressure, should be careful while doing this pose.

Common Mistakes

  • Don’t try to over-arch your lower back.
  • Avoid locking your standing knee (left knee), you can keep a micro bend.
  • Avoid rounding your shoulders while lifting your leg.
  • Keep a check on the standing leg.
  • Avoid looking up while you hold the pose.
  • Warmup is very important to loosen your muscles.
  • Avoid holding your breath, this could worsen the position. 
  • Avoid any distractions and focus on the pose.

Tips for Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana

  • Keep breathing as your guide to do this Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana pose and keep breathing till you are in the pose.
  • Always maintain the alignment and keep a check over it.
  • If you think this is a bit challenging, modify or use props to support yourself and to get to the pose.
  • Practice regularly and progress gradually with ease.
  • Do it on an empty stomach, in the mornings, or 4 to 5 hours after the meal.
  • Use a wall as a support to balance and practice initially.
  • While you hold the pose, gaze at a steady point.
  • Engage your core muscles, to maintain Balance and stability.
  • Beginners should do it under the guidance of the yoga trainer.
  • Keep your spine straight, and relax your shoulders.
  • Do some preparatory poses, like Preparatory Poses, Virabhadrasana I, Tadasana, or Supta Padangusthasana I.

Physical Alignment Principles for Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana

  • Standing in the Tadasana pose, grounded on both feet and your back and neck in one line.
  • Lengthen your spine and arms beside your body, and breathe deeply to relax and energize your body.
  • Your arms help to raise the foot, by grasping your toes, and the adjacent arm is placed on the hips.
  • Hold the toe, with your 1st two fingers and thumb.
  • On an exhalation, bring the weight on your left foot and lift your right knee up.
  • Standing feet, grounded to the earth, toes pointing in front and rooted on all 3 corners.
  • Micro bend in the standing leg knee, to prevent hypertension.
  • Legs are raised straight and toes pointing up.
  • Your raised foot (lifted leg) should be above the hip.
  • Your navel is active and pulled toward your spine.
  • Keep your spine straight and lengthened.
  • Your chest is pushed up and forward.
  • Keep your core muscles engaged.
  • Your crown of the head is extended up and gaze straight at a particular point.
  • Shoulder blades, drawn back and down to open the chest.
  • Keep breathing and keep a check on your alignment.
  • You are unique so if you need support don’t hesitate to use props to support the pose initially.

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana and Breath

Breathing is an important part of all the yoga poses and so is for pose Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana. The breath will enhance the pose and provide more balance and stability. Keep breathing throughout the pose and don’t try to hold your breath as this may lead to tension. Breathe deeply and coordinate your breath with the movement.

Inhale deeply and lift your leg bend your knee and bring toward your chest. Now exhale when you, extend your leg in the front by holding the toe with your hands. Exhale and engage your core muscles to balance and stabilize your body and mind. Keep your breath flowing. When you release, inhale, and release your legs and arms and feel the sensations in your body relax with a few breaths and do it on the other side with your breath movement to balance the energy.

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana and Variations

  • Variation with the bent knee, instead of stretching the leg in front, just hold the big toe and keep the leg bent.
  • Standing hand to big toe pose, bringing your leg to your right or the left side, by holding the toe.
  • Revolved hand to big toe pose, holding the toe with the opposite hands and giving a twist to the body, towards the raised leg.
  • Stretch your legs without the hands and try raising your legs toward the ceiling.
  • You can use props like, a yoga strap and chair for support.
  • To extend this pose for a longer period, use a wall as a prop. Press your raised heel firmly into the wall, keeping your leg active.
  • You can try the pose, by lying down in the Reclined Big Toe pose which is Supta Padangusthasana.

The Bottom Line

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana pose is one of the intermediate to Advanced level balancing postures. This is a balancing posture on one leg lifting the other leg and holding with one hand. This requires a lot of focus and concentration to do this pose and keep it stabilized and balanced. Regular practice of this asana can help to improve your level of focus, balance, and stability in your life. Coordinate this asana with the breath and keep it flowing, by engaging your core muscles.

Beginners can initially do it under the guidance of a yoga teacher. For any health concerns, consult your health care professional. This pose will strengthen your lower body muscles. It also increases your self-awareness. You can do it according to your flexibility level by opting any variation and progress gradually to achieve the final version.

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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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