Supported Hand to Big Toe Pose, Salamba Supta Pandagusthasana

by Restorative Yoga Poses on March 29, 2011

This pose helps to stretch the hamstrings, groins, and calves. It may help reduce back pain and sciatica. Some reports claim benefits in reducing high blood pressure and improving fertility with practice of this pose.

Towel Roll, Wall, Block, Strap

1) Place your mat perpendicular to the wall. Sit down onto the mat with the legs extended, heels pressing into the wall. Place the block under the left heel (The block isn’t necessary if your hamstrings are very flexible).
2) Carefully transition into supine, coming down onto the elbows and rolling down onto your back. Heels remain against the wall.
4) Bend the right knee and loop a strap around the arch of the right foot. Hold the strap with both hands. Extend the left knee and push the left heel into the wall. Inhale and straighten the right knee extending the right heel up to the ceiling.
5) Walk your hands up the strap until both elbows are fully extended. Press the shoulder blades towards the ground and widen the collarbones. The arms should be engaged from the shoulders drawing down towards the mat with no bend/pull at the elbows.
6) Extend the right knee strongly and dip the toes toward the shinbone for an added stretch. Hold the leg as close to vertical as possible drawing the leg towards the head with each successive exhale.
7) Hold this pose for 1 minute before slowly releasing the leg and returning to a sitting position. Follow steps 1-6 for the opposite side.

This pose can be done without the strap and using the wall as a support. The main concept is the same as the above with the main difference being the body position at an angle of 45 degrees to the wall. Begin in supine; heels against the wall and the body angled 45 degrees from the wall. Press the left heel into the wall and bend the right knee (the leg closest to the wall) into the chest. Extend the right leg and place it onto the wall. Allow the leg to fall towards the floor intensifying a groin stretch. For a greater stretch angle your body so that it is closer to the wall. Moving the body away from the wall will lessen the stretch. Position yourself finding your personal edge of comfort and remain in this position for 3-5 minutes. Remember to do the opposite side for the same amount of time.

Concentrate on lengthening the time of exhalation for 2x the time of inhalation. Focus your attention on the gentle pause between the inhalation and exhalation. Allow all muscles that aren’t being used including muscles of the face and belly to fully relax. Use gentle effort, without force. Relax, Renew, Restore!

Diarrhea, headache. If you have high blood pressure place a towel roll under the head and neck.

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