Utthita Hasta Padanghustasana (Extended Hand to Toe Posture) comes in the middle of the standing sequence and is the first balancing posture in the Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series.
It can be a big challenge in a number of ways:
- Balancing on one leg is not something we do everyday, so the body needs time adjust.
- Many people experience soreness in the ankle and cramping in the feet.
If you experience this discomfort, don’t be alarmed. It’s totally normal and is happening because you need to build strength in the feet and ankles. As long as you’re not creating or inflicting pain, and you’re just working with building strength, you’ll be fine. After a few weeks, the cramping will dissipate.
This video is how to do Utthita Hasta Padanghustasana for beginners. Eventually you’ll want to straighten the leg, but first just work on balancing with the knee bent.
- Keep the hips square the whole time. The hips should face foward, and then externally rotate the hip when you bring the leg out to the side. If you find that you’re starting to turn towards the side, then your hips probably need to open more. Just bring awareness to that each time and continue to try.
- Don’t lean back. There is a tendency to lean backwards when the leg straightens in front of you, or to lean to the side when you bring the leg to the side. Make sure to keep a straight and extended spine. Always think about lifting up through the crown of the head.
- Ground through the feet. Press the whole foot into the ground and focus on the big toe, which will awaken the abductor muscles in the hip and support the suspended hip and leg.
- When you feel like you’re able to balance gracefully, then start to extend the leg. There is always room to work!
Good Luck! Email or Comment for Questions!
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