Padangusthasana, Big Toe Pose

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Genevieve Oswald in Padangusthasana – Photo credit Zoe Zimmerman, Sundara Studios* 2013

Many associate yoga with being able to easily touch one’s toes. It is a common misconception, however it is not all yoga is. That being said, it is a nice place to visit.

The form of a standing forward fold known as Uttanasana grows in degrees of depth. After learning the basic standing forward fold is an invitation to move into Padangusthasana, Big Toe Pose, named such because of the positioning of the hands.

Begin standing with your ankles in line with your hip sockets, and all ten toes pointing forward. Exhale to bend forward at the hip joints, hands resting upon your outer hips as you bow. Create a hook with your first two fingers and thumb and wrap the hook around your big toes. If you are not at the stage in your yoga practice where you can comfortably touch the floor with straight legs, do not be dismayed; rather, bend your knees enough to get your hands to your feet.

Inhale to extend your spine and gaze forward drawing your inner and outer hips back, creating a long spine. Pull upward on your big toes, while pressing down into them; this will draw your shoulder blades in toward each other on your back. Exhale to bow forward, continuing to pull on your toes, bending your elbows and pressing them away from each other, keeping your shoulders drawing in.

Breathe. Stay as long as you like. Exhale to release your big toes and inhale to rise, or step back to downward dog.

Whether you began with long hamstrings or not, you can rest easy knowing that the cumulative effect of doing this asana will, over time, bring more ease and enjoyment to the experience of touching your toes.