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Standing Hand to Toe Pose (utthita hasta padangusthasana)

Standing balancing posture that stretches your hips, hamstrings, calves and ankles.
 

Standing Hand to Toe Pose (or utthita hasta padangusthasana) provides a good stretch to your hips, hamstrings, calves and ankles. This is a challenging pose that requires you to use strength, flexibility and coordination to remain balanced on your supporting leg. As you work on keeping your body balanced in Standing Hand to Toe Pose, you may improve your concentration and mental focus.
 
As you hold the pose, try to resist the temptation to lean forward. Instead, focus on keeping your spine straight and lengthened. If you find that you cannot fully straighten your leg in this pose, try to straighten your leg as much as you can without compromising your balance or the upright position of your torso.
 
To improve your balance in Standing Hand to Toe Pose, sink your weight down through your supporting foot and gaze at a fixed point in front of you.
 
You should use caution performing this pose if you have an arm, leg or shoulder injury
 
Steps:
Begin in Mountain Pose.
Rest your left hand on your left hip.
Bend your right leg and lift your right heel off the floor.
Shift your weight onto your left leg and foot.
Bring your right knee up in front of you.
Wrap the middle finger, index finger and thumb of your right hand around the big toe of your right foot.
Press the heel of your left foot into the floor.
Inhale as you slowly straighten your right leg in front of you.
Press out through your right heel as you gently pull your toe toward your body.
(Make sure your shoulders are relaxed back and down.)
Point the crown of your head toward the ceiling and gaze at a fixed point in front of you.
Hold the pose for 15 seconds to 1 minute and then return to Mountain Pose.
Repeat steps 2 to 11 for your other side.
 
What can I do if I find it difficult to straighten my leg in this pose?
You can loop a yoga strap around the foot of your extended leg to perform the pose. If you do not have a yoga strap, you can use any cloth strap, such as a bathrobe belt. Make sure you do not pull on the strap. You should use the strap only to support your leg.
 
How can I deepen the pose?
To deepen the pose, bring your extended leg out to your side. For example, if your right leg is extended, bring your right leg out to your right side. When your arm and leg are extended to your side, your arm should be parallel to the floor. Make sure you keep your hips level while performing this modification.
 
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