Utthita Hasta Padangushtasana or extended hand to toe pose stretches the hamstrings, gives a sense of balance and calms the mind. In sanskrit, Utthita means extended, Hasta means hand, Pada means feet, Angushta means toe and Asana is a pose.
How to do Utthita Hasta Padangushtasana?
- Stand in Tadasana or the straight standing posture with feet together and hands on the sides.
- Shift your weight to the left leg.
- Bend your right knee and bring the right foot towards the right thighs.
- Hold the right foot with your right hand by curling your fingers around the right toe. You may use one (index finger) or two (index and middle) fingers to hold the toe.
- Inhale and balance yourself on the left leg and straighten your spine.
- Slowly raise your left hand and make it parallel to the ground. This will help you in better balance when you straighten out your right leg (next step).
- Exhale and try to extend your right leg and straighten it out in front of the body. Most beginners will find it difficult to extend the legs fully to make the right leg straight. With daily practice, your hamstring muscles and adductors will become flexible and you will be able to straighten out the leg.
- Straightening of the leg can be done in front or the sides depending on your flexibility.
- Hold this pose for as long as you are comfortable.
- To release the pose, bend the right knee and bring the feet to the thighs. Then place the right foot on the floor, back to standing position. Simultaneously, lower your left hand to the sides.
- This can be practiced with the opposite leg too.
Benefits of Utthita Hasta Padangushtasana
- It stretches the hamstring muscles.
- It stretches the adductors.
- It stretches the muscles of the back and arms
- It brings about a sense of balance.
- Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana calms the mind.
Contraindications for Utthita Hasta Padangustashana
- Those with any injury to the ankles and lower back should not attempt this asana.
- Don’t force while straightening out the bent leg as it can cause sprain or other injury to the hamstrings, adductor muscles, etc.