I consider balance poses to be my weakness when it comes to yoga. This may explain the lack of balance pose posts thus far. Here’s my attempt at what I like to call UHB. Trust me, it needs the acronym. UHB stands for Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana.. yeah. And in English, it’s called Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose.. yeah. Anyway, it is said that you must hold a balance pose for at least 30 seconds to a minute, and I’ve not yet been able to reach the 30 second mark before tumbling to the ground first. I only held it long enough for the picture!
How to via Yoga Journal:
- From Tadasana, bring your left knee toward your belly.
- Reach your left arm inside the thigh, cross it over the front ankle, and hold the outside of your left foot. If your hamstrings are tight, hold a strap looped around the left sole.
- Firm the front thigh muscles of the standing leg, and press the outer thigh inward.
- Inhale and extend the left leg forward. Straighten the knee as much as possible. If you’re steady, swing the leg out to the side. Breathe steadily; breathing takes concentration, but it helps you balance.
- Hold for 30 seconds, then swing the leg back to center with an inhale, and lower the foot to the floor with an exhale. Repeat on the other side for the same length of time.
As you can see from my face, I’m pretty focused on trying not to fall over. That in itself is the benefit of practicing balance poses. You have to be mindful of the present, aware of your surroundings, and focused on your breath. Does that sound hippie, or what? But… it’s kind of true! Physically speaking though, holding this pose is great for strengthening your core and stretching your hamstring, all the while using your forearm and shoulder muscles. Good stuff.