How to Achieve the Perfect Reclining Hand to Big Toe Pose

Supta Padangusthasana is a helpful stretching pose that also a cool down pose. 

Young woman doing yoga in the park in a reclining hand to big toe pose - Reclining Hand to Big Toe Pose - Yoga - ILYNSI Yoga

Benefits

  • Stretches hips, thighs, hamstrings, groins, and calves
  • Strengthens the knees
  • Stimulates the prostate gland Improves digestion
  • Relieves backache, sciatica, and menstrual discomfort
  • Therapeutic for high blood pressure, flat feet, and infertility

The Pose

  • Lie on the floor (you may use a blanket to cushion your neck if needed)
  • Exhale, bend the left knee and hug the thigh to your belly
  • Press the front of the right thigh heavily to the floor and push actively through the right heel
  • Loop a strap around the arch of the left foot and hold the strap in both hands Inhale, straighten the knee, pressing the left heel up toward the ceiling
  • Walk your hands up the strap until the elbows are fully extended while widening the shoulder blades, collarbones, and sternum
  • Extend up first through the back of the left heel, and once the back of the leg between the heel and sitting bone is fully lengthened, lift through the ball of the big toe
  • Begin with the raised leg perpendicular to the floor
  • Release the head of the thigh bone more deeply into the pelvis and, as you do, draw the foot a little closer to your head, increasing the stretch on the back of the leg
  • You can stay here in this stretch, or turn the leg outward from the hip joint, so the knee and toes look to the left
  • Pinning the top of the right thigh to the floor, exhale and swing the left leg out to the left and hold it a few inches off the floor
  • Continue rotating the leg
  • As you feel the outer thigh move away from the left side of the torso, try to bring the left foot in line with the left shoulder joint. Inhale to bring the leg back to vertical
  • Lighten your grip on the strap as you do, so that you challenge the muscles of the inner thigh and hip to do the work
  • Beginner variation: You may bend the long leg with the foot on the floor, against the wall, or on a block and keep the lifted leg bent slowly learning to straighten the leg as you continue to practice the pose 

  • Advanced variation: If you have the flexibility, you can grip the big toe of the raised leg instead of using a strap. From the starting position, exhale and bend the raised leg thigh into your torso. Use the index and middle fingers and the thumb to grip the big toe. Be sure to reach the arm inside the thigh when you take the toe. Then perform the pose as described above.


Breaths: Continue the pose for 3 to 5 breaths

Avoid

  • Loose bowels
  • Headache
  • High blood pressure - raise your head and neck on a folded blanket

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