Standing Forward Bends: Uttanasana, Padangusthasana (Hand to Big Toe), Padahastasana (Hand to Foot / Gorilla) – Overview

Lesson Overview

  • Features: Uttanasana (Intense Stretching Posture / Standing Forward Bend), Ardha Uttanasana (Half Standing Forward Bend), Padangusthasana (Hand to Big Toe Pose), Padahastasana (Hand to Foot Pose / Gorilla), and related poses such as Baddha Hasta Uttanasana (Bound Hands Standing Forward Bend).
  • Objective: Become knowledgeable about the pose and review detailed teaching considerations.
  • Description: Explain the Sanskrit naming; contraindications and cautions; associated benefits and typical effects; instructions and cues for setting up and practicing the pose; variations to meet particular intentions and needs; and more teaching considerations.



“uttana” = intense stretching or extension

Intense Stretching Posture

Also known as: Standing Forward Bend

Ardha Uttanasana

ARE-dah OOT-tan-AHS-ahna

Half Standing Forward Bend

Also known as: Half Way Lift



Hand to Big Toe Pose



Hand to Foot Pose

Also known as: Gorilla Pose

Baddha Hasta Uttanasana

Bound Hands Intense Stretching Posture


  • Uttanasana – hands on floor, block or legs
  • Padangusthasana – hold big toes
  • Padahastasana – hands under feet


  • Ardha Uttanasana is often used as the name for a Half Way Lift and included in Surya Namaskar and other vinyasas.
  • However, in some styles, Padangusthasana is the name for a Half Way Lift. In this case, the naming comes from Part I of Padangusthasana in the Iyengar tradition: toes are clasped and spine is lengthened forward into a Half Way Lift.

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