Posture: Toe Stand (Padangustasana)
Expert: BYV Staff Marvin D.
Before bending my knees and going down to start the posture, I make sure I am distributing my weight evenly through my thighs, calves and all areas of my foot.
I focus my eyes three feet forward on the ground and, once I am confident, I bend at the waist, keeping my standing leg locked out, and reach for the floor with the fingers of both hands.
Once I reach the floor, I bend my standing knee and sit down. Then, I bring both hands beside me, balancing on my fingertips. At the same time I lengthen my spine and lift my ribcage to open up my chest – but I continue to keep my gaze on the ground three feet in front of me.
I focus on my breath and balance, and continue to listen to the dialogue. It’s easy to go on autopilot in this posture … but remember, the dialogue is there for a reason! It takes a lot of strength, balance and concentration to be able to lift from your toes and hold the pose there in stillness. So make sure you don’t get ahead of yourself; remember, “Slow and steady wins the race.”
Once the teacher gives the OK, I bring my palms together in front of my chest making sure that my elbows stay beside me so that my forearms are almost parallel to the floor and my fingertips are aligned with my shoulders. I roll my shoulders back, push my hips forward slightly and check the mirror to see that they are in one line. I keep lengthening my spine (all the way up to and including my neck) by pretending I’m trying to touch the top of my head with the top of the ceiling, and continue to focus on my breath and even weight distribution.
When I’m confident that I can balance there, I switch my gaze to my eyes. When I’m ready, I engage my abdominal muscles, take a long inhale through my nose, lift from my toes and balance there. When I lift, I press my palms together really tight in front of my chest (no light, no air between them!); I find that this really helps with my balance!