Utthita Padangusthasana I

Stand in Tadasana and press the feet down as you stretch up through the crown of the head. Spread the toes and the balls of the feet, and lift the inner and outer arches for support and rebounding of the energy up the legs. Gaze softly ahead. Shift your weight onto your left foot, still maintaining Tadasana. Inhale and bend the right leg, lift the foot off the ground, and clasp the right big toe with the first and second fingers of the right hand (SEE FIGURE 14-19).

Reestablish the grounding of the left foot as you exhale and fully stretch the right leg in two directions, from the knee to the foot and from the knee to the hip. Try to maintain level hips. Release the bent knee hip down and stabilize the standing leg. The right arm is also outstretched. Create a long spine and gaze ahead. Stay for a few breaths and then release and do the other side.

FIGURE 14-19: Utthita Padangusthasana I

FIGURE 14-20: Modified Utthita Padangusthasana I

Instead of straightening the raised leg, you can also try keeping it bent and interlocking the fingers under the thigh, close to the knee (SEE FIGURE 14-20). Let the weight of the thigh come into the hands. Try to level your hips by releasing the bent knee hip down and strongly grounding the standing foot and stretching the standing leg.

Or, try using a belt around the balls of the raised foot. Practice with the knee bent (SEE FIGURE 14-21,) or extend the leg (SEE FIGURE 14-22,).

FIGURE 14-21: Utthita Padangusthasana I, with belt

FIGURE 14-22: Utthita Padangusthasana I with belt and straight leg

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