Extended Hand-Toe Pose or Standing Big Toe Hold
oo-TEE-tah HA-sta pad-an goosh-TAHS-anna
This is a intermediate asymmetrical standing balance pose. For a beginner, standing strong into the standing leg and lightly clasping the knee of the bent lifted leg is totally adequate to accomplish the same sense of balance and strength. It helps to pick a point in front of you to focus on, and doing so will help you develop “open focus” – which is a state of awareness where you can see the whole room even though you are only focusing on one point (as opposed to moving your gaze with action).
Tight hamstrings or gluteus maximus in the lifted leg can case spinal flexion, and thus hip extension or knee flexion in the standing leg. It’s better to bend the knee in the lifted leg and find neutral curves in the spine and neutral extension in the standing hip, and knee extension (but not hyperextension) in the standing leg.
From Tadasana, grasp your big toe and extend your leg out in front of you (top photo) while keeping your hand on your hip. Engage moola bandha and breathe. When you find your balance and center you can then extend the leg out to the side (bottom photo) while extending your other arm out to the side. If it is available to you, look out over the extended arm.
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