Yoga Pose of the Week: Padangusthasana (Big toe pose)

Yoga Pose of the Week: Padangusthasana (Big toe pose)


26 April 2016


This pose is actually one part of two poses done in succession in the Ashtanga series. Both poses look alike except for a minor change in the hand position. In Padangusthasana you hold your big toe in a forward bend, in Padahastasana, the asana you do right after, you place your hands under your feet. This week we’ll tackle the first pose, Padangusthasana.

Related Articles

Pada: Foot
Angustha: Big Toe
Asana: Pose

How to do:

Forward bends are an important part of yoga asanas, and the ability to perform a forward bend (regardless if you can or cannot touch your feet) without a headrush when you come back up is important for your daily life. The video above shows you how both poses look in the ashtanga practice. The practitioner holds the pose for five breaths before moving on to the next pose.

Start Slow:

This video above will show you how to get into a forward bend safely. It is important to suck in the stomach as much as possible so that it gives you room when you bend over. Be careful too to reach downwards with your chest and not your head, so that you don’t have a rounded back.

If you can’t reach your toes, I’d advise you to instead loop a strap around your feet instead of bending your knees. Then you can work on opening your hips instead of straightening your legs. Always keep in mind to suck in the stomach and keep reaching with your chest instead of head. And while it’s good to maintain straight legs, keep your knees loose and not rod straight - especially if you have double jointed knees. As always don’t overdo and hurt yourself.

This is a great pose to strengthen the legs and stretch the hamstrings and calves. I love getting into this pose before and after a run as it really does wonders for the hamstrings!


This is a great pose to relieve stress, anxiety and calm down the mind. Aside from that, because you are holding your stomach in, it helps to massage the spleen and kidneys as well. It also focuses the mind and balances the body. Great for in between work stretches!


This pose doesn’t have many contraindications. I’d stay away if you have major knee or back problems, but other than that, it should be okay if you proceed with caution.

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