Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana (Raised Hand to Big Toe)
In Sanskrit Utthita means extended, Hasta means hand; therefore this asana is known as the Raised hand to the big Toe or Extended hand to the big Toe. This asana thus can be performed as follows;
- Stand in Tadasana or the Mountain pose.
- Now bring your left knee close to the abdomen.
- Reach your left arm inside the thigh, cross it over the front ankle, and hold the outside of your left feet. In case your hamstring muscles are tight you can hold a strap looped around your left sole.
- Now go on firming the front of the thigh muscles of the leg you are standing upon and begin pressing the outer thigh inwards.
- Inhale and begin extending your left leg forward. Straighten the knee as much as you can. When steady you can also swing the leg out to the side.
- Keep on breathing steadily as breathing takes concentration, but it helps you balance.
- Now hold this posture for at least 30 seconds, then swing the leg back to the center with an inhale, and lower the foot to the floor with an exhale.
- Repeat the same on other leg.
The benefits of this asana are:
- Strengthens the legs and the ankles.
- Also stretches the back of the legs thus bringing about activity in the hamstring muscles.
- Improves balance in the body.
- Has great therapeutic value in Osteoporosis.
- Works on the upper as well as the lower back.
- Provides relief in Menstruation.
- Is a very beneficial pose during the second and the third trimester of pregnancy.
- Also stretches the spinal column.
- Helps to improve the balance and coordination.
Precautionary measures to be followed during this asana are:
- Do not practice this pose if suffering from chronic injury of back, spine, shoulders, hips and arms.
- Do not overstretch the hamstring in this asana.
- Also should be avoided in cases of lower back or ankle injuries.