Ashtanga Yoga Pose Explained

EXTENDED HAND TO BIG TOE POSTURE| Utthita = Extended, Hasta= Hand, Pada = Foot, Angustha= Toe

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana “A” is the first expression of the A, B, C, and D in the Ashtanga primary series. This is an incredible single-leg balance pose that will make you feel like a balancing warrior, without any Virabhadrasana being involved. It’s an incredible way to work on flexibility in the hips and hamstrings while working on balancing at the same time.

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Benefits of Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana ‘A’:

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana ‘A’ strengthens the hamstrings and adductor muscles. This asana also greatly improves one’s sense of balance. It strengthens the ankles and all the muscles in the legs as you stabilize on one leg. As with any balancing asana, it calms the mind and improves your powers of focus and concentration.

Give Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana “A” a try by following the steps below.

Begin in Samasthi position.

(1) Ekam - Inhale - Stand firmly on the left leg as you lift the right leg directly in front of you. Grab ahold of the big toe with the two fingers of the right hand, place your left hand on the left hip.

(2) Dve - Exhale - Reach the upraised leg as high as possible while keeping both legs straight. Ideally, you will bend forward and place the chin to the knee.

Hold the posture and breathe for 5 breaths.

The eye-gaze, dristi, is Padhyoragrai (toes) of the outreached foot.

Tips for Successfully Completing Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana ‘A’:

Spread the toes as wide as possible before placing the grounding the foot down on the mat. Make sure you are standing firmly before you raise the right leg in the air. Create a hook with your first two fingers and your thumbs that solidly keep the foot raised in the air. Make sure that you keep your shoulders level and relaxed. Draw the shoulders down and away from the ears. Work on raising the foot as high as possible, pointing the toes will add a layer of difficulty but will help to keep both legs straight and strong.

Modification for Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana ‘A’:

If it is not possible to straighten your out lifted leg, then keep your knees bent and work on extending the leg forward.