Reclining Big Toe Hold
SUPTA PĀDĀNGUSTHĀSANA (सुप्त पादाङुस्थासन)
(SOOP-tah pad-an-goosh-TAH-sah-nah)

 


‘Supta’= reclining, ‘Pāda’= foot or leg, ‘āngustha’= big toe, ‘āsana’= posture


Alternate Names

Reclining Straight Leg Stretch
Reclining Hand to Toe Pose
Reclining Hand to Big Toe Pose
Supine Hand to Toe Pose
Reclined Big Toe Pose

Difficulty Level: Intermediate
Pose Type: Supine / Stretch

1. Start in Corpse Pose (Savasana), except with your arms by your sides and your palms face down on the mat (Supine position).
2. Make sure your back is flat to the floor with your shoulder blades flat across your back. Bring your shoulders down and root the back of your pelvis to the mat.
3. Flex your feet so that your toes are pointing toward the sky and ground your heels to the mat.
4. Using your core and upper leg muscles, bend your left knee and bring it up to your chest. Leave your right leg stretched out with your foot flexed and your heel grounded to the mat.
5. Take hold of the big toe on your left foot and extend your leg up and back, at about a 45-degree angle. Continue to hold your big toe as you slowly straighten out your left leg without locking or hyperextend your knee. Do not force this stretch.
6. Breathe through this pose for several breaths (at least 20 seconds to build strength and flexibility).
7. When ready, slowly release back into Corpse Pose (Savasana).
8. Repeat on the other side.

Common Adjustments
• Hip coming off the ground
• Inner thighs not rotated properly
• Shoulders not flat / tense
• Head coming off the mat
• Knee locked or hyperextended / Knee of raised leg bent
• Lower back arched or strained
• Neck strained
• Breathing is labored

Modifications
• Students with a stiff back or hamstrings can either: a) place a strap around the sole of the raised foot to help bring the leg up as straight as possible, b) hold the back of their upper leg instead of their toe, c) practice with their knee to their chest (instead of extending the leg), d) practice with the extended leg’s knee bent, or e) they can practice next to a wall with the extended leg up against the wall.
• Students who have difficulty keeping their bottom leg straight, with their toes pointed to the sky, can practice with the sole of that foot up against a wall. Alternatively, they can keep a hand on the upper thigh to help weigh down their leg.
• Students who experience discomfort in the neck or have high blood pressure can place a blanket, pillow, or bolster under their head and neck to elevate themselves.
• Pregnant students should practice Reclining Vishnu Couch Pose (Anantasana).

Counter Poses
• Bound Angle Reclining (Supta Baddha Konasana)
• Supine Hero (Supta Virasana)
• Knees to Chest (Apanasana)
• Gate (Parighasana)
• Triangle, Extended (Utthita Trikonasana)
• Camel (Ustrasana)

Anatomy
• Neck• Shoulders (Deltoids)
• Chest (Pectoralis Major)• Biceps and Triceps
• Abdomen (Core) and Obliques• Lower Back (Lumbar) and Spine
• Hips (Psoas and Iliopsoas)• Gluteus Maximus
• Quadriceps and Hamstrings• Calf muscles
• Ankles• Feet

Benefits
• Stretches and strengthens the neck, arms, shoulders, abdomen, back, spine, hips, groin, quadriceps, hamstrings, calf muscles, knees, and ankles. This helps to improve flexibility in the lower back and hamstrings. Great for athletes. Opens the hamstrings and psoas muscles.
• Improves blood circulation and soothes headaches, along with menopause and menstrual discomfort. It also stimulates the prostate gland, kidneys, bladder, pancreas, ovaries, liver, and uterus and soothes the adrenal glands. This is therapeutic for students with diabetes, weak liver or kidneys, or sciatica.
• Massages digestive and pelvic organs, which improves colon function, digestion, and relieves constipation and flatulence.
• Stimulates the reproductive, endocrine, lymphatic, and urinary systems.
• Stimulates the nervous system, which calms the mind, reducing stress and anxiety, as well as relieving mild depression, insomnia, and fatigue.
• Improves posture and spinal alignment. Therapeutic for students with osteoarthritis of the hips or knees. Also assists with recovery of a cardiac condition.
• Opens chest and lungs and is therapeutic for students with high blood pressure, asthma, and sinusitis.

Contraindications
1. Students with severe injury to the shoulders, hips, hamstrings, or quadriceps, have diarrhea, bronchitis, or a migraine/headache should avoid this pose.
2. Students with weak legs or hips, or high blood pressure should practice this pose with modification, props, and guidance.
3. Students with muscle cramps should practice with caution.

Chakras
Chakra One:Root or Muladhara (root support) Chakra. This is the survival and gravity chakra. Its goals are stability, grounding, prosperity, right livelihood, and physical health. Its location is the base of the spine, coccygeal plexus, legs, feet, and large intestines.
Chakra Two:Sacral or Svadhisthana (sweetness) Chakra. This is the chakra for emotion, sexuality, and attraction of opposites. Its goals are fluidity, pleasure, and relaxation. Its location is the abdomen, genitals, lower back, and hips.
Chakra Three:Solar Plexus, Self-Power, or Manipura (lustrous gem) Chakra. This is the combustion, power, and energy chakra. Its goals are vitality, strength of will, and purpose. Its location is the solar plexus.



Additional information on this asana can be found in your textbook

  • In the textbook “Instructing Hatha Yoga – 2nd Edition With Web Resource” by: Diane M. Ambrosini, this posture can be found in Chapter 9 – Supine and Prone Postures as “Supta Padangusthasana – Reclining Hand-to-Toe Pose”. **This textbook shows a slight variation where the hands are holding the ankles (instead of one arm resting on the ground and the other hand holding the big toe).
    • Watch the Chapter 9 video “Supta Padangusthasana” found in the Web Resources that come with your textbook “Instructing Hatha Yoga – 2nd Edition With Web Resource” by: Diane M. Ambrosini. This video gives you an additional example of how to practice this asana.

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