Aparigraha – Non-Attachment – Day 5 – Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana – Standing Hand to Big Toe

Good morning Yogis! We are beginning our cycle through the Yoga Sutras, and continuing with the last of the YamasAparigraha or non-attachment. Since we are in the middle of a September Asana Challenge, we are featuring a new Asana that represents each of the Yoga Sutras! Standing Hand to Big Toe or Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana (OOT-hit-TAH HAH-stah Pa-dahn-goose-THAH-sa-nuh) is my choice to represent Aparigraha, since this is a very challenging balance and full-leg stretch. You will also likely fall over a few times, so enjoy a few laughs working on this Asana! In fact, I usually practice with a variation of this pose, and I occasionally work on the full version but cannot fully straighten my leg. Please see our wonderful featured Yogi @metalynith who is making awesome progress with flexibility and balance in her Yoga practice, and volunteered to model this challenging Asana for me <3!

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana – Standing Hand to Big Toe
Click above for more of @metalynith’s impressive advanced Asanas!

We are in the middle of a daily Asana practice challenge for September! Please see our Asana Styles page for links to YouTube videos for various Yoga Styles. For Aparigraha Day today, I recommend a passive Yin or Restorative class, or a balance-focused series.

I usually practice with the Yoga Studio App rather than streaming services, so I can download my favorite classes and use in areas without Wifi or phone signal. Today I am doing one of my favorites – Beginner AM (20 Minute), which includes the beginner version of this pose that I can do! I modify with more advanced versions of poses including full side plank, standard extended side angle, and lowering slowly from plank to Chaturanga Dandasana / Yoga Push-Up… I am still working arm strength to do the Intermediate version of this class!

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try some Standing Hand to Foot for Aparigraha Day! This is a challenging pose for for all levels Yogis. Make sure to incorporate Aparigraha, and just practice without expectations, and see how you can progress with this journey pose. Remember – practice not perfection! We will talk about the variations of this pose both with and without the toe hold today! Start in Tadasana – Mountain Pose.

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana Variation – Standing Hand to Big Toe Variation

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana Variation

Feet and Legs – Start in Tadasana / Mountain Pose. Claw your toes into the mat slightly to keep your arches from falling into the mat. Perhaps keep a slight bend in the knee, Always make sure you avoid hyper-extending or locking your knees. We will perform with the right leg first – so shift all weight into your left leg. After placing your hands on your hips, inhale and slowly lift your right leg, trying to bring parallel to the ground.

Hips – Make sure your hips are neutral. Err on the side of tucking your tailbone under, rather than sticking your booty out.

Torso – Notice your rib cage in mountain pose. If you notice the bottom of rib cage is sticking out, pull back in and down to correct your posture. Next notice your shoulders. Try to gently roll your shoulders back and down, away from your ears. Notice how this helps your chest open. Make sure you keep your back straight throughout this Asana, and do not let your shoulders or lower back round.

Head and Neck – Check where your ears are compared to your shoulders. Most of us keep our heads slightly forward. If you notice you are doing this, tuck your chin slightly and gently press back to bring your neck and ears into alignment with your shoulders. Gaze ahead at a single unmoving point to help with balance.

Arms – Place your hands on your hips to stay balanced in this pose.

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana – Standing Hand to Big Toe

Feet and Legs – Start in Tadasana / Mountain Pose. Claw your toes into the mat slightly to keep your arches from falling into the mat. Perhaps keep a slight bend in the knee, Always make sure you avoid hyper-extending or locking your knees. We will perform with the right leg first – so shift all weight into your left leg. After placing your hands on your hips, inhale and slowly bend your right leg and lift your right foot in towards your groin. Grab a hold of your right big toe with your right index and middle fingers. On an exhale, slowly extend your leg forward. It is okay if you cannot get your leg straight – it is better to keep your spine long than have a straight leg.

Hips – Make sure your hips are neutral. Err on the side of tucking your tailbone under, rather than sticking your booty out.

Torso – Notice your rib cage in mountain pose. If you notice the bottom of rib cage is sticking out, pull back in and down to correct your posture. Next notice your shoulders. Try to gently roll your shoulders back and down, away from your ears. Notice how this helps your chest open. Make sure you keep your back straight throughout this Asana, and do not let your shoulders or lower back round. If you notice your back rounding, either bend your knee slightly to straighten your back, or work the beginner version of this Asana above until you can come into parallel to the ground without losing your posture.

Head and Neck – Check where your ears are compared to your shoulders. Most of us keep our heads slightly forward. If you notice you are doing this, tuck your chin slightly and gently press back to bring your neck and ears into alignment with your shoulders. Gaze ahead at a single unmoving point to help with balance.

Arms – Place your left hand on your left hip to help stay balanced in this pose. Keep a hold of your right big toe with your right index and middle fingers, and bend your elbow to deepen the stretch.

To come out of either variation of this pose, first release any toe hold and slowly lower your foot back down to the ground on an exhale. Make sure to repeat this Asana on both sides, and notice any differences in balance and flexibility between sides without judgement!

PS If you are comfortable with variations of these poses, please tag us with your pictures on Instagram!

Please comment to share your experience! Where are you on your journey with this challenging pose? Always remember, be kind!

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2 thoughts on “Aparigraha – Non-Attachment – Day 5 – Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana – Standing Hand to Big Toe

  1. I am still working on my flexibility and this pose is slightly challenging for me. I have great balance but I am still working on getting my leg up and straight.

    1. Try with a strap! Remember the key for this pose is keeping a straight back. I’ve started using the strap in the modified version of this pose to help lift my leg a bit higher

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