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How to Stretch Your Hamstrings 2009-12-21 08:00:58

Strike a Yoga Pose: Big Toe Standing Forward Bend

Chances are high if you have taken a yoga class, you have done a forward bend. This variation of the pose is a wonderful stretch for the hamstrings and spine — I love to do it in the shower (I just hold my nose) after a long run. It looks simple enough, but if the backs of your legs are tight, this pose will be quite challenging. And of course, if you find the pose challenging that is the very reason you need to do it.

Sanskrit Name: Padangusthasana
English Translation: Foot Big Toe Pose
Also Called: Big Toe Standing Forward Bend or Standing Forward Bend

If you can't quite reach your toes, don't worry. Learn some variations when you


  • Begin standing at the front of your mat. Step your feet hip distance apart.
  • Take a deep breath in extending through your spine, and as you exhale, hinge at your hips, reaching your head out as you fold down. Keep your legs and back completely straight, and rest your hands as low as you can, either on your knees, shins, ankles, or if you can, clasp the big toes with your first two fingers and thumb. Bend your elbows out to the sides.
  • Wherever your hands are, continue to lengthen the spine. If you can, tuck your chin in, relaxing the back of your neck, and releasing your shoulders away from your ears. Draw the top of your head toward the floor and your torso toward your legs by using your ab muscles.
  • Hold here for five deep breaths. Inhale to straighten your arms, and exhale to come up to standing.

Have any burning questions about yoga? Then post them to the Yoga Stretch and Tell group.

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