Reclined Big Toe Pose

Sanskrit: Supta Hasta Padangustasana

Reclined Hand to Big Toe is a great pose for stretching into your hamstrings and lower back whilst increasing the flexibility in your hips. And if you cannot reach your toe, you can use a strap to bring your toe into reach or catch hold behind your thigh or calf and get all the same benefits of the pose.

This pose might be sequenced at the beginning or the end of your practice.

How to get into the pose:

  • Lie down on your back with your legs together and your toes pointing up, heels pushing away.

  • Inhale to lift your right leg into the air, keeping your knee straight. Reach up and either catch hold of either your thigh, calf or ankle with both hands or your big toe with the index and middle finger of the right hand.

  • Keep your shoulders relaxed towards the mat.

  • It is important to keep the lifted leg straight: this is more important than how high the leg is.

  • Inhale to send energy towards your heel and exhale to draw your right leg towards your face. Move slowly and only as far as your breath allows you to go.

  • Take deep breaths.

  • On an exhale bring your right leg down to the mat and repeat the pose on the left side.

Remember to create the balance between effort and ease in your pose.

How long to stay in the pose:

  • Ten or more breaths

Gaze (Drishti)

  • Toes

Modifications you can take to make this pose more accessible:

  • Use a blanket under your head if it is difficult to get your head on the mat

  • Use a strap around the ball of your foot if you cannot straighten your leg

  • Bend your lower leg at the knee if that feels more comfortable for your back

Contraindications / Cautions:

  • Proceed with caution if you have a headache

  • If you have high blood pressure, support your head and neck on a blanket