Parivrtta Hasta Padangusthasana: Revolved Hand to Big Toe Pose
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.
- 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.
- Begin standing at the top of your mat. Shift your weight into your right leg, pressing down through all four corners of the foot.
- Draw your left knee toward your chest. Loop your first and second finger of your right hand around your left big toe.
- Stand up tall. Lift your head up and drop your tailbone down.
- Place your left hand to your left hip, level your pelvis. Extend your left foot forward, pressing through your heel.
- Reach your right hand toward the back of your mat.
- Slowly start to move your gaze back towards your right hand.
- 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.
- Revolved half moon | Parivrtta ardha chandrasana
- Revolved triangle pose | Parivrtta trikonasana
- Reclined hand to big toe pose | Supta hasta padangusthasana
- Parivrtta = revolved
- Hasta = hand
- Angustha = big toe
- Asana = pose
- Strengthens and lengthens leg muscles.
- Stretches deep gluteal muscles and outer hips.
- Improves balance.
- Improves mental and emotional balance.
- Boosts confidence.
- Energizes and steadies the mind.
Prasarita Padottanasana: Standing Wide-Legged Forward Bend Pose
Prasarita padottanasana (pra-sa-REE-tah pah-doh-tahn-AHS-an-uh) is a big stretch for the hamstrings and inner leg line. With many variations available, this pose is accessible for most practitioners. This is also a great pose in lieu of headstand.
Philosophy + Origin
Prasarita padottanasana has found its way into almost every style of yoga. B.K.S. Iyengar taught several variations of this posture, labeling them as A, B, C, and D. The most commonly practiced variation is prasarita padottanasana A. Prasarita padottanasana B is when the hands are on the hips and the head is lifted off the ground, not resting on the mat. Prasarita padottanasana C is the variation where the hands are interlaced and stretched behind the back and over the head as you fold. In the final variation taught by Iyengar, prasarita padottanasana D asks the student to grasp the big toe on each foot.