Anatomy of Big Toe Pose

Flexion from the hips allows the upper body to come forward and passively hang. Extension through the arms means the index and middle fingers of each hand can reach between and around the big toes. The stretch is mainly focused on the hamstrings which is a made up of three muscles; two running on the inside of the thigh, originating from the sit bone in the pelvis and inserting into the tibia bone on the lower inside leg. The third muscle, bicep femoris, runs from the midline of the leg originating from the sit bone and the upper part of the femur bone, and inserts into the fibula bone on the outside lower leg, at the side of the knee. For the last few issues the word fascia has been used to describe the relationship between the muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones of the body. When performing Padangusthasana, make sure your feet are parallel and about six inches apart; this will avoid any miss-alignment with the knee.

The superficial back line (sbl), which is the posterior fascial connection, runs from the bottom of the foot up into the skull. This will go into extension when going into the pose .So even though we talk of the primary stretch being the hamstrings and calf muscles; it is really secondary, as the fascia is the primary stretch. Postures will go deeper if we can relax into the stretch and understand when we are accessing the fascial system. By focusing on the breath and relaxing into the posture you can then engage the whole of the sbl.

This posture requires a reasonable level of hip flexibility to complete the full pose, but if you are at the early stages of yoga a strap can be used around the toes. Be mindful of when hip flexibility ends so you can adjust and continuebending from the waist.

Padangusthasana will gently lengthen and strengthen hamstrings and the calf muscles.

The other muscles involved in this pose are the calf muscles, which originate at the back of the knee and insert into the achilles tendon.

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