The hand-to-big toe pose is a great way to stretch the back of your legs, and strengthen your legs and ankles. Let's look at how you can practice the hand-to-toe pose safely at home.
Hand to Toe Basics
The hand-to-toe pose is a balancing pose where one leg is raised while you hold one foot with your hand.
It allows you to work on your core muscles and build on your strength, particularly for your lower body. If you suffer from tight hamstrings, you can use a strap and hold your knee instead of your toe.
Benefits of Hand to Big Toe Pose
This pose has been known to strengthen your spine, improve your hamstring flexibility, and can make you feel extremely powerful as you improve your balance.
If you have lower back and neck issues from sitting at a computer all day, this exercise and its variations will give you greater flexibility and relieve some of your pain.
Hand to big toe pose: Step-by-step instructions
- Start with a simple mountain pose to ground yourself. Take several breaths. Make sure that your spine is perfectly straight.
- Straighten and place your weight on your left leg. Place your left hand on your left hip to support your body.
- Bend and lift your right leg and right knee and clasp the big toe on your right foot with the first two fingers of your right hand. Keep your left knee straight.
- Press the right foot forward. You may feel the effect throughout your body. Lifting your sternum will improve the curve of your lower back.
If you want to stretch your hamstrings, find an anterior tilt of your pelvis. Take care that the right hip is hiked up higher than the left hip. You may feel your thigh stretch. Focus on your breathing.
- You can repeat this for the other side of the body, as many times as you like. You should enjoy more flexibility and less low back pain after a few weeks of repeated exercise.
Common Mistakes of Hand to Big Toe Pose
Don't let your pelvis lift too high on the stretched leg side. Keep your pelvis parallel to the floor as much as possible.
You should also avoid sinking all of your weight into the hip of your standing leg, as your glutes won't engage and you'll become unstable.
If you struggle with this yoga pose, you can support the foot of your raised leg on the top of a chair's back.
Set the chair an inch or so from a wall, pad it with a blanket, and press your raised heel to the wall.
Variation Hand To Big Toe Pose
There are a few variations you can try, including a reclining extended hand to big toe pose. Most people find this easier as it doesn't require you to keep your balance and it can really strengthen your spine.
There's also the standing forward fold pose. Stand with your feet together and distribute your weight equally on both sides of the body.
Bend forward from the hips, extending your spine slowly. Bend your head, neck, trunk, and shoulders, and slowly grab your toes without straining your back.
How To Teach Hand To Big Toe Pose
If you are teaching the pose, make sure that you keep the upper and lower spine lifted and straight. Ensure that your students keep their hips stacked equally side by side and that they engage their inner thighs.
Help them slowly draw their knees towards their chest before extending to the heel. When they inhale, they should feel their chest lift and their spine lengthen.
Encourage your students to press their heels forward on each exhale.
Watch out for rounding of the spine and tight hamstrings that prevent the knee from bending.
If they experience any pain or strain in the knees, shoulders, or lower back, take a break and readjust.
Where to Buy
Choosing your mat is the first step to a fulfilling practice. Getting on your yoga mat is like coming home: a sacred place where you can forget about your problems.
If you need to take the first step to make your yoga practice better, start by choosing your mat, we can recommend excellent mats that can help you with this pose and others:
- Complete Beginners 7-Piece Yoga Kit for Women and Men
- Classic 1/4 Inch Thick Pro Yoga Mat
- IUGA Eco Friendly Yoga Mat with Alignment Lines
- Manduka PRO Yoga Mat
- Double-Sided Non Slip, Eco Friendly Exercise Yoga Mat
- KURMA GRIP XL Yoga Mat
- Best Yoga Bolster For Plus Size Women and Men
- Best Yoga Blocks for Beginners
If you've spent too much time at your desk lately, the hand-to-big toe pose can improve your balance and posture, and can even fight fatigue. It's easy enough for beginners and can really stretch your thighs, calves, buttocks, and ankles.