Parivrtta Hasta Padangusthasana: Revolved Hand to Big Toe Pose

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Parivrtta hasta padangusthasana (par-ee-VRIT-tah HAS-ta pod-ang-goosh-TAHS-anna) is a balancing posture that asks for flexibility. Use props and modifications to make this challenging posture accessible from right where you are.

Philosophy + Origin

While the name of this pose is straightforward, many yoga teachers call it dancing Shiva, which opens up a whole new perspective for understanding parivrtta hasta padangusthasana. Traditional depictions of Nataraj, or dancing Shiva, show the arms and legs moving fluidly across the body, which is how the shape of this posture earned it its nickname. Shiva’s dance is often referred to as a cosmic dance of bliss, showing the universal cycles of creation and destruction, birth and death. Practicing dancing Shiva is a recognition of these cycles, and improves the ability to find balance and peace in the midst of eternal change.

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ADJUSTMENTS/MODIFICATIONS:

  • Place a strap around your lifted foot to create more space.
  • Reach your back hand to a wall for extra support.
  • Keep your gaze forward or to the side to help with balance.
  • Keep your back hand on your hip for added stability.

STEP-BY-STEP:

  1. Begin standing at the top of your mat. Shift your weight into your right leg, pressing down through all four corners of the foot.
  2. Draw your left knee toward your chest. Loop your first and second finger of your right hand around your left big toe.
  3. Stand up tall. Lift your head up and drop your tailbone down.
  4. Place your left hand to your left hip, level your pelvis. Extend your left foot forward, pressing through your heel.
  5. Reach your right hand toward the back of your mat.
  6. Slowly start to move your gaze back towards your right hand.
  7. Hold this pose for 5-10 breaths before untwisting and slowly lowering the lifted leg down to the floor. Pause in standing for a few breaths before repeating on the other side.

PREPARATORY POSES:

SEQUENTIAL POSES:

COUNTER POSES:

SANSKRIT:

  • Parivrtta = revolved
  • Hasta = hand
  • Angustha = big toe
  • Asana = pose

PHYSICAL BENEFITS:

  • Strengthens and lengthens leg muscles.
  • Stretches deep gluteal muscles and outer hips.
  • Improves balance.

ENERGETIC BENEFITS:

  • Improves mental and emotional balance.
  • Boosts confidence.
  • Energizes and steadies the mind.


Uttanasana: Standing Forward Bend

standing forward fold share

ADJUSTMENTS    |     BENEFITS    |     SEQUENCING    |     SANSKRIT    |     STEPS

A soothing posture for body and mind, uttanasana (OOT-tan-AHS-ahna), or standing forward bend, is straightforward but far from simple. Requiring flexibility in hamstrings, hips, and calves, uttanasana also requires patience. Watch the ebbs and flows in your body and life reflected in this simple posture.

Philosophy + Origin

In uttanasana, knowing when to accept intensity and when to be content with where you are is key to steady progress without injury or frustration. It’s easy to try to push for more — with uttanasana, this means wanting to be more flexible or pushing further into the pose. Rather than struggling, use the posture to practice santosha (contentment). Can you accept both the intensity and your capacity right now?

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