Touching Your Toes To Your Head

 
gummypia

So touching my toes to my head is one of my new biggest ambitions in life. And I mean doing this from the back ok, not the front... I posted this on Facebook, and I was surprised that a bunch of my friends want to do this too!!! It looks so freakishly awesome, I love it. I'm still pretty far, I think my toes are around a foot away from my head, but a girl can dream big, right!

How many of you can do this? What stretches can one do to work on this? I've been trying to stretch my back to gain more flexibility by doing cobras because bridges/wheels make me dizzy and I don't know why. Are there other stretches that can do this? Should I work on stretching the front of my thighs too? How?

Any advice much appreciated in advance!
Mar 16, 2012 from Honolulu, Hawaii, United States
dustbunny

Veena just released a back mobility routine if you have her lessons!  I want to be able to do this again too, when I was little I could touch my toes to the end of my nose!  I remember thinking it was no big deal...damn it sure seems like a big deal now!
Mar 16, 2012 from Guelph, Ontario, Canada
ORGANIC ANGEL

Yay, I can do this:)
Mar 16, 2012 from Heaven on Earth
Miraine

I don't get why anyone *wouldn't* want to be able to do this :D

Bridges will likely make you dizzy until you're stronger and can hold them with less tensing all over, which gives a rush of blood to the head.  There's also an element of getting used to it, I found them awful when I started doing them, but can hold for 45 seconds now without exploding, lol

Cobras are a good place to start though.  Be aware that a cobra stretch on the elbows stretches the mid back, and with arms extended works on lower back, if you're doing it right.  It's not quite a simple as "more extended arms = deeper stretch".

There's also "kitty cat" stretch up against a wall, which looks like this:



That helps with upper back flexibility and shoulders (more flexible shoulders = easier bridges, and also easier to reach back and catch your feet!)

Definitely work on your thighs and hip flexors too!  That makes a huge difference, because with the length of the leg from hip to knee, a tiny change in angle makes quite a big movement of your foot.  Pigeon pose is great for this. 

First stretch the back hip flexor, then lift the back foot from the floor carefully (you have a lot of leverage, don't overdo it) to stretch the quad.  Lower your foot gently when you're done.

Since you're a poler, you also have the necessary prop for this stretch, which is basically working directly on the whole foot to head thing anyway: [api.ning.com] excuse shortened link, it was just silly).  Kneel infront of your pole, put one leg back, and prop the foot up against the pole.  Then reach up and back to the pole with your hands, and walk them down a little if you can.  I guess you can do this in doorframes too and so on.

Good luck :D
Mar 16, 2012 from Manchester, England, United Kingdom
Miraine

Ah botheration, for some reason the clicky link on that last one decided to include the next part of the sentence too.  It should be: [bit.ly]

And the others didn't turn into links anyway.  Whoops.
Mar 16, 2012 from Manchester, England, United Kingdom
AerialGypsy

I used to be able to do this...then I went to college while doing office work...then I workied in a lab...no back to the office. All that has KILLED my flexibility. Now I am miss stiffy-kins. Toes to head has become one of my goals as well!
Mar 16, 2012 from Oregon, United States
Elektra Vallens

I too have been trying to get my toes to my head for a while now.  The back and hip flexors are the main areas that need to be flexible- Veena's back routine and the pigeon pose are great suggestions.  If you can't reach your foot with your hands yet, try using a yoga strap.  Good luck!
Mar 16, 2012 from Boston, Massachusetts, United States
SashaMae
I also started with the pigeon pose. I show how I stretch for it in this vid. Starts around 2 mins I think. Is this what you mean??
[www.studioveena.com]
Mar 16, 2012 from Ohio, United States
Veena
Yep I just posted a routine that can help you reach this goal :)
Mar 16, 2012 from Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
gummypia

Wow, such great info, everyone! Thanks!

Miraine, I really like the way you explain. Good stuff! :)

Veena wow so cool I feel like I got the answer to my prayers right after I asked haha!
Mar 17, 2012 from Honolulu, Hawaii, United States
heathalynne
Yes and I love being bendy! I can touch my head in king pigeon, king cobra (if holding the pole), and full camel. And recently, forearm wheel, I was able to grab my opposite foot and touch my head but with assist. I'm still working on king cobra without the pole.

With wheel, it helps it you push up VERY SLOWLY and release VERY SLOWLY. That's a common problem I see. Pushing too fast and the dizziness. Also helps to release your lower back by hugging your legs in and sway side to side.
Mar 17, 2012 from Tite Grip, New Jersey, United States
gummypia

Ah no wonder! I go up really quickly when I try the wheel. Thanks for the tip Heathalynne!
Mar 18, 2012 from Honolulu, Hawaii, United States
MissMeliss

Thank you Miraine! Shall be doing your ones in but a few minutes! :D
I seem to have pretty decent lower back flex- naturally and from doing straight arm cobras. Never tried the bent arm ones, shall do that! My shoulders/upper back are HORRIBLE at flexy. Ergh. The pain! Have only started stretching them this month though. Eep.
Mar 19, 2012 from Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Cantetinza17

I'm pretty bendy in the back, but my legs don't bend that well, so I have to use a yoga strap in pigeon.
Aug 23, 2012 from San Diego, California, United States
Vertical
It is one of the biggest challenge for me as well. When I started to work on this I was not even remotely close. I started to work on my back with a stretch partner . I progressed so fast with the help. It has only been 4 weeks last night I was able to walk my foot down on my face from behind!! I still can't believe this. A good stretch partner really makes great difference
Aug 24, 2012 from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Cantetinza17

Stretch partner huh?  What did they do to help?
Aug 24, 2012 from San Diego, California, United States
Vertical
We stretch together and each other. With the external force I can stretch deeper and can really relax into the position.
Aug 24, 2012 from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Scarlett Honey aka Lola Grace

I can do this! However some position make it much easier. My favourite place to do a back bend is in a handstand against the pole. Try going from a plank/lay back, placing hands about 30cm from pole shoulderwidth apart, then arch back and press your shoulder/trap against pole and lift head so you are looking towards your feet. Then spread and bend knees and bring feet down. Always do back bends SLOWLY, it gives the spine time to stretch and adjust to pressure. This gives me the best stretch because the weight from by bum and legs helps push my feet closer to head. Doing it on stomach on floor is trickier for me because you don't have your natural body weight helping with the stretch.

I also like doing a back bend from sitting on my knees. Push hips forward and squeeze glutes and hamstrings. Arch back, arms above head and slowly drop head behind you, like you are diving backwards. Once your hands are on floor, bend arms and try to grab you feet with your hands and pull you head as close to your toes as you can. Keep pushing up through pelvis.

There are some awesome yoga tutorials on youtube that show how to do some amazing stretches. [www.youtube.com]
Aug 24, 2012 from Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Cantetinza17

O I will try this at home when my roommate isn't around.  That is a good idea, cause its my lower half that is having an issue not so much my back.
Aug 27, 2012 from San Diego, California, United States
corbyOconnor

Awesome! I havent seen Kino's videos in a while, but you've reminded me! I need to work my back bend!
Aug 27, 2012 from Washington
 
dmnesbitt1790
I am starting over and finding that your way is much better then what I was taught the first time around. I might have been level 2 and performing what you have as advanced but it wasn't safely taught nor was there any strength training.
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