How To Do Toe Stand For Better Balance, Flexibility & Strength
Toe stand is one of those advanced postures that can be a bit of a challenge at first. Not only does it require balancing one side of the body but the ball of your foot, no less, which calls for a good degree of foot and ankle strength. That said, with proper form (and a little patience), anyone can learn to stick their toe stand. Here's how to do it, as demonstrated by certified yoga and meditation instructor, Pilin Anice.
How to do toe stand (padangustasana):
- Starting from mountain pose, shift your weight into the right leg.
- Bring the left foot in toward the right hip with the sole facing up (similar to half-lotus), and take a few breaths here.
- Begin to lean forward, reaching for the floor. Start to bend the standing knee as you push your left foot into your right leg. If you need to, you can place your fingertips on the ground as you lower into a squat (or you can try to squat without using your hands).
- From the squat, lift your right heel and center the ball of your foot under your tailbone.
- Begin to lift your chest up so you're "sitting" upright on top of your foot. If necessary, you can keep using your fingertips to support you as you try to sit up. Lift one hand at a time off the floor.
- Once you find your balance here, bring your hands to prayer and hold for five breaths. Exit by slowly standing back up, left leg still tucked in, and release the leg once standing.
- Repeat on the opposite side.
Tips and modifications:
- Working both tree pose and half-lotus will allow you the balance and flexibility needed for toe stand.
- If your hip mobility is limited, try squatting low on the balls of your feet with knees squeezing together.
- Prioritize a proud, open chest and straight spine before trying to bring your hands to prayer. If you need your fingers on the floor for support when doing this, they can stay there while you breathe.
What are the benefits?
This pose can look deceivingly simple, but in actuality, it's going to work a lot of areas you may not normally focus on, like your toes and ankles. You'll also challenge your abdominals and spine, as this pose requires a strong, solid midsection for stability.
On top of that, it can help strengthen your joints (particularly the hips and knees), which can, in turn, relieve arthritis and other joint pain. And, of course, the balance required in this pose will help you cultivate more concentration, focus, and stillness.
Take it slow, don't be afraid to modify, and have fun with it. If you fall out, that's OK! Slowly but surely, you'll find yourself balancing in toe stand for more than five breaths, and your body will reap all the benefits.
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, a registered yoga instructor, and an avid astrologer and tarot reader. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from State University of New York at Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.