Here is a list of the poses I’ve done previously (see also "focus poses" in the tags):
If you are a practitioner of the Astanga (also spelled Ashtanga) sequence, we are now moving into our balance poses. The first of the two is Utthita Hasta Padangusthasa - Hand to Big Toe pose or Hand to Knee pose, depending on your abilities.
From Parsvottanasana (pyramid), we have returned to samasthti at the front of our mat.
EXHALE, open the leg to the right. If in a level 2/3, some folks may need to revert to a level 1 or bent knee position here, or level 2/fingers to toes with a bent knee.
INHALE - bring leg back to front all levels.
INHALE straighten and exhale, let go of the leg. Working either with bent leg or straight, hold the toes as high off the ground as comfortable for you.
EXHALE release leg to the floor.
Repeat Left Side.
Return to samasthti
Tips and pointers:
Many people find this to be a very challenging balance pose. Several items will help in maintaining stability and steadfastness:
1) Dristhti – traditional drishti is somewhere out in front of your nose. I find the floor works better for me, as then I can more readily ‘ignore’ the people around me. If you are watching others and they start to wobble, so shall you.
2) Engage your core! Use uddyanda bandha here! A lot of this pose comes from your center.
4) Relax your shoulders!
5) And, again, try and avoid the tendency to “hunch over” to get the leg straighter.
• Strengthens the legs and ankles
• Stretches the backs of the legs
• Engages the core
• Improves balance
Bonus! While searching for appropriate photo's I could use, I came across this lovely clip on YouTube Ashtanga Primary Series with Maria Villella: