Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana: Extended Hand to Toe Pose
Utthita hasta padangusthasana (oo-TEET-uh HAWS-tuh POD-ung-goos-THAWS-un-nuh), also known as extended hand-to-toe pose, is a challenging and invigorating posture that stretches and strengthens while calming the mind and improving focus.
- Start standing with your hands on your hips. Draw your left knee in towards your belly and interlace your fingertips in front of your shin. Level your hips so they are equidistant from the ground. Pause here for a breath.
- Reach your left hand on the inside of your left knee and take hold of your big toe with your first and second fingers. Stay here, or lengthen your spine and extend your foot forward any amount.
- Hold for 3-5 breaths and release back to standing. Repeat on the other side.
- For help with balance, try this pose with your free hand against a wall.
- Keep the knee on your extended leg bent, or wrap a strap around your foot and take hold of the strap.
- Option to extend your foot out to the side, and opposite arm out to the other side. Keep your shoulders level and relaxed away from the ears.
- Utthita = extended
- Hasta = hand
- Pada = foot
- Angustha = big toe
- Asana = pose
- Stretches hamstrings and hips.
- Stretches the inner leg line (adductors).
- Strengthens the back and arm muscles.
- Improves sense of balance.
- Calms the mind and improves focus.
- Reclined hand to toe pose | Supta padangusthasana
- Monkey lunge | Anjanayasana
- Half splits | Ardha hanumanasana
- Dancing Shiva pose | Parivrtta hasta padagusthasana
- Front splits | Hanumanasana
- Downward-facing dog | Adho mukha svanasana
Phalakasana: Plank Pose
Phalakasana (fall-ack-AHS-anna), is an essential posture for a strong yoga practice. Holding plank pose will improve your endurance and muscle tone, help develop the strength needed for more complex poses, and generate heat and stimulating the navel chakra.
Philosophy + Origin
Hidden in the pose’s name is the Sanskrit word “phala,” which means to bear fruit or ripen. In yoga, the idea of tapas, often translated as “heat,” “passion,” or “discipline,” fuels the physical asana practice, encouraging students to seek out the challenge again and again in order to become stronger, to build an internal flame in the body that fuels every aspect of life. When you think of plank pose as an opportunity to “ripen” or “bear fruit,” you become aware of the transformative effect of this seemingly simple (although challenging) pose. Each time you enter the pose, use the breath to ripen the fruit of your labors. The ability to hold this pose with steadiness and grace is known to create major shifts in your practice and your life.