Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana or Extended Hand-To-Big-Toe Pose
Here's the deal with this pose. First, try it laying on the ground. See how far you can bring your toe to your extended hand before you grab onto it. Can you get there? If you CAN'T, then you need to RESPECT YOUR DAMN LIMITS! Ahimsa y'all! It is the ultimate ego checker. Stop pulling on your limbs; they just showed you how far they want to go and then you go yanking them. Stop it...cut it out! Practice non-violence towards your body.
Second, you can try this pose in the stand up position. Use a strap and keep your foot at the same height. When you let that leg go, can you keep it lifted? Can you refrain from dumping into the belly, rounding your back, and poking your neck forward? If not, lower the leg so it can actually work for your body. The rest of your body will stop freaking out because you are trying to grab your toe and it is higher than your body allows. It does not matter if you can reach your toe. It does not make one bit of difference; it’s about the practice. The process. What is your mind doing? Are you getting angry at yourself because you cannot grab that toe? THAT is the practice. Don't just look at the toe...look at your thoughts while you are trying to grab it!
That's the mirror. Yoga is showing you YOU. This is why this pose is so great. It can be super duper discouraging and that’s okay. It's important that you can see how you react...to yourself.
On an anatomy level, press down into the heel of the standing foot to lift the hip higher in the socket. Hug in the outer thigh of the standing leg toward the inner thigh. Make them work together to create balance. Engage your glute and turn the light twitch on in the lower belly. Keep traveling up from there. Lift your upper abdominal, move your sternum forward and UPWARD, and meet with the back body drawing the bottom tips of the scapula down, recruiting the rhomboids and traps to move those scapula onto the upper back. Lift your arms with so much vitality and SMILE and relax your dang jaw already and stop pushing your tongue all crazy against the roof of your mouth. Cut it out. ENJOY wherever you are. This is where you are: Embrace it, Love it, Be thankful. Life is giving you a moment to grab your TOE!