Pose Breakdown: Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose

Yoga Pose Breakdown

Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe-Pose or Supta Padangusthasana is wonderful for runners, people with low back pain and tight hamstrings. It's a modified version of standing Hand-to-Big-Toe pose and is performed on the ground.  It's considered a gentle and restorative posture.  You may want to have a strap, belt or towel handy if you want to give this a try.

 A great stretch for the back of the leg!

A great stretch for the back of the leg!

Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose

  1. Start out on your back, legs extended to the end of the mat.  
  2. Stay active in the legs by pressing through each heel.
  3. Hug the right knee into the chest as you inhale.  You may pause here for a few breaths because it feels really nice!
  4. Reach up with the right fingers to wrap your peace fingers around the right big toe.
  5. As you inhale, straighten the right knee to press the foot up to the ceiling.  Your right elbow should straighten but pay attention that your shoulder blades stay flat on the floor. 
  6. Use your breath here to help you sink deeper into the pose, gently pulling the leg towards your torso, moving it from the hip.
  7. Gently release the grip on the toe and float the leg back to the ground before switching to the left side.
 Grab on to the big toe!

Grab on to the big toe!

How to Modify Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose

 Use a strap, towel or belt to help you get deeper into the pose.

Use a strap, towel or belt to help you get deeper into the pose.

Many of us are not able to use our hands to reach the bottoms of our feet and get the full extension of the pose.  Don't be afraid to use props!  They are not a sign of weakness or inability, but rather provide you the chance to sink deeper into a posture than you could unassisted.  This modification will require that towel, belt or strap mentioned above.

  1. Repeat steps 1-3 as outlined above.
  2. Rather than grabbing for the toe with your hand on the right foot, loop your prop around the ball of the right foot.
  3. On an inhale, extend through the knee to take the right foot up towards the ceiling.
  4. Take your right hand as far up the prop as you can while also keeping the shoulder pressed into your mat.
  5. Use your breath to sink deeper into the stretch on the back of the leg.
  6. Gently release the hand-grip on the prop and allow the leg to come back down to earth.  
  7. Unhook the prop and repeat on the left side.
 Straps can help make your arms long enough for your body to reach!

Straps can help make your arms long enough for your body to reach!

This is a great pose to practice anytime you find yourself lounging around on the ground.  Maybe at night when you're on the ground watching TV.  Maybe when you're rolling around with the kids.  If you're a runner, add this to your stretch and recovery routine!