Supta Padanghusthasana / Reclined Big Toe Pose or Reclined Hand to Big Toe pose, is a restorative yoga posture, practiced regularly, in Iyengar School of Yoga. It consists of three variations which can be performed with the help of props as well as without props. However, performing with props, helps you hold the posture for a longer period of time and, when done so with complete awareness, takes you to the highest point of engagement.
Supta Padanghusthasana Variation 1, which when practiced, brings a lot of freedom of movement to the back, pelvis and hips. This variation focuses on hamstring stretch, gluteal opening, IT band stretch, strengthening of your groin, back and abdominal area etc. Flexing the toes in and out in the posture work specially on stretching the calves as well as the shin. Similarly, moving the heel of the elevated leg towards the midline of the body brings an isolated stretch to your IT band.
- Lie down on your back; using your hands slide your hips and tailbone down towards your heels so that lower back is firmly resting on the floor without any gap or arch.
- Exhale and press your lower back firmly on the floor; inhale and while inhaling, raise your right leg, bend your right knee and place your right thigh on your chest; hold your right foot with your hands or with the help of a belt/strap (as shown in the video), keep the bent knee close to your chest; push your right heel out and right toes in; straightening your right leg up towards ceiling. You are raising your right leg by raising your right heel up and involving the back muscles of your leg; raise it to 900 or as much as possible; the left leg is stretched and resting on the floor with your left toes pointed in and heel out.
- You may use a belt or a strap to hold the right leg in place; you can bend your left knee in case you feel any kind of lower back discomfort; you can also choose to place your left foot against the wall to get a better grip on your stretch.
- Hold for a minute or two with normal breathing. You can extend this hold upto 5 minutes.
- Repeat the same with the other leg as well
- Works exclusively on lower extremities and helps deal with any problems associated with that area.
- Stretches muscles of the hamstrings, groin, calves and opens up the hips
- Helps improve the health of knee by strengthening the surrounding areas
- Helps in digestion
- Recommended for problems related to reproductive organs. Hence is good for ‘hormonal imbalance’, ‘infertility’, ‘menstrual irregularity’ etc.
- Relieves backache, sciatica, slip disk
- People with flat feet and tight calves get a lot of relief by performing this posture
- Regular practice can help deal with varicose veins and spider veins
- Place a soft thin pillow beneath your head in case of high blood sugar
- Do not perform during periods
You can also check Supta Padanghusthasana II & III for optimal benefits