Sunday, October 27, 2013

30 Days of Relaxation - Day 10

Supta Padangusthasana, or Hand to Big Toe Pose, is good for folks who need a little more feedback from their body than a regular restorative pose provides. It is not exactly active, but the inner thigh stretch is noticeable. Just like in Legs-up-the-Wall Pose, all you need is yourself and a wall. 

Here's how this pose is most often practiced: at our mats using a belt or if we are especially flexible, our first 2 fingers wrapped around the big toe - the leg often comes out to the side. This Yoga Journal image shows the standard pose using a belt:



Here's how to set up to practice for relaxation:  use the wall for support instead of the belt. Lay on your back on the floor at about a 45 degree angle from the wall (as seen here):

The leg closest to the wall is bent at the knee and the leg farther from the wall is extended with the foot resting on the wall. Check your alignment here. Your extended leg should be in the same line as your body, it should not be at any sort of angle. Get comfortable here: perhaps a lumbar support or a small pillow under the neck.

Coming into the pose:
Raise the bent leg and extend it up the wall. Then let it fall open towards the floor until you are getting a good stretch in the inner thigh and maybe a little bit in the hamstrings (as seen here).

You may have to adjust your distance and angle from the wall to get the optimal stretch for your body. Try making your angle to the wall smaller (move your body closer to the wall) if you are more flexible or make the angle greater if you are less flexible. Keep your legs active but not rigid. Try to keep your pelvis from shifting or rocking to accommodate the stretch. Only go as far as you can go in your true range of motion (no compensation). Stay here as long as you are comfortable.

Switching sides:
Bring your leg which is up the wall back in towards the body, bend the leg which is on the floor and put both feet on the wall. From here you can walk your feet along the wall, turning your body around to the other side. Set yourself up here being mindful of support and alignment. Stay on this side for an equal amount of time as you spent on the other side.

Getting out of the pose:
Bring both legs in towards the body, bending the knees and hugging the legs into the chest. Roll to one side, rest for a few breaths, then gently push yourself back up to an easy seated position.

Enjoy!

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