How to Do Pistol Stand or Toe Stand

3 min read

Padangusthasana is a yoga variation of a traditional Pistol Squat. This shape has picked up a ton of different names across the globe, including Toe Stand, Duck Beak, Shoot The Duck, and Single Leg Squat… the list is endless!

You’ll learn about the benefits, how to perform the pose and some variations of the pose.


This posture, or whatever you call it, is perfect for runners and those who trip frequently. This posture engages the proprioceptive muscle in your legs, core, and ankles. It also engages your entire concentration.

It is a great way to improve your balance and strength.

The Basic Posture

Sit upright, hands in the center of your chest. One foot should be flat on the floor, and the other should be extended in front with your foot flexed.

You can prepare yourself by doing the following:

Pyramid holds can help you open your hamstrings.

Try a few Boat Poses to ensure your core is fully engaged. You can try rocking from your Boat pose to your flat-footed squat several times.

Prepare your hip flexors with a straight leg lift. Raise and lower your leg ten times on each side.


You can modify the Pistol Squat in many ways.

Start in a seated posture:

Toe Stand: Stay on your toes for a more challenging balance and less ankle stretching (great for treating plantar fasciitis).

You can use your hands or a strap to wrap your foot. This is a great hamstring stretch, which helps to relieve some of the pressure on your hip flexor.

Pose your leg or foot extended on the block in front.

You can use blocks on either side to help you balance until you feel comfortable.

Try leaning against a wall.

Sit on a small block, which will take the pressure off your thighs. This will help you get your body used to slowly opening your hips.

Various Entries

This is the most difficult part of this pose. Here are some ideas for seating.

Use your hands to push up on blocks while seated on the floor with your feet directly in front of you. Work your way up to a one-legged squat.

Try to rock up your legs from a reclined position into a two-legged squat. As you progress, rock into a one-legged squat. This exercise improves core strength and opens up your ankles.

Try these from standing:

Standing Split is a delicious entrance. Standing Split: Bend both knees so that your raised knee touches your navel. Come up to the foot you are standing on (flat or toes). Start by extending your leg in front of yourself (it may start on the floor, or it may stay raised). You may find that you begin to rock your heel. One day, you raise your chest to your heart and your hands.

Use a strap to stretch your straight legs. You can also hold your big toe. Slowly lower your seat so that you can sit at your heels. Holy Mama, this is a challenge!

Start in Bikram Tree Pose or Standing Pigeon. Lower your seat to your heel, and then do the Half Lotus variation on your toes or flat foot. This is called Toe Stand in Bikram yoga.

Try it now that you’re a Pistol-Squatting, Duck Beak, and Toe Standing expert!

Even in its modified forms, this pose is a delicious one. Enjoy your yoga practice!

You May Also Like

More From Author

+ There are no comments

Add yours