Toe Stand Pose or Padangusthasana is the 12th and final posture of the standing series in Bikram Yoga. It begins much like its preceding posture, Tree Pose. This is a demanding balance pose that improves focus while calming your mind.
• Begin standing as you were performing Tree Pose. Keep your spine long throughout the pose.
• Remember to take each movement slowly. If you come into the pose too quickly, you are likely to lose your balance.
• Shift your weight to your left foot.
• Bend your right knee up toward your chest.
• Raise your right foot and bring your right heel to rest on the front of your left thigh or hip. If you are unable to rest your foot on your hip, place it on your thigh. Only bring your foot up as far as you can without causing pain.
• The sole of your foot should be facing the ceiling and the top of your foot should rest on your leg or hip.
• Allow your right knee to drop down. Both knees in one line.
• Bring both hands to the center of your chest in prayer position. If your foot keeps slipping, you can continue to hold it with one hand.
• Slowly bend forward at the hips. Engage your abdominal muscles to help maintain balance.
• Keeping your standing leg straight, release your hands and place your fingertips on the floor in front of you.
• Bend your standing leg and bring your hips close to the floor. The thigh of your standing leg should be parallel to the floor. All of your weight should be balanced across the ball of your standing foot.
• Sit on the heel of your standing foot.
• Gaze at a single spot on the floor four feet in front of you.
• Keeping your abdominals engaged, bring your left hand to the center of your chest in half prayer position. If it is possible, bring your right hand to meet your left, pressing your palms together.
• To release, come out of the pose the same way you entered. Place your fingertips on the mat in front of you once again. Slowly straighten your standing leg. Inhale to return to standing. Release your raised leg.
• Repeat on the opposite side.
Note: Due its balancing nature, if you are currently experiencing headaches, low blood pressure or if you are lightheaded, you should refrain from practicing Toe Stand. Also exercise caution if you have a recent or chronic knee, ankle, or hip injury.
Practicing "Toe Stand Pose" can be a great way to gain abdominal, hip, knee, ankle and toe strength, while challenging your concentration and poise. It also strengthens your joints, which helps to improve arthritis and knee pain. The intense concentration required creates a calm and focused mind, both in the studio and out in the world. Regularly practicing this pose improves posture, balance and grace. Adding this pose to your regular routine will open your hips, focus your thoughts and create beautiful posture and grace that will benefit your mind, body and spirit.
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