Yoga is an ancient practice that has been around for thousands of years, originating in India. It involves physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation to promote overall health and well-being. One of the poses commonly practiced in yoga is supta padangusthasana, also known as the reclining hand-to-big-toe pose. This Sanskrit-named pose is a great way for beginner yogis to start building strength and flexibility in their legs and hips.
What are the benefits of doing supta padangusthasana?
Supta padangusthasana, also known as reclined hand-to-big-toe pose, is a yoga posture that offers a wide range of benefits. This pose is a perfect choice for beginners who want to strengthen their legs and hips while improving their flexibility. It is great to add to your regular yoga sequences. Here are some of the benefits of doing supta padangusthasana:
1. Stretches the hamstrings – This pose stretches the muscles at the back of the thighs, which can help alleviate tension and tightness in the hamstrings.
2. Opens up the hips – It can help increase the flexibility of the hip flexors and adductors, allowing for greater mobility in the hips.
3. Improves balance and stability – This pose involves balancing on one leg, which can help improve your overall balance and stability.
4. Relieves back pain – If you have lower back pain, supta padangusthasana can help stretch and strengthen the muscles in the lower back, providing relief from discomfort.
5. Calms the mind – As with many yoga postures, supta padangusthasana can help calm the mind and reduce stress and anxiety.
What are the contraindications of supta padangusthasana?
Supta padangusthasana, also known as the reclining hand-to-big-toe pose, is a beginner-friendly yoga posture that provides numerous benefits for the legs and hips. However, as with any physical activity, it’s essential to practice it safely and mindfully.
Contraindications of supta padangusthasana include:
Hip, Knee, or Lower Back Injury: If you have an injury in your hip, knee, or lower back, you should avoid this pose. It places pressure on these areas and can aggravate the condition or cause further injury. Consult with a healthcare professional before attempting this pose if you have any concerns or injuries.
High Blood Pressure: If you have high blood pressure, you should be cautious when performing this pose. The inverted position can affect blood pressure, and it’s essential to monitor your breathing and avoid straining. Consult with a healthcare professional before attempting this pose if you have high blood pressure.
Step-by-step instructions on how to do supta padangusthasana
Before attempting supta padangusthasana, it’s essential to warm up your body with some gentle stretches and movements. Here are the step-by-step instructions on how to do the pose correctly:
Lie on your back with your legs extended and your arms at your sides.
Point your feet, lift your kneecaps, and press your heels into the ground.
Firm your pelvis and root down into the sacral bone. Squeeze your thighs into each other.
Put your hand on the top of your thighs and press into them with both hands. Let your shoulders roll forward.
On an exhalation, lift your right leg.
Reach up and hold onto your big toe with your peace fingers. Only if necessary, bend your knee and grab hold of your big toe and then straighten your leg.
Point your foot. Don’t pull on your foot to bring your leg closer to your chest. Instead, use your core strength to keep your leg in place. You don’t want your hamstrings to be stretched too much.
Inhale, and as you exhale, engage the core, lifting your upper back and shoulders from the ground and bringing your forehead to your shin.
Hold for five breaths before releasing and repeating on the other side.
Remember to listen to your body and modify the pose as needed. If you’re a beginner, start with a shorter hold time and gradually work up to longer holds. With consistent practice, supta padangusthasana can help improve your flexibility, strength, and overall well-being.
Watch this Youtube video with Kino for a better understanding of how to do the posture.
Modifications for supta padangusthasana
If you don’t have the hamstring flexibility to reach your big toe, here are some variations of the pose that you can try.
Use a strap or towel to make it easier. Put a strap around your foot and hold onto that instead of your big toe.
You can also try keeping a slight bend in your top leg so you can reach your toe, like shown in the photo below.
If you have difficulty keeping your bottom leg straight, use a rolled-up blanket or block under your knee to support it. This will help you maintain the length in your leg while still getting the benefits of the stretch.
Remember, it’s always better to modify the pose and stay safe than to push yourself too far and risk injury. Listen to your body and only do what feels comfortable and safe. With consistent practice and patience, you’ll be able to deepen your supta padangusthasana over time.
In conclusion, supta padangusthasana is an excellent pose for beginner yogis to build strength and flexibility in their legs and hips. While it may seem difficult at first, with consistent practice and modifications, you’ll be able to improve your flexibility, strength, and overall well-being. Remember to listen to your body, modify the pose as needed, and start with shorter hold times before gradually working your way up to longer holds. With patience and dedication, supta padangusthasana can become a staple in your yoga practice.