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Phuket: Firm feet for a firm future

PHUKET: “Yoga does not remove us from the reality or responsibilities of everyday life but rather places our feet firmly and resolutely in the practical ground of experience. We don't transcend our lives; we return to the life we left behind in the hopes of something better. –Donna Farhi

By Kim White

Friday 7 December 2012, 04:35PM

Hello and welcome to asana three in a balance series.

Your body is balancing, even when you are not thinking about it; in everyday life, when you exercise, and during your active pastimes.

Good balance and a strong core go hand in hand – a strong core improves the posture, decreases back pain and improves your moveability in everyday life and when you are exercising.

As mentioned last on month, the better you balance the less likely you are to fall or injure yourself. So, If you haven't paid much attention to keeping or improving your balance, now is a great time to start.

This month we focus on the ‘standing big toe pose’ otherwise known as Utthita Hasta Padangustasana. However I do hear a lot of people call it “What!”, “Never going to happen” and “You’re kidding me”.

The big toe pose is not as difficult as you would imagine and there are progressive steps that can be taken so that you achieve success.

The benefits of this asana are simple but fundamental to ongoing health and wellbeing.

  1. Strengthens the legs and ankles

  2. Stretches the hamstrings

  3. Improves sense of balance

  4. Improve posture

  5. Increase core strength.

These are the steps for practicing this asana:

Beginners you may want to find a chair or a wall to help you with stability until you are feeling more confident.

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  1. Start with the left foot flat on the floor and the right foot with the heel lifted. Get a sense of a spreading balance in the grounded left foot.

  2. Place your left hand on your hip for a counterbalance, beginners place your left hand on a chair as seen in photo one.

  3. Bend your right knee upward and reach your right hand to hold onto the under side of the right thigh (photo two), if you are tight through the hamstring, if not hold the outside of your right foot or right big toe (photo three). The knee is still bent at this stage. (You can progressively walk your hand down the leg to the toe as you improve.)

  4. Hold the left thigh muscles firm and continually maintain an even spread through the left foot.

  5. Inhale and extend the right leg out to the side, straighten the knee as much as possible. Breathe steadily, breathing helps with balance and I find if I feel like I am loosing balance I take a deep breath out and direct the exhalation to my grounded foot.

  6. Try to maintain an upright position with the torso one that is not leaning to much to the sides, forward or back.

  7. Hold for 30 seconds, then bend the knee back to center with an inhale, and lower the foot to the floor with an exhale. Repeat on the left side for the same length of time.

Concentrating the breath and mind on achieving balance with this posture is a useful stepping stone to using breath and mind in achieving balance in other areas of your life.



Kim White is the owner of Sala Suddhavasa, an internal arts centre in Rawai offering private and group sessions in taiji, yoga and meditation: 086-276-9174,;

The opinions and advice contained in this column are those of the author only. The Phuket News is not responsible for the outcome or results of following any advice in any situation.



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