YogaAndBackCare - Utthita Hasta Padangustha

Utthita Hasta Padangustha

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana Extended Hand to Big Toe Posture. This works on balance and strengthens the leg muscles but it also works on the lower abdomen muscles if you build the posture up in manageable blocks.

If you are able to hold your foot and ideally your big toe like Gemma is, then all you do is straighten the leg out in front of you while balancing on the other. The aim is to bring the leg up so your foot is level with your head.

When you feel that is very easy, you can try to do a forward bend bringing your body against the thigh of the lifted leg.

OK let's look at doing this posture in stages.

Firstly just to be able to balance on one leg is good while the other leg is lifted. You can start by using a belt which you place underneath the foot and then you hold the ends of the belt and pull to lift your leg upwards. There is a hamstring stretch in this posture, so right from the start make sure your extended leg is straight and that the foot is pointing upwards.

Once you feel happy with lifting your leg up using a belt, try and lift it without a belt. This demands good control from the lower abdomen muscles.

I teach this in two stages:-

1. Lift your leg up as high as you can. ( Usually the student's foot is below the knee level of the other foot )

2. Bend your knee towards your chest and then straighten your leg out. ( This usually brings the student's foot level or even above the knee level of the other foot. If you look on this site I have shown this posture twice just added asana to the name of the posture and it is worth looking at the other description as well to see the alternative steps.

Once you start holding onto your big toe, you change the demands on your body and the posture becomes easier. However if you want the core control that everybody should have, do practise the lifting your leg up without helping it in any way before you move into the final asana.

The perfect posture will have the extended leg straight, no bended knee! and the supporting foot straight and then if there is a forward bend to lie the trunk against the thigh, this is done with an extended spine.

Iyengar merely tells us that this posture makes the leg muscles powerful and the balance gives the student steadiness and poise.

It is a posture that he includes early in his book. It is challenging but well worth doing regularly.

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