Toe Stand Pose (Padangusthasana)

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Toe Stand Pose, Padangusthasana, (pahd-ang-guhs-TAHS-uh-nuh)

pada (foot) + angustha (big toe) + asana (pose)

Also Known as: Padangusthasana

Pose Type: Balancing, Strengthening, Standing

Difficulty: Intermediate

a woman wearing black yoga clothes doing toe stand pose

Concentration and patience are crucial to nail this balancing yoga pose.

Toe Stand Pose Fundamentals

Toe Stand Pose is a challenging balancing asana that first appeared in Bikram yoga, but is now included in other yoga styles as well.

The Sanskrit name of this pose translates as “Big Toe Pose”, but the name was slightly changed to avoid confusion with the Big Toe Pose from Ashtanga Yoga.

This is an advanced asana, as it requires well-developed balance, stability, and flexibility in the lower body. Its complexity doesn’t only bring physical benefits such as greater balance and improved posture but also helps students to calm their minds and improve their concentration and focus.

Practicing your concentration in yoga can also help you in regular activities off the mat, especially nowadays when many things are fighting for our attention. It may also help you learn how helpful a calm and steady mind can be when combating difficult situations.

Spiritually, this pose may help one reach inner silence, and many advanced students will hold it with eyes closed to help them turn inward.

Toe Stand Pose & Energetics

At an energetic level, Toe Stand Pose stimulates the first three chakras, particularly the Root Chakra.

Balancing these lower energy centers may help you feel more emotionally stable, strong, and grounded.

Toe Stand Pose Benefits

  • Stretches and lengthens the hips, inner groin muscles, and hamstrings of the folded foot, and quads and foot of the standing leg.
  • Strengthens the knees and ankles, as well as the core
  • Builds focus and concentration, as well as your sense of balance and stability
  • The complexity of the alignment in this pose can help you increase body awareness, and mentally prepare you for even more challenging yoga poses.
  • The hip opening helps release tension and toxins in the lower body, and alleviates lower back pain. 
  • Stimulates the internal organs of the abdomen and pelvis, which may boost the function of the digestive and reproductive systems.
  • Stimulates the downward flow of prana, which helps with detoxification and elimination.
  • Once you’re able to hold the pose, it can help clear your thoughts and bring you to a calmer state of mind. 
an annotated image of a woman wearing black yoga clothes doing toe stand pose

How To Do Toe Stand Pose: Step-By-Step

How To Get There:

1. This pose begins from the Half Lotus Tree Pose. If you already feel enough challenge in that asana, you can remain there.

2. For Half Lotus Tree Pose, begin standing on your left foot, and lift the top of the right foot towards the left inner hip. Hold for a breath to find your balance.

3. From there, move into Toe Stand Pose, by bending the left knee, and keeping the right foot on the left thigh.

4. Once you reach your deepest squat, lift the left heel, so you’re managing your weight only on the ball of the foot.

5. Check your left foot – it should sit in the centerline of your body, and not under the left hip.

6. You can hold your hands in a prayer position close to your chest, or keep your fingers on the floor if you need more balance.

7. Hold for 5 deep and long breaths. Then, with control, slowly raise back into Half Lotus Tree Pose. Move To Mountain Pose, shake out your legs to release tension, then repeat the same steps on the other side.

Tips And Tricks:

  • Enter the pose slowly – if you try to rush the pose, you’ll easily lose balance. Slow moment will help you utilize your strength and feel more stable when entering the pose.
  • Keep your spine long – reach through your crown and open your chest.
  • Keeping the foot close to the center instead of off to the side will help you balance.
  • Before Toe Stand Pose, practice other hip openers, especially if you have tighter hips.
  • If you struggle with balance, prep your body with other balancing asanas, such as Tree Pose.
  • This pose isn’t easy – so don’t give up if you fell once or twice. Keep trying, and you’ll certainly get better with each attempt.

Toe Stand Pose Variations:

Toe Squat

an annotated image of a woman wearing black yoga clothes doing a yoga squat

If you have tighter hips, it will be difficult to enter the Half Lotus. Instead, focus on improving your balance with the Toe Squat.

For this variation, leave both feet on the ground, and slowly enter the squat with heels lifted and knees together.

Later, you can progress by placing one foot on the other thigh, but closer to the knee instead of entering the Half Lotus, which requires you to tuck the foot into the hip. 

Toe Stand With Props

If the balance is an issue, you can practice with your back against a wall for support.

You can also stand next to a wall or chair on the side of your standing leg and place your hand on it whenever you feel you’re losing balance. 

Tree Pose With Leg In Half Lotus

You can work on improving both your balance and your hip flexibility by remaining in the preparatory position for Toe Stand Pose which is Tree Pose With Leg In Half Lotus.

In fact, it is recommended to master that pose first, before attempting the Toe Stand.

For this variation, begin in Mountain Pose, then lift your left leg and place the foot into the right hip crease for Half Lotus. If you’d like to bring it up a notch, you can move your left hand behind the back and grab the big left toe. Hold for a couple of breaths, release, and repeat on the other side.

Precautions & Contraindications:

Common misalignments

Practicing without nailing Tree Pose With Leg In Half Lotus first. The best way to progress in yoga is to do it gradually – and in this asana you will build the necessary stability, focus, balance, strength, and flexibility by first mastering the Tree Pose With Leg in Half Lotus. 

Improper alignment. The cause of balance issues in standing poses is often the wrong alignment, especially in the feet. Since your foot is the only point touching the ground in Toe Stand Pose, it’s important to align it correctly. Keep it as close to the centerline of your body as you can. 

Injuries and Conditions

Avoid Toe Stand Pose if it causes knee pain or if you already have knee issues. Also avoid if you have an injury or have recently undergone surgery in the feet, hips, pelvis, ankles, or legs. Finally, refrain from all balancing positions if you have low blood pressure or are experiencing dizziness.

Related Poses

Garland Pose

Tree Pose With Leg In Half Lotus

Half Lotus Pose

Preparatory Poses:

Bound Angle Pose

Tree Pose

Fire Log Pose

Counter Poses:

Seated Forward Bend

Wide-Legged Forward Bend

Standing Split Pose

yogajala break 1000 × 40 px 1

For more in-depth asana resources, check out our free Yoga Pose Library. Here you’ll find complete guides to each and every yoga asana to deepen your yoga knowledge.

Each pose page features high-quality photos, anatomy insights, tips and tricks, pose instructions and queues, asana variations, and preparatory and counter poses.

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Sara lives in Croatia, near the sea, with her dog. She enjoys exploring nature, and making art. She is currently developing a series of children’s/YA stories and comics in her native language, which she feels complements her work and allows her to live her dream life – having yoga, writing, art, and nature in her every day.

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