Big Toe Pose
What’s up, Outlaws! This month’s Outlaw Yoga Club pose of the month is Big Toe Pose. Not sure what it’s all about? Read on…
A challenging balancing pose that requires equal parts flexibility and concentration, the steps into its full expression (and a bonus up-level) are laid out below.
If the word flexibility can sometimes seem like a four letter word to your hamstrings, don’t worry – there’s plenty of variation built in, so you don’t have to be able to put your foot in your mouth to get the job done with this one…
Before we get to the goods, it’s worth noting that, not only is Big Toe Pose the Outlaw Yoga Club pose of the month, it’s also, and perhaps not coincidentally, an absolutely fantastic yogi-posing for social media pose (and one of my personal go-to’s as witnessed by these two pictures below taken nearly 10 years apart).
You can see that a decade of practice hasn’t made my knee get any straighter in the pose, has it? And, at the end of the day, who’s to say my knee needs to be totally fuckin’ straight anyways? Maybe my anatomy needs my knee to be slightly bent…?
The steps into Big Toe Pose are simple, not easy, and require warm-up in the best of circumstances and – at least – doing both sides to balance the body if you’re just popping a selfie.
1) Lift the right foot up off the ground by bending the knee ninety degrees. Stay here if you’re wobbly already.
2) Collect the big toe with the two peace fingers of the hand on the same side. Once again (because some of us need to hear it more than once, and in more than one way) stay right here if you’re feeling wobbly.
3) Extend the lifted leg straight out in front of you. It can help to lean forward, thrusting the butt back, at first. Once you do, stand upright and proud through the upper body. Again (because who hasn’t touched something really fucking hot, really fucking recently?) if you’re wobbly, stay right here.
4) Slowly hinge the leg out to the right using the strength of the arm and flexibility of the hamstring. For the last time, if you’re feeling wobbly here (and especially if you’re posing for a pic on top of a rocky cliff) then stay right fuckin’ here!
5) If you’ve done all this and are ready to add the revolved variation, bring the foot back to center and switch hands, wrapping the left hand (thumb down) on the outside of the right foot. Extend the right arm back behind you and set your gaze on the right thumb.
6) Whether you’ve done all this or stopped at step-2 then slowly unwind – do not snap out of it like a rubber band wrapped around the thumb and shot at someone across the room because something similar will happen to some degree to your tissue. I like to keep the big toe interlocked with my fingers all the way down to the ground for a prolonged, and well-deserved, forward fold before standing up tall to do the other side.
Give it a try, and don’t die doing this silly pose on the top of a freakin’ mountain…
Good luck, Yogis!
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Justin “Jud” Kaliszewski is the best-selling yoga teacher and renowned creator of Outlaw Yoga. Author. Artist. Adventurer. Though his studio is currently closed per state order, you can still take his class NOW at outlawyogaclub.com and www.youtube.com/outlawyoga. Find his writing and art at www.justinkaliszewski.com and his presence all over the internet – for an outlaw, he’s shockingly easy to get ahold of.