How to Do Reclined Big Toe Pose (Supta Padangusthasana)

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How to Do Reclined Big Toe Pose (Supta Padangusthasana)
Beginners Yoga Poses

Stretch your hamstrings and calf muscles in Reclined Big Toe Pose (Supta Padangusthasana). Get lots of tips from Liforme (we love a strap here!).

By Ann Pizer who has been practicing and writing about yoga for over 20 years. Posted on: 5th July 2024

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    Sanskrit Meaning: Supta (Reclined) Padangusta (Big Toe) Asana (Pose)
    Yoga Level: Beginner
    Pose Type: Supine
    Benefits of Reclined Big Toe Pose:
    • Stretches your hamstrings and calves
    • Can alleviate back pain by improving hamstring flexibility.
    • Variations include IT band stretch.

    Key Alignment Points to Keep in Mind

    1. Use a Strap
    A strap allows you to connect your hand and big toe in the most beneficial way: with your leg straight and arm relaxed in the socket. Even if you can reach your toe, a strap is often more comfortable and allows you to focus on stretching the back of your leg.
    2. Keep Both Feet Engaged
    Activate your legs by pointing or flexing your feet and spreading your toes.

    Step By Step Instructions

    1. Lie down on your back with your legs outstretched.
    2. Bend your right leg and hug your knee into your chest.
    3. Take hold of your right big toe with your right hand. Wrap your index and middle fingers around the toe while keeping your thumb on top. Alternatively, place a yoga strap around the ball or instep of your right foot. If you don’t have a strap, a belt or even a towel will work. You can hold the ends of the strap in one hand or both hands.
    4. Keeping hold of your toe or the strap, straighten your right leg so that the sole of your foot is facing the ceiling.
    5. Keep your head, back, and both shoulders on the floor. If straightening your leg causes your arm to pull out of its socket or your shoulder to leave the floor, use a strap instead.
    6. Keep both feet flexed and engaged.
    7. On your inhalations, draw your right leg closer to your chest any amount.
    8. Release your right foot and draw your right knee back into your chest.
    9. Switch legs.

    Variations

    Reclined Hand to Big Toe Pose B (Supta Padangusthasana B)

    1. From Reclined Hand to Big Toe Pose, above, open your right leg to the right keeping hold of your right big toe or the strap around your right foot.
    2. Placing your left hand on the top of your left thigh helps you stay anchored to the floor.
    3. Take your gaze to the left to stretch your neck.

    Revolved Reclined Hand to Big Toe Pose (Parivrtta Supta Padangusthasana)

    1. From Reclined Hand to Big Toe Pose, above, take your right leg across your body toward the left side of your mat. A strap is particularly useful here.
    2. You can keep your right buttock fully on the floor or allow it to come off the floor. If you keep your butt grounded, you won’t be able to take your right leg as far across your body, but you’ll feel the stretch more in your IT bands. Try it both ways.

    Why We Love Reclined Big Toe Pose

    • This pose is a rare chance to focus almost exclusively on stretching the backs of your legs.
    • Using a strap gives you the most control over your range of movement, so we highly recommend it.
    • It’s a great addition to your pre-run stretch routine.
    • It feels really good!

    Counter Poses

    Hug your knees in your chest and rock a little side to side and up and down your spine to release your hamstrings and low back.

    Related Poses

    Standing Hand to Big Toe Pose (Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana)

    This is the exact same position but standing up! This introduces a balance challenge, but the reclined posture is a great preparatory pose.
    Note: You can also use a strap to great effect in the standing version.

    Let’s Hear it for the Strap

    One more time for the people in the back! It may seem like the object of this pose is to reach your toe with your hand, but it’s not. The object is to stretch the back of your leg while keeping your back on the floor, and, for many of us, that requires a strap. Even if you can easily hold your toe with your leg straight, a strap often gives you greater range of motion and better alignment, which is what props are all about. Give it a try!
    By Ann Pizer who has been practicing and writing about yoga for over 20 years.
    Beginners Yoga Poses

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