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Parivrtta Hasta Padangusthasana: Revolved Hand to Big Toe Pose

 

Parivrtta Hasta Padangusthasana: Revolved Hand to Big Toe Pose


Parivrtta Hasta Padangusthasana (par-ee-vrit-tah hah-sta pod-ang-goosh-TAHS-anna), or Revolved Hand to Big Toe pose, is balancing posture that asks for flexibility. Use props and modifications to make this challenging posture accessible from right where you are. Like all balancing postures, Revolved Hand to Big Toe pose improves concentration and focus. And, because it’s a twist, it will also help detoxify your body. With regular practice, you will strengthen and lengthen both of your legs.

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. It is said that the universal cycles of creation and destruction, birth and death are represented by this pose. Practicing Dancing Shiva is a recognition of these cycles, and improves the ability to find balance and peace in the midst of eternal change.

ADJUSTMENTS/MODIFICATIONS:

  • Use a strap to help you reach your extended foot.
  • Press the sole of the extended foot against a wall for stability.
  • Reach your back hand to a wall for extra support.
  • Keep your gaze forward or to the side for easier balance.
  • Keep your back hand on your hip for added stability and better balance.

CONTRAINDICATIONS AND CAUTIONS:

  • Hamstring or knee injuries

TIPS:

The tendency to hold the breath when we’re challenged is triggered by many balancing postures — and Parivrtta Hasta Padangusthasana is no different. Pay attention to your breath as you work your way into this pose. The more you’re able to slow and control the breath, the better you’ll be able to focus and balance. As you breathe, use the inhale to lengthen the spine out from the crown of the head. As you exhale, reach and root down through the tailbone to find strength and length in the legs.

STEP-BY-STEP:

  1. Start Revolved Hand to Big Toe pose from Mountain pose at the front end of your mat. Shift your weight into your right leg, finding all four corners of the foot and lifting energetically up through the sole. Begin drawing the left foot away from the floor while finding your balance.
  2. Once you’re balancing on your left foot, draw the right knee into your chest. Take your time to breathe here, lengthening the spine and strengthening your standing leg. Use your index and middle fingers of your right hand to hold the big toe of your left foot. Continue rooting down through your tailbone as you start to extend out your left leg. The left thigh should be parallel to the floor and your spine should be perpendicular.
  3. Reach through your heart and broaden across the collarbones to counter the tendency to slouch forward when extending the left leg. Take your left hand to your hip, level your pelvis, then begin to reach the hand toward the back of your mat. Deepen the twist by rooting the femur of your left leg into the hip joint as you draw your right ribs forward.
  4. If you can remain balanced, slowly start to move your gaze back towards your left hand. Do this movement slowly and intentionally to avoid losing balance. Hold this pose for five to ten breaths before untwisting and slowly lowering the lifted leg down to the floor. Stay in Tadasana for a few breaths before repeating on the other side.

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PREPARATORY POSES:

  • Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana
  • Parivrtta Trikonasana
  • Supta Hasta Padangusthasana
  • Uttanasana
  • Vrksasana

FOLLOW-UP POSES:

  • Baddha Konasana
  • Savasana

SANSKRIT:

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

PHYSICAL BENEFITS:

  • Opens hips
  • Strengthens and lengthens legs
  • Stretches deep gluteal muscles
  • Increases flexibility of the spine
  • Tones the core, abdominal organs and hips
  • Detoxifies the body
  • Improves strength and movement in the shoulder girdle
  • Increases balance

ENERGETIC BENEFITS:

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

MANTRA:

“Shiva Mantra”

A simple mantra to recite to yourself or aloud, repeating Om Namah Shivaya is said to dispel ignorance while destroying negativity and granting access to higher states of consciousness.

MUDRA: Varun Mudra

Practice this mudra for mental clarity by lightly touching the tip of the tip of the thumb to the pinky finger. Extend your other three fingers out straight. Varan mudra is also called the Water mudra as it cultivates fluidity and ease of motion through life.

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