The toe stand is a balancing pose in Bikram yoga. (Image by @santitania92 via Instagram)

What Is the Toe Stand (Padangusthasana) In Bikram Yoga? Tips, Technique, Correct Form, Benefits and Common Mistakes

Ruby khanna
ANALYST

The toe stand (Padangusthasana) is an advanced-level balancing asana in Bikram yoga. It largely targets the feet, hips, and core muscles and challenges the flexibility and strength of your hips, ankle joints, and knees, while maintaining stability and balance.

How to do the toe stand in Bikram yoga?

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Learn how to do Padangusthasana with these steps:

  • Before beginning the pose, perform a few hip stretches and then enter the toe stand from the half lotus pose (Ardha Padmasana Vrksasana). You may also start with a tree pose or mountain pose.
  • Stand on your left leg, and inhale as you take the top of your right foot towards your left hip. Breathe easily as you do this to develop balance.
  • As you exhale, slowly bend your left knee and anchor your right foot on your left thigh.
  • As you reach a squatting position, raise your left heel so that your body is balanced on the ball of your foot.
  • In the squat position, make sure the heel of your left foot is under your body in the center.
  • For more balance, you can keep your fingertips on the floor just in front of you.
  • Now tighten your core muscles and start to raise one or both your hands off the ground.
  • Maintain a stable balance and bring both your hands to the Anjali mudra or prayer position in front of your chest.
  • Hold the position for a few breaths, and then release the pose with controlled movement.
  • Rise back again to the half lotus pose and shake your legs.
  • Repeat the exercise on the other side.

Important tips:

Consider these tips when performing the toe stand in Bikram yoga.

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  • If you have tight hips that don’t allow you to perform the half lotus pose then balance your body in a squat position with your knees together and heels lifted off the floor.
  • To help build your strength and balance, try performing this asana with your back against a wall.
  • If you are unable to keep your foot up to your hip, allow it to rest on your standing leg.
  • Stay in the toe stand pose for a longer period and try to focus your gaze on a fixed point. This will help you maintain a good balance.
  • Try to do this asana without letting your fingertips touch the ground.
  • To make the pose more challenging, try doing it with closed eyes as this will make it harder for you to maintain balance.

Benefits of the toe stand:

The primary benefit of this yoga pose is that it helps stimulate the digestive system and prevents bloating, constipation and flatulence. It also stretches and strengthens the thigh muscles and improves your overall workout functionality. This asana is great for improving core strength and balance and can also be used to reduce joint pain. It opens the hips while strengthening the feet and core muscles.

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Padangusthasana helps in stimulating your lower back muscles, which in return improves your posture and prevents certain postural issues, including stiffness and lower back pain. Additionally, this yoga pose helps to improve blood circulation and promotes cognitive functioning, while preventing neurodegenerative conditions. It also benefits women who suffer painful menstruation and also helps reduce the discomforting symptoms experienced in the menopause.

Apart from these, the toe stand offers some great mental advantages too, including calming the mind and body and helping develop focus and willpower.

Common mistakes to avoid:

Avoid these mistakes when doing the toe stand to prevent injuries and make the most out of this yoga pose.

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Not mastering the half lotus pose/tree pose/mountain pose:

To start with the asana, you need to first learn how to perform the tree pose, half lotus pose, or mountain pose. Be comfortable with the foundations of these poses and then only attempt the toe stand.

Not breathing properly:

If you are not breathing properly, you are missing out on the key advantages of this asana, i.e. calming the mind. If you are holding your breath frequently, relax and refocus on the asana.

Poor alignment:

If you are struggling to maintain your balance, the best you can do is check your foot's position. Always keep your feet as close and center as you can with your body. If your feet are away from the centerline, you won’t be able to keep up your balance.


Bottom line:

Do not attempt the toe stand in Bikram yoga if you have knee problems, low blood pressure, injuries to your knees, hips, ankles, or feet, or have had surgery in the past. Also, skip this pose if you are feeling lightheadedness and dizziness. Consult your doctor or physical therapist before changing or starting any new yoga routine.


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Edited by nicolaas.ackermann12
 
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