Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana: Extended Hand to Toe Pose

HandtoToePose_NicoLuce

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.

STEP-BY-STEP

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Hold for 3-5 breaths and release back to standing. Repeat on the other side.

ADJUSTMENTS/MODIFICATIONS

  • 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.

SANSKRIT

  • Utthita = extended
  • Hasta = hand
  • Pada = foot
  • Angustha = big toe
  • Asana = pose

PHYSICAL BENEFITS

  • Stretches hamstrings and hips.
  • Stretches the inner leg line (adductors).
  • Strengthens the back and arm muscles.

ENERGETIC BENEFITS

  • Improves sense of balance.
  • Calms the mind and improves focus.

PREPARATORY POSES

SEQUENTIAL POSES

COUNTER POSES

 

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Ardha Uttanasana: Half Standing Forward Bend

ADJUSTMENTS    |     BENEFITS    |     SEQUENCING    |     SANSKRIT    |     STEPS

An effective stretch for your hamstrings and calves ardha uttanasana (ARE-dah OOT-tan-AHS-anna), is often used during vinyasa sequences to connect the breath as you flow from one posture to the next.

Philosophy + Origin

One of the reasons ardha uttanasana is used so much in vinyasa yoga classes is that it positions the body for chaturanga dandasana. Because it engages the navel and core, it’s a powerful pose for warming up the body, which is why it’s included in warm-up sequences. Despite its sometimes transitory nature, the pose also engages the navel chakra (manipura), which can bring the practitioner increased confidence and willpower.

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