Yoga Posture Guide - The Hand-Foot-Big Toe Yoga Pose (Hasta-pada-angusta-asana)

Translation: The Sanskrit word hasta means hand, pada means foot, and angusta means big toe, therefore, this is the hand-foot-big toe posture.

Pronunciation: ha-sta-pah-don-goo-stah-sa-na

Difficulty: (3)

The benefits of the hasta-pada-angusta-asana yoga pose are similar to those of the ugra-asana (i.e.: spinal stretch, abdominal toning, and gastro-intestinal stimulation). There is additional stretching of the leg that is outstretched as well as to the groin.

The Science behind The Hand-Foot-Big Toe Pose (Hasta-pada-angusta-asana)

This Hand-Foot-Big Toe Yoga Pose (Hasta-pada-angusta-asana), basic yoga asana is said to stretch each and every muscle in the body from head to toe. This yoga asana is the perfect balance between backward and forward bending and uses the pull and push of gravity. This pull and push also help to relieve pain and ease the tension trapped in the body. This asana is surely a significant one.

Beginner’s Tip to The Hand-Foot-Big Toe Yoga Pose (Hasta-pada-angusta-asana)

As a beginner in Hand-Foot-Big Toe Yoga Pose, it might be difficult to hold your toes while keeping your knees straight. If you can’t keep your knees straight, use a yoga strap. Loop it around the middle of the arches to give you a handhold.

The Hand-Foot-Big Toe Pose (Hasta-pada-angusta-asana) step-by-step instructions

    The Hand-Foot-Big Toe Pose (Hasta-pada-angusta-asana) step-by-step instructions
  1. Stand upright with your inner feet parallel and about six inches apart. Contract your front thigh muscles to lift your kneecaps. Keeping your legs completely straight, exhale and bend forward from your hip joints, moving your torso and head as one unit.
  2. Slide the index and middle fingers of each hand between the big toes and the second toes. Then curl those fingers under and grip the big toes firmly, wrapping the thumbs around the other two fingers to secure the wrap. Press your toes down against your fingers. (If you can’t reach your toes without overly rounding your back, pass a strap under the ball of each foot and hold the straps.)
  3. With an inhalation, lift your torso as if you were going to stand up again, straightening your elbows. Lengthen your front torso, and on the next exhale, lift your sitting bones. Depending on your flexibility, your lower back will hollow to a greater or lesser degree. As you do this, release your hamstrings and hollow your lower belly (below your navel) as well, lightly lifting it toward the back of your pelvis.
  4. Lift the top of your sternum as high as you can, but take care not to lift your head so far that you compress the back of your neck. Keep your forehead relaxed.
  5. For the next few inhalations, lift your torso strongly as you continue to actively contract your front thighs; on each successive exhalation, strongly lift your sitting bones as you consciously relax your hamstrings. As you do this, deepen the hollow in your lower back.
  6. Finally, exhale, bend your elbows out to the sides, pull up on your toes, lengthen the front and sides of your torso, and gently lower into the forward bend.
  7. If you have very long hamstrings, you can draw your forehead toward your shins. But if your hamstrings are short, it’s better to focus on keeping the front torso long. Hunching into a forward bend isn’t safe for your lower back and does nothing to lengthen your hamstrings.
  8. Hold the final position for one minute. Then release your toes, bring your hands to your hips, and re-lengthen your front torso. With an inhale, swing your torso and head as a single unit back to upright.

Advanced Pose Variations for The Hand-Foot-Big Toe Yoga Pose (Hasta-pada-angusta-asana)

Extended Hand-To-Big-Toe Yoga Pose: Step-by-Step Instructions

Extended Hand-To-Big-Toe Yoga Pose: Step-by-Step Instructions
  1. From Tadasana, bring your left knee toward your belly.
  2. Reach your left arm inside the thigh, cross it over the front ankle, and hold the outside of your left foot. If your hamstrings are tight, hold a strap looped around the left sole.
  3. Firm the front thigh muscles of the standing leg, and press the outer thigh inward.
  4. Inhale and extend the left leg forward. Straighten the knee as much as possible. If you’re steady, swing the leg out to the side. Breathe steadily; breathing takes concentration, but it helps you balance.
  5. Hold for 30 seconds, then swing the leg back to center with an inhale, and lower the foot to the floor with an exhale. Repeat on the other side for the same length of time.

The Hand-Foot-Big Toe Yoga Pose (Hasta-pada-angusta-asana) variation two

The Hand-Foot-Big Toe Yoga Pose (Hasta-pada-angusta-asana)
  1. Sit on the floor with the legs together and extended straight out in front. Keep the back straight, shoulders level and head straight. Place the hands, palms down, flat on top of the thighs. 
  2. Spread the legs as far apart as possible without bending the knees. 
  3. Bend the left knee and place the bottom of the left foot against the inner left thigh. Bring the left heel as close to the perineum as possible. Keep the left knee on the floor. 
  4. Stretch both arms straight out in front of you, then keeping the back straight turn slowly at the waist toward the right aligning the arms with the right leg. 
  5. Inhale slowly while raising the arms over the head and arching the back. 
  6. Exhale and slowly while bending forward bringing the chest down to the right thigh. Clasp the big toe of the right foot with the first finger of both hands. Hold this position for the duration of the exhaled breath. 
  7. Inhale slowly through the nostrils releasing the posture while sitting up straight. 
  8. Straighten the left leg and return to the seated position described in step 2 then repeat the posture, this time bending the right leg. 

Duration/Repetitions: Repeat two or three times on each leg.

Precautions and Contraindications for The Hand-Foot-Big Toe Yoga Pose (Hasta-pada-angusta-asana)

  • This is a basic pose, and although anyone can do it, make sure you practice it under the guidance of a certified yoga instructor.
  • Also, you must avoid this pose if you have neck or lower back injuries.

The Health Benefits of The Hand-Foot-Big Toe Yoga Pose (Hasta-pada-angusta-asana)

Health Benefits of The Hand-Foot-Big Toe Yoga Pose (Hasta-pada-angusta-asana) include;
  • It calms the brain and relieves anxiety, stress, and mild depression
  • The liver and kidneys are activated.
  • The calves and hamstrings get a good stretch.
  • The thighs become strong.
  • The digestive system and the reproductive system are stimulated.
  • Digestion is improved.
  • Menopause and menstrual disorders are reduced.
  • Headaches and insomnia are relieved.
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