Enjoy the benefits of a deep forward fold in Padangusthasana, Big Toe Pose. The benefits include: a deep stretch in the hamstrings and along the back of the spine, a release of tension in the neck, shoulders and low-back, an increase of blood-flow to the brain, as well relief from headaches and issues with sciatic pain.
To do Big Toe Pose: Come to standing in Tadasana, Mountain Pose. Bring the feet to hip-width distance apart. Ground firmly through the feet and firm the thighs. Bring the palms to the hips. Take an inhale breath and lengthen the crown of the head and chest towards the ceiling, option to lift the gaze. On an exhale, bring a slight bend to the knees, and draw the low-belly in towards the spine as you lower slowly with a flat-back.
On an inhale breath, lengthen the crown of the head and sternum forward. On an exhale breath, fold forward and allow the head to reach towards the feet rather than the knees, creating a long spine rather than a rounded one. Allow the elbows to come out to the sides of the body.
Use the breath as a tool to enhance the pose. Accentuate each breath and envision the exhale breath is moving into the areas of tightness. Let go of any negative self-dialogue or judgments. Enjoy the sensation of slowing down while focusing on the breath and any sensations in the body.
Completely relax the head and neck. Draw the shoulder-blades flush to the back and lift the shoulder blades towards the ceiling. Draw the low-belly in towards the spine and lengthen the crown of the head further towards the ground. Slightly shift the weight forward towards the ball-mounds of the feet and notice how the core becomes active in order to stabilize the body from falling over.
Stay here and breath for up to 5 slow rounds of breath. Allow time and patience for the backs of the thighs to open. Over time and through dedicated practice, you may find it easier to straighten the legs more. Never force or “muscle” your way in order to deepen the pose.
To slowly come out of the pose: release the grip from the toes. Bring the palms to the hips and bring a slight bend in the knees. On an inhale breath, begin to lift the gaze and rise up with a flat back. Exhale at the top after coming to a standing position in Tadasana, Mountain Pose. Notice how you feel after slowing down and caring for the body and the mind. Allow the breath to come back to natural.
Check with your doctor before performing any form of exercise including yoga and breathing techniques. Always honor your body. If a posture gives you pain, gently come out.
Christi Iacono, owner of In Rhythms Yoga
Christi Iacono is a certified yoga teacher, at the 500 hour level, and she is the owner of In Rhythms Yoga, in Clairemont. IRY is a small neighborhood studio in Clairemont, S.D., located in the Mount Streets. Christi has experienced many positive physical and mental transformations from her regular yoga practice. She enjoys sharing her experience, passion, and dedication with her students. She believes that yoga is accessible to all. Rather than forcing someone’s body into a pose, Christi carefully works with each individual to find the variation that will best serve their body. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
IRY offers regularly scheduled classes on, Sat., Sun. and Wed. mornings as well as a Tues. evening class. Go to www.inrhythmsyoga.com to see the full schedule, instructors and for private lessons.