IMPROVES BALANCE AND WORKS THE LEGS
- Stretches the backs of the legs.
- Strengthens the ankles, legs and back.
- Improves balance and concentration.
Stand in Mountain pose with your hands on your hips. Fix your gaze and shift your weight to your left leg. Raise your right foot off the floor and take your first two fingers around your big toe. Inhale and exhale; steady your mind and find your balance.
Inhale; lift your spine, broaden your chest.
Exhaling, set your shoulders down your back and begin to straighten your leg out in front. If you cant straighten your leg completely, try either bending your supporting leg, or only extending your raised leg as far as you can without rounding your back.
Hold for 5-10 breaths, finding a balance by drawing on your big toe while at the same time strongly flexing the heel away.
To come out of the pose: maintaining as much lift in the pose as you can, exhaling, slowly bend and lower your right leg, releasing it back down to the floor.
Repeat on the opposite side.
MODIFICATIONS & VARIATIONS:
If you are finding it hard to balance, you can practice the pose with your back to a wall, or holding on to the back of a chair.
If the backs of your legs are tight, try taking a scarf or belt around the sole of your foot and perform the pose as described above, holding on to the ends of the belt/scarf instead of directly holding your toe.
This pose can also be practiced with the leg extended out to the side.