Supta Padangusthasana (Reclining Big Toe Pose)
Supta Padangusthasana (Reclining Big Toe Pose) is a great Yoga pose that carries lots of wonderful health benefits. This is basically a leg stretching pose, a safe way to stretch those pesky hamstrings, rendering more freedom to your pelvis, hips and back and, in the process, opening the door to a lot of other Yoga poses. On the surface, this reclining pose looks simple, but it just might call for certain modifications for the practitioner’s benefit. So long as you keep your back and hips releasing into your mat, gravity won’t force them to bear the weight of your body the way it does in seated and standing forward bends; and if you are able do this yoga pose properly, then you will find the advanced poses come to you more easily.
How to do Supta Padangusthasana
1. To begin with, lie on your back on the mat, legs stretched straight.
Feel free to support your head on a folded Yoga blanket. With a deep exhalation, bend your right knee, draw your thigh into your torso and hug it to your belly. Press the front of your left thigh strongly into the mat, and push firmly through your left heel.
2. Hitch a Yoga belt or strap around the arch of your right foot and hold it in both your hands. With a deep inhalation, straighten the knee and press your right heel up toward the ceiling. Move your hands down the strap till your elbows are completely stretched. Keep your hands as high on the belt as possible, widen your shoulder blades across your back and your collarbones away from your sternum.
3. Now stretch up through the back of your right heel, and once you have fully stretched the back of the leg, between your heel and sit bone, lift through the ball of your big toe. Starting with your right leg, perpendicular to the mat, release the head of your thigh bone more deeply into your pelvis. As you do so, draw your foot slightly closer to your head; this way, you will increase the stretch on the back of your leg.
4. Now, pin the top of your left thigh to the mat and, with a deep exhalation, swing your right leg out to the right and hold it a couple inches off the mat. Continue rotating your leg as you feel your outer thigh turn away from the right side of your body. Now, try and take your right foot in line with your right shoulder joint. With a deep inhalation, take the leg back up to vertical. As you do this, ease your grip on the belt; this way you will be challenging the muscles of your hip and inner thigh to do the work.
5. Hold the pose in a vertical position of your right leg for 30 – 60 seconds and in a side position for the same length of time. Once you return to the vertical position, let go of the belt, hold your leg in place for half a minute or so then, with an exhalation, slowly release it. Repeat the same on your left, for an equal length of time.
Benefits of Supta Padangusthasana
- Stretches and strengthens the thighs, hips, groins, hamstrings, calves and knees
- Stimulates the abdominal organs and prostate gland and improves digestion
- Relieves sciatica, backache and menstrual discomfort
- Therapeutic for flat feet, high BP and infertility
Supta Padangusthasana Contraindications
- In case of high BP, keep your neck and head elevated on a folded Yoga blanket