To perform the Supta Padangusthasana, we have divided the practice into four easy-to-follow different segments. These include warm-ups, main posture steps, alignment cues, and relaxing asanas.
Let's take a closer look at each segment:
Part 1 - Preparatory Poses for Supta Padangusthasana
Prepare for Supta Padangusthasana by warming up your glutes, pelvis, hamstrings, and back. Follow the below-listed preparation sequence:
1. Apanasana Variation (Knees to Chest Pose with Single Leg) - Lie on the yoga mat over your back, bend one leg and bring the knee close to your chest.
Wrap your arms around the knee, hug the arms tight and lock your forearms by gripping the opposite elbows.
This is an ideal pose to gently activate blood circulation in your inner thighs, pelvis, and lower back. Hold this pose on each side for 2 to 3 minutes.
2. Sucirandhrasana (Eye of the Needle Pose) - Stay lying on your back and start to simply—lift and bend the legs up in the air. Take your right leg and cross it over the other while resting your right leg's ankle just below the left leg's knee.
Grip the left thigh muscles with your palms and interlock your fingers as you start to pull the leg very gently closer to your chest. While you pull the leg closer, consciously feel your glutes muscle stretching deeply.
Hold this on each side for a couple of minutes until you feel your glutes opening up.
Part 2: Step-by-Step Instructions to Perform Supta Padangusthasana
The following are steps to practice the reclining hand to big toe pose:
Step 1- Take a deep breath in, exhale and lie down on your back. Engage your core muscles here so that the navel is trying to reach the tailbone.
Step 2- Lift the right leg avoiding any bending or turning out of the leg. Simply, keep the lifted leg straight and your toes pointed.
Step 3- Place the left arm on the left side in straight resting mode. Next, take your right arm, extend the arm overhead and reach the toes of your right foot.
Step 4- Inhale, flex your leg straight, stabilize the pelvis, and maintain the left leg flat on the ground.
Step 5- Hold the pose here for 10 to 30 seconds on each side, and repeat the same on the other side.
Inhale - While engaging the core and leg muscles.
Exhale - When ready to release the pose.
Inhale & Exhale - Before getting into the pose and while holding the stretch for a long duration.
Performance Duration for Beginners: Hold the reclining hand to the big toe pose for 30 to 90 seconds on each side.
Performance Duration for Advanced: Hold the reclining hand to the big toe pose for 2 to 5 minutes on each side.
Part 3: Things to Keep in Mind
Prior to getting into Supta Padangusthasana, keep these posture cues in mind:
Engage your legs and core muscles - You won’t be able to feel any stretch in the back of your legs or glutes if you’re not engaging the quad muscle and straightening the leg completely.
Also, if the core is not engaged properly, you won’t be able to lift and hold the leg up in the air for a longer duration.
Stabilize the lower leg - If your left leg starts to rise up as you stretch the right leg up in the reclining hand to the big toe pose, then stabilize it with your left arm.
Place the left arm over your right front thigh and ensure your left leg is not rising off the mat.
Part 4: Relaxing Poses After Supta Padangusthasana
Perform the following relaxing asanas to release any tension in your legs, pelvis, or lower back:
1. Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose) - Begin by lying on your back and stepping your heels towards your pelvis. Inhale, and open your knees to the bottom of the feet touch in Namaste formation.
Exhale and bring the knees closer to the ground. If this is too intense, put a bolster below your spine and yoga blocks under each knee. This pose is excellent for gently relaxing your spine, pelvis, and lower body.
2. Shavasana (Corpse Pose) - This pose will help you restore the whole body. Continue the Reclining Bound Angle Pose and spread your legs straight on the mat with your palms facing the ceiling on the side.
Close your eyes and mindfully focus on your breath. With each breath, you take, relax the whole body consciously and maintain this pose for as long as you feel comfortable.