Hand to Big Toe Forward Fold  -Padangusthasana

Step by step

  • Start in Tadasana / Mountain pose with your feet hip width apart. Bring your hands to your hips as you inhale.
  • As you exhale, bend forward hinging from the hips. Keep length in the front body and your legs straight.
  • Wrap your first two fingers around the big toe, closing with the thumb.
  • On an inhalation, flatten your back, straighten your arms and look forward, opening your chest, drawing shoulder blades down along the spine.
  • On an exhalation, release into the forward bend, lengthening from the hips, drawing your torso close to the legs with the grip of your fingers and thumb, your elbows move out to the sides. Press through the toes.
  • Stay for 5 breaths.
  • To come out of the pose, release your toes and either roll up vertebra by vertebra, or place your hands on your hips, ground through your feet and come up with a straight spine.

Beginners tips

  • When you are folding from the hips think about drawing the lower belly towards your spine and lift your body up and over as if you are folding over a beach ball. 
  • If you can't easily hold your toes, use a strap under the ball of your feet or bend your knees.
  • Or you can keep working on your Standing Forward Bend/ Uttanasana using as many props as you need.

Benefits

  • Stretches the back of the legs, the hips and spine.
  • Balances the nervous system and calms the mind.
  • Improves digestion.
  • Restores your energy.

Watch out for

  • Avoid this pose if you have lower back issues, or practise with your knees bent.
  • As you lift and open your chest be careful not to tilt your head so much that you compress the back of your neck.

Variations

  • Add on an extra challenge by bringing the weight into the left leg and lifting the right leg out to the side, still hooking your fingers around your big toe.
  • Stay for a few breaths before changing sides.