“First I do the Yoga, then I do the Things.” – Unknown
Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose is a powerful standing posture to practice. In Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose you learn strength, stability and flexibility. You can stand upright, strong and balanced. Your legs and hips can become more flexible whilst your ankles, legs and tummy become stronger. But not to worry if you’re a beginner, props can go a long way here!
Read on to discover how to practice this pose safely at home. Better yet, come to a Yogafurie class and practice it with one of our teachers!
If you have ankle, leg, hip or lower back injuries, perhaps skip this pose.
Uttanasana – Forward Fold (above)
Virabhadrasana 1 – Warrior 1 (above)
Trikonasana – Triangle Pose (above)
Ardha Chandrasana – Half Moon Pose (above)
Step by Step Instructions
From Tadasana, bring your left knee toward your belly.
Reach your left arm inside the thigh, cross it over the front ankle, and hold the outside of your left foot, or take your big toe with middle and index finger, and close the loop with your thumb. If your hamstrings are tight, hold a strap looped around the ball of the left foot.
Firm the front thigh muscles of the standing leg, and press the outer thigh inward.
Inhale and extend the left leg forward. Straighten the knee as much as possible, without hurting or arching your back, and without leaning in with the shoulder. Basically, make sure you stand up straight, even if you can’t straighten the leg that way. You can place one hand on a wall if you’re unsteady.
If your leg and back are both straight, press the mound of the big toe joint in the ball of your foot away. This will lengthen the inside line of your leg, and sometimes then you can lift the leg higher without straining. Pull your shoulder blade down and bend your elbow to take up the movement if the leg does lift.
At all times, your extended knee is a least a little soft. Don’t lock out into the back of your knee. Hold for five good breaths if you can.
If you’re steady, swing the leg out to the side. Breathe steadily; breathing takes concentration, but it helps you balance. Keep your left hip lined up over your left heel. You’re aiming to get the inner ankle in line with the top of your inner thigh and your inner ear.
Hold for five good breaths if you can, then swing the leg back to centre with an inhale. If you’re tired, lower the foot to the floor with an exhale. Otherwise stand with the leg elevated for up to five good breaths – don’t lean back with your upper body. Repeat on the other side for the same length of time.
Fancy a lie down after that?
You can practice Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose lying down on your mat. Practice exactly as described above, but lying down on your mat. When you take the leg to the side in Step Five, keep both hips grounded – the leg might not go all the way to the floor.
There are other postures that take the same arrangement of arms and legs as Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose Step Five. If you practice Trikonasana for a long time, you’ll eventually hold your own big toe. You can learn about Trikonasana here on the Yogafurie blog. There’s a similar version of Vasisthasana: it’s quite tricky for most people, but you can read about the beginner variations here on the Yogafurie blog also.