Find Natural Spinal Traction in Padangusthasana

All day long our bodies feel the constant pressure from gravity. Whenever you have your head lower than your hips, you use gravity to your benefit to naturally traction your spine. This is the case in the yoga pose Padangusthasana, which roughly translates to Hand to big toe pose. Here’s how to do this spine-saving pose.


  1. Use ujjayi breathing.
  2. Begin in Tadasana.
  3. Inhale and reach your arms up toward the ceiling. Take a moment at the top of your inhale to really reach your fingertips toward the ceiling and feel length in your side body.
  4. Draw your belly button toward your spine.
  5. Exhale, keep a flat back, and forward fold into Uttanasana.
  6. PadangusthasanaIf your fingertips can touch the floor, hook your pointer and middle fingers around your big toes. Close the loop with your thumbs. If, however, you are unable to touch the floor, put a slight bend in the backs of your knees until your fingers and thumb can loop around your big toes.
  7. Hold here for a moment with your long, straight spine and your hand to big toe connection. As you exhale, feel your diaphragm lift. Notice how your abdomen hollows out.
  8. Inhale and, as you exhale, hinge from your pelvis to lower your head and bring your chest closer to your legs.
  9. Hold here for 5-8 breaths.
  10. When you are finished, unhook your fingers from around your big toes and inhale up to your final standing pose, Tadasana.

Padangusthasana Video

Here is a video for visual learners.

What is your favorite way to find natural traction for your spine? Let us know in the comments below.

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About Sarah Stockett

Hi, I'm Sarah! I'm a certified Pilates and yoga instructor with a passion for pain relief. I believe you can use simple exercises to relieve your aches + pains. AND, I believe I can teach you how.