Can you touch your toes?

September 11, 2015 08:38 pm | Updated 08:38 pm IST

Chennai, 21-08-2015 :  Standing - Forward bending. Photo : S_R_Raghunathan

Chennai, 21-08-2015 : Standing - Forward bending. Photo : S_R_Raghunathan

I have been teaching yoga for a while now, and as you can probably imagine, I have heard almost every excuse possible as to why a posture or any other practice can’t be done. But there is one line that I have heard many times, across continents and age groups, that really takes the crown – “But I can’t even touch my toes!” And the statement is usually accompanied by a show of futile forward bending, grimacing and extreme lengthening of fingers in an attempt to touch their toes.

Here is some important and interesting news; yoga has very little to do with being able to touch your toes. Yoga isn’t about pushing and contorting yourself into acrobatic postures. Yoga is a means to discover yourself, to witness the blossoming of your self-awareness and connection with Nature and life. Touching your toes, for example, has got little to do with only your hands and toes. As you practise the following sequence, you will realise how your pelvis and lower back need to become flexible in order to allow the act of forward flexion (forward bending) to happen effortlessly. This is what yogis call the ‘effortless effort’, the act of tuning into the flow of life with joy and gratitude.

Warm up

Come onto all fours on a yoga mat with your knees hip-width apart.

Exhale and hunch your spine as you draw your belly inward.

Inhale and arch your back and inflate your abdomen.

Do this 8 times.

Modified Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)

Stand with your feet hip-width apart.

Tuck your pelvis in and gently contract your abdomen.

Tighten your thighs and pull your knees upward.

Fold your upper body forward and allow your head and neck to fully relax.

Now grab your left elbow with your right hand, and your right elbow with your left hand.

Allow the weight of your arms to draw your shoulder blades towards your ears.

Hang in this pose for 10 counts.

The extra weight of your arms pulling you down, combined with a relaxed head and neck, will create a gentle pull to help release your shoulders and middle and upper back. This variation is wonderful for tight and tired upper-back muscles that make you hunch.

Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.