Pose of the Month: Reclined Big Toe Pose

Supta Padangusthasana

Reclined big toe pose is exactly as it sounds and is a tool for opening deep in the legs.

You may have done this pose without even knowing its name, and seen this pose done on the sidelines by coaches and trainers with their athletes.

How to: Reclining Big Toe Pose

Start by lying on your back; draw your right knee in to your chest. At the same time, extend the left leg strong along the floor through the heel. Take a strap and wrap it around the bottom of the mid right foot.  Slowly, straighten your right leg pushing through the right heel as well.

Always be mindful of pushing through both heels. Try to achieve a 90 degree angle with both your legs. In time, with practice, you will be able to pull both sides of the strap and open the right hamstring further.  

While pulling the right leg in be sure not to pull so hard that you lift your shoulders off the floor. Keep your shoulders broad and flat on the ground. Also, press the left thigh down and try not to over arch your back. 

Finally, keep both hips on the ground and keep them square.

Eventually you will not need the strap and you will be able to maintain perfect form while holding your right big toe with your right first two fingers and thumb. To make more of a challenge lift your left leg up off the floor about 2 to 3 inches.

Switch legs and hold each side for 1 to 3 minutes repeat if time permits

Benefits of Reclining Big Toe Pose

The role of reclining big toe pose is vast. Done properly and consistently, the most noticeable benefits include:

  • Stretches hips, hamstrings, calves and groin
  • Helps strengthen the knees
  • Improves digestion
  • Helps to become aware of asymmetries in the legs
  • Relieves back pain
  • Helps relieve symptoms of sciatica

For the lay person or yogi, this pose is a clear cut choice to improve the flexibility of the hamstrings groin and calves. It gives you the opportunity to see the differences in each leg and perhaps address a serious issue before it becomes an injury.

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