Padangusthasana, Big Toe Pose
Stand straight in Samasthiti. With exhalation bend forward while keeping your spine and knees straight. Now grab your toes and try to bring your upper body closer to your legs while keeping your spine straight. Lean your body weight on your toes and stay in the position for 20 to 30 seconds. Keep normal breathing, then slowly come up and repeat the posture 2 to 3 times.
As a variation you can also bend forward, grab your toes and try to lift up your upper body instead of bringing it close to your legs and give your body an opposite stretch.
To make it more advanced you can also bring your arm to the back of your legs and grab your ankles or fold your arms behind your legs and thus hug your legs. Keep your body weight on the toes in this position as well.
Practicing Padangusthasana is very beneficial for your hamstrings, for toning the calve muscles, strengthening the thighs and also improving your digestion.
With the inversion in this yoga pose you give some pressure to your abdominal region which stimulates liver, kidneys and spleen.
For women it is a good exercise to relieve the symptoms of menopause, such as pain and cramps in the lower abdomen. But also sleeping disorders can be relieved due to the higher oxygen flow in the body.
Padangusthasana increases the blood circulation in your body especially in lungs and brain as it is a half inverted pose where your upper body is hanging down. Coming up and down by repeating this posture a few times is changing the circulation in your whole body and because of that helps you if you are suffering from mild headaches or insomnia. It is good for calming the brain and relieving stress as well. It boosts your energy.
In this way this nice balancing pose can also help you if you are suffering from depression and anxiety.
Pashchimottanasana or Sirshasana are also bending and inverting poses however this one puts no pressure on the spinal column. On the contrary, it even increases the blood circulation in the spinal column and in your hands and feet.
Your body weight should always be on your toes in this position. Furthermore try to keep your knees as stretched as possible and try to press your knees further inside.
Of course, you then focus on bringing your upper body as close to your legs as possible.
Before practicing this posture, you can do Pashchimottanasana because bending forward in sitting is easier and releases and relaxes the hamstrings and your leg muscles. When you muscles are warmed up a bit this posture will be easier for you.
Avoid practicing this yoga posture if you have diarrhea, a heavy cold, back pain or back injuries or a displacement of sacrum.