The anatomical focus for this pose is the upper back. It is designed to help osteoporosis. The benefits include strengthening the legs and ankles, stretching the legs in the back part, and improving your sense of balance. There are some contraindications and cautions for this pose, and they include the possibility of getting some ankle or low back injuries.
Here’s a step-by-step introduction to the extended hand-to-big-toe pose.
- Move your left knee up close to your belly.
- Stretch your left arm to the inside of your thigh, put it over the top of the ankle, and clutch the outside of your left foot. If you have some tight hamstrings, then grab a strap that is looped across the left sole.
- Tense the thigh muscles of the front of the leg that is standing, and jut the outer thigh inside to you.
- Bring up and extend left leg outward. Make the knee as straight as you can. If you’re real balanced then let the left leg swing out to the side. Breathe right, and breathing takes a lot of focus too. It will make sure that you maintain your balance though.
- Hold the pose for 30 seconds, then make the leg swing back to the center as you inhale, and stretch the foot down to the floor while you let out an exhale. Repeat this on the other side for same duration of time.
One beginner’s tip is that you might be able to hold this pose longer if you support the raised foot on the top edge of the back of a chair. Make sure the chair is an inch or two from the wall, and press the heel that’s raised firmly to the wall. A preparatory pose for this is the Supta Padangusthasana. A follow-up pose for this is the Uttanasana.