The zamasana for the month of april is Utthita Hasta Padangustasana (oo-TEET-uh-HAWS-tuh POD-ung-goos-THAWS-un-nuh) or extended hand-to-big-toe pose. This pose is challenging and powerful, and has many benefits including stretching the hamstrings and hips, strengthening the back and arms, improving your sense of balance and calming the mind to help improve focus.
Here are the steps to practice extended hand-to-big-toe pose:
- Start in Mountain Pose. Draw your left knee in towards your belly and interlace your fingertips in front of your shin and square your pelvis. Pause here for a breath and enjoy the stretch.
- Reach your left hand on the inside of your left knee and take hold of your big toe with your thumb and pointer fingers. Pause here finding balance and then slowly extend your foot. Straighten your knee fully if you can.
- Keeping your leg straight and high, extend your foot towards the left. Keep your right hand on your right hip, or extend your hand out towards the right. Keep the shoulders level and relaxed away from the ears.
- Look over your right shoulder, keeping your chin parallel to the ground to complete the pose fully.
- Stay here for 15-30 seconds, then return to Mountain Pose. Repeat on the other side.
- This pose can be done in stages if you are not able to do all of the above steps in order. Until you are able to complete the full pose, stop at step 2 or 3 and take a few breaths.
Enjoy Utthita Hasta Padangustasana!