How To Do Big Toe Bow Pose (Variation)

Julia Lee
How To Do Big Toe Bow Pose (Variation)

As the cooler weather starts to creep in, fatigue and lethargy are often riding in close behind. This energizing variation of Big Toe Bow pose is a great option for the beginning of a Vinyasa class sequenced around backbends, and is also a nice way to spice up your practice.

It’s also a beautiful pose to work up to the full expression of Bow pose, with both hands reaching back and holding on to the big toes of each foot, with the spine arching beautifully into the shape of a bow.

Benefits Of Big Toe Bow Pose (Variation)

This variation of Big Toe Bow pose combines the core-strengthening benefits of Table pose while also offering a stretch through the spine, shoulders, chest, hip flexors, and quadriceps. As a backbend, the pose is energizing and uplifting, and can aid with fatigue and mild depression and anxiety.

Step-By-Step

  1. Begin in a tabletop position — on your hands and knees — with your palms separated shoulder distance apart, fingers spread wide, and your knees and feet separated hip distance apart. The tops of your feet should be relaxed down on the mat.
  2. On an inhale, lift your bent left knee up off the mat and direct the sole of your left foot to face up toward the ceiling. Keep your hips level with one another, dropping your left hip down slightly to counter the tendency for the hip to lift along with the leg.
  3. On an exhale, reach back with your right hand and take a hold of your left big toe. If the backbend feels too intense or you can’t quite reach your left foot just yet, loop a strap around the top of your left foot and hold on to the ends of the strap with your right hand instead.
  4. To take the pose even deeper, find an external rotation of your right shoulder, and move toward pointing your bent right elbow straight up toward the ceiling as you draw your left foot in toward you.
  5. Begin to press your left shin firmly toward the back of the room, which should create an opening in your right shoulder. Once you have pressed as strongly into the left foot as you can, begin to lift your left knee and thigh away from the floor to deepen into the backbend.
  6. Take 5 full, deep breaths here, and on an exhale, gently release your left foot and lower your left knee back down onto your mat. Whenever you feel ready, repeat the pose on the other side.

Tips

  • If you don't have a yoga strap to loop around the back foot, a belt, tie, or even a towel can all serve as alternatives.