How to practice: Utthita Hasta Pādānguṣṭhāsana A,B, C (Extended Big Toe Pose)

by Delight Yoga

The Primary Series is said to be the most demanding part of Astanga Vinyasa Yoga, because it is the first series you learn as a beginner... and every beginning is hard.  It is called Yoga Chikitsa, meaning Yoga Therapy. It is a series for cleansing and healing the body.

The Primary Series sets the basis for all of the following series. If you look superficially at the system it seems as if Primary Series is the easiest of the six series in the Astanga Vinyasa System, but in fact, it is the most demanding because it is here that you start your practice, where you get used to the breath and Vinyasas and to the daily Yoga routine. All further series don’t really bring anything new. They just bring some new positions to a system you are already used to.
 

Utthita Hasta Pādānguṣṭhāsana A, B, C Instructions

1. ekam
Inhale, lift right leg, take big toe
Dhristi: to the nose (nāsāgre)

2. dve
Exhale, bend forward, chin to shinbone

- 5 breaths, Utthita Hasta Pādānguṣṭhāsana (right side)
  Dhristi: to the tip of the foot (pādayoragre)

3. trīṇi
Inhale, lift head
Dhristi: to the nose (nāsāgre)

4. catvāri
Exhale, leg to the right, look over left shoulder

- 5 breaths, Utthita Pārśvasahita (right side)
  Dhristi: sidewards (pārśvadṛṣṭi)

5. pañca
Inhale, leg forward
Dhristi: to the nose (nāsāgre)

6. ṣaṭ
Exhale, raise leg up, touch head to shinbone
Dhristi: to the tip of the foot (pādayoragre)

7. sapta
Inhale, head up, hands to waist, point toes

- 5 breaths, Utthita Hasta Pādānguṣṭhāsana (right side)
  Dhristi: to the nose (nāsāgre)

- Exhale, lower leg

8. aṣṭau
Inhale, lift left leg, take big toe
Dhristi: to the nose (nāsāgre)

9. nava
Exhale, bend forward, chin to shinbone

- 5 breaths, Utthita Hasta Pādānguṣṭhāsana (left side)
  Dhristi: to the tip of the foot (pādayoragre)

10. daśa
Inhale, lift head
Dhristi: to the nose (nāsāgre)

11. ekādaśa
Exhale, leg to the left, look over right shoulder

- 5 breaths, Utthita Pārśvasahita (left side)
  Dhristi: sidewards (pārśvadṛṣṭi)

12. dvādaśa
Inhale, leg again forward
Dhristi: to the nose (nāsāgre)

13. trayodaśa
Exhale, raise leg up, touch head to shinbone
Dhristi: to the tip of the foot (pādayoragre)

14. caturdaśa
Inhale, head up, hands to waist, point toes

- 5 breaths, Utthita Hasta Pādānguṣṭhāsana (left side)
  Dhristi: to the nose (nāsāgre)

- Exhale, lower the leg, Samasthitiḥ
  Dhristi : to the nose (nāsāgre)
 

Utthita Hasta Pādānguṣṭhāsana A, B, C Benefits

- Stretches the back legs, making the leg muscles powerful

- Opens the hip joints (except for C)

- Improves balance and coordination

- Improves steadiness and poise in the body

- Increases concentration and mental focus