Toe-stand (Padangustasana) comes at the end of the standing series in Bikram, when you’ve been working hard for 40 minutes. As a result, it can be tempting to cut corners, or even skip it. However, it has great benefits for balance, strengthens the feet, ankles, legs and core, as well as increasing flexibility. In other words, it’s worth doing!
There is an excellent article in Yoga Journal that gives tips on how to improve your toe stand. By doing complementary exercises, you develop strength, balance and mental and physical agility. Below are two suggested exercises. For the full article go to Yoga Journal.
From Tadasana (Mountain Pose), place your hands in prayer position (Anjali Mudra) in front of your chest and start bending your knees, pressing your thighs and heels into one another. Lift your heels off the floor, pressing the balls of the feet down as you keep your core engaged. Maintain a long spine, trying not to hunch over or lean forward as you lower. This will help you build core strength and find your balancing point. Hold here, taking 10 deep breaths.
Start seated with both knees bent in front of your chest and your feet flat on the floor. Extend your right leg out in front of you and reach for your right foot with both hands. Keep your sitting bones grounded and lift your chest. Then, when you’re ready, shift your body weight forward, pressing the foot of your bent left leg into the floor. Press down so much with your left foot that your hips and right leg lift and you find yourself balancing. This pose will increase your ankle strength and flexibility. Look at one point in front of you and take 10 deep breaths before switching sides.
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