Toe Stand Pose / Padangustasana
Here we are at the last posture of the standing series- Toe Stand. Sometimes fear will come up as a new student when first learning this posture. Once you realize that there is nothing to fear, progress can happen very quickly. This posture is so great for the knees and hips- especially building strength around the knees, which are one of the hardest parts of the body to strengthen. It's also pretty super for developing mental strength.
To do Toe Stand, simply start in a standing position. Find a spot four feet in front of you on the floor. Keep your focus on that one spot. Bring your foot up just like Tree pose, keep your standing leg straight, then bend forward until your hands touch the floor. It is best to have your hands a little forward of your foot so you can lean your weight into the hands. With the weight on the hands taking the pressure away from your standing knee, slowly bend your knee and sit down on your heel, balancing on your toes.
Remember that as long as you try your best you get 100% benefit: if all you can do today for Toe Stand is focus on the floor, or work on grabbing your foot, do that!
Keep focusing on that one spot on the floor. If you look in the mirror there is a greater tendency to lose your balance. Plus, you just spent the entire standing series looking in the mirror! This is a chance to practice feeling your body's position in a different way.
Once you are sitting on your heel, bring your hands back to the side of the hips. At first just bring your left hand up, keeping your balance with the right hand. Next, bring your right hand up and put your hands in prayer position. Stretch your spine towards the ceiling, still focusing on the floor with your eyes. Before you know it, you will be balancing on your toes!
When you are ready, put your hands on the floor in front of you and come up slowly, the opposite way you went down. Give yourself a nice smile in the mirror, then get ready to relax in savasana... you've earned it!
One of the best ways to learn more about the postures is to read Bikram's "Beginning Yoga Class" book. Aim to join class 3 to 5 times a week to practice what you learn, and you will definitely make your body smile.
Studio leader, yoga-doer and life-lover, Kay D.