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Utkatasana (toe balance pose)

 


Utkat - Raised

In this asana, the practitioner is squatting on the ground, with the heels raised. The weight of the entire body is balanced on the toes and balls of the feet.

 

Taking the asana position

 

Initial Position - Sitting position

 

1. Bend the legs in close to the body one after the other. Rest both palms on the ground and come onto the toes.
2. While maintaining balance, straighten the back and lift both hands from the ground and place them on the knees (Right palm on the right knee and left palm on the left knee). Maintain the balance of the body in this position and gaze forward.

The asana position

 

In this asana, the body is balanced only on the balls and toes of the feet. The thighs are kept parallel to each other and with the floor, while the back, neck and head are kept erect. Hands should be placed on the knees, with the eyes looking forward.

Releasing the asana position

 

1. Place the hands on the ground, by the side of the feet.
2. Straighten out both legs and come back to sitting position.

Anatomical focus

 

Awareness

 

On maintaining balance.

Do's

 

1. Move in and out of the posture slowly so as not to lose balance.
2. Keep the spine, neck and head erect and in line.
3. Lift the heels of the feet off the floor as much as possible, so that only the balls of the feet and toes are touching the floor.
4. Gaze at a fixed point in front to maintain balance.

Dont's

 

1. Be in a hurry.

Benefits

 

1. Improves concentration.
2. Strengthens the toes and ankles.

Therapeutic application

 

Precautions & contra-indications

 

1. Knee or ankle injury

Duration

 

The asana should be held for 30 seconds to obtain the benefits.

Variations & tips

 

It is of paramount importance to move in a slow and controlled manner when performing and releasing this asana in order to maintain balance.

If it is difficult to maintain balance initially, the hands may be placed on the ground for support.


Preparatory poses

 

1. Vajrasana
2. Preparatory Movement 10

Follow-up poses

 

Padangusthasana

Ancient texts

 

This asana has been described in the 27th shloka of the second chapter of the "Gherandsamhita".

Anggushthabhyamvashtabhya dharam gulphou cha khe gatou l
Tatropari gudam nyasya vidnyeyam tutkatasanam ll G S 2.27


Meaning -

The shloka states that the toes of both feet should be firmly placed onto the ground. The heels should be lifted and the anus should be rested onto the heels. This position is termed as Utkatasan.

The exact description of the position of the asana has been given in the above shloka. However, there is no specific mention of the position of the hands. Hence, it is assumed that the palms are placed on the knees. Further, the shloka categorically states that the anus has to be rested on the heels, which is an accurate description of the pose.