A 360º overview of... Standing Big-Toe Hold Pose (Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana) With Dr Kiki Morriss In Standing Big-Toe Hold pose, you balance on one leg whilst stretching the back of your raised leg. To keep your body in an upright position, extend your back slightly. This will counterbalance the action of reaching forward to hold…

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A 360º overview of...

Standing Big-Toe Hold Pose (Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana)

With Dr Kiki Morriss

In Standing Big-Toe Hold pose, you balance on one leg whilst stretching the back of your raised leg. To keep your body in an upright position, extend your back slightly. This will counterbalance the action of reaching forward to hold your foot and the tendency to lean forward due to the stretch on your hamstrings.
Focus initially on lifting your leg using your hip flexors, particularly your psoas muscle. Then use your raised hand and arm, as an addition, to lift your leg higher.
Observe your steady breath, as you develop strength, joy and discipline in this balancing pose.

The benefits of this pose:

  • Stretches your hamstrings, gastrocnemius and gluteus maximus.
  • Strengthens your hip flexors.
  • Improves your balance.
  • Focuses your mind.
  • Increases your confidence.

Contraindications:

  • Do not practice this pose if you have a leg or back injury.

Variations:

  • Rest your free hand on a wall, bend the knee of your raised leg and hold it in the air without supporting it with your hand. Be aware of how you are using your hip flexors in this position.
  • Place a strap around your raised foot and work towards straightening your leg.
  • Come into the pose. Move your lifted leg out to the side, reach your free arm in the opposite direction and look along your free arm.
  • Come into the pose. Bend your upper body towards your lifted leg.
  • Come into the pose. Release your big toe and hold your lifted leg as high as possible.

MOVING INTO THE POSE

  • Begin in Mountain Pose (Tadasana).
  • Place your left hand on your hip.
  • Bend your right knee to your chest and hook the first and middle fingers of your right hand around your big toe.
  • Stand tall and begin to straighten and lift your right leg in front of you by actively using your hip flexors.
  • Take five steady breaths. Then repeat on the other side.
36.1

FOCUS ON YOUR STANDING LEG

  • Straighten your knee using your quadriceps.
  • Avoid hyperextending or locking your knee.
  • Contract your gluteus maximus to stabilise your pelvis.

FOCUS ON YOUR LIFTED LEG

  • Contract your psoas to flex your hip.
  • Straighten your knee using your quadriceps.
  • Stretch the hamstrings at the back of your upper leg and the gastrocnemius at the back of your lower leg.

FOCUS ON YOUR RAISED ARM

  • Flex the shoulder of your raised arm.

FOCUS ON YOUR BACK

  • Notice if you are leaning forward due to the pull of the hamstrings of the lifted leg.
  • To avoid this, slightly extend your back by activating your erector spinae (deep back muscles) and by engaging your gluteus maximus and quadratus lumborum.
  • This action will help to lift your foot higher and will increase the stretch at the back of your raised leg.
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36.2

FOCUS YOUR GAZE

  • Your focal point (dristi) is at a fixed point straight ahead of you. When you are very balanced, try closing your eyes to improve your proprioception.

CREATE YOUR FOUNDATION

  • Spread your weight evenly across the sole of your standing foot.
  • If you need help balancing in the pose you can bend your standing knee to lower your centre of gravity.
  • Alternatively place your free hand on a wall to stabilise yourself.
  • As your balance improves, practise away from the wall.

Doctor Kiki Morriss is a medical doctor, yoga teacher, yoga therapist and founder of Primrose Hill Yoga, where she teaches adults, children and families. Visit: primrosehillyoga.com or instagram.com/kikimorriss

A 360º overview of... Standing Big-Toe Hold Pose (Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana) With Dr Kiki Morriss In Standing Big-Toe Hold pose, you balance on one leg whilst stretching the back of your raised leg. To keep your body in an upright position, extend your back slightly. This will counterbalance the action of reaching forward to hold…

You are unauthorized to view this page.

A 360º overview of... Standing Big-Toe Hold Pose (Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana) With Dr Kiki Morriss In Standing Big-Toe Hold pose, you balance on one leg whilst stretching the back of your raised leg. To keep your body in an upright position, extend your back slightly. This will counterbalance the action of reaching forward to hold…

You are unauthorized to view this page.