(Reclined Big Toe Pose), Stage 1
Regular practice of this asana will increase flexibility in the back of the legs. The pose is helpful in relieving lower back pain and sciatica. Runners or people who are on their feet a lot will benefit from this exercise.
1. Lie on the floor with your legs out straight and feet together.
2. Extend your buttock bones toward your heels to stretch the back of the legs, and press the legs into the floor.
3. Keep the back of your left leg against the floor as you bend your right knee and place a belt around the ball of your foot. Hold the right side of the belt with your right hand and the left side of the belt with your left hand.
4. Keep your right knee bent and walk your hands up the belt until your arms are straight and the back of your shoulders are on the floor. Press the ball of your foot into the belt as you pull your arm bones down into the shoulders.
MANOA YOGA CENTER
Shelley Choy, co-director of Manoa Yoga Center, demonstrates Supta Padangushtasana.
5. Now, as you breathe evenly, slowly lengthen your right calf to the heel to straighten your leg. Do not lift your shoulders off the floor as you open the chest. Continue to pull down on the belt so that the right leg is pulled into the hip socket. If the stretch is too intense, slide your hands down the strap, away from the foot.
6. Remain in the pose for up to a minute without straining. Work to fully straighten both legs. Keep your right leg vertical and do not let it swing out to the side or toward the body's midline. Maintain even length on both sides of the trunk; do not distort or twist the body.
7. Exhale and release, and do the same with the other leg. Repeat the pose on both sides again, noting the legs gain more pliability with repetition.
With steady practice you will be able to hold the big toe, keeping your body straight and legs fully extended.
and Shelley Choy
are certified Iyengar Yoga teachers and co-direct the Manoa Yoga Center at Manoa Marketplace. Visit www.manoayoga.com
or call 382-3910. Manoa Yoga Center, the authors and the Star-Bulletin take no responsibility for any injury arising from the practice of these yoga postures. Readers should seek a doctor's approval before commencing this yoga practice.