Supta Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana – Reclining Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose
This one is quite the mouthful to say, either in English OR Sanskrit! This pose is a natural progression from last week’s favourite pose. If you come into the pose the same way you do in last week’s, in this week’s what you would do is extend your leg out to the side. So for example if your left leg was in the air and your left hand was holding either the strap or your foot, then you would extend your leg out to the left. This pose is a really great inner thigh stretch and can be a subtle/gentle stretch or can be very intense depending on how deep you go. It is also a nice and gentle hip opener at the same time as strengthening your arm. I have always loved this pose, but when I first started practicing it, I find it challenging. To me the challenging was not the hip opening or the inner thigh/hamstring opening, the challenge was rooting my opposite thigh back and my lack of arm strength. This pose used to really make me sweat! The importance of rooting the opposite thigh back (so if we went back to our earlier example, the opposite thigh would be the right)is to keep your hips evenly rooted. Your opposite thigh is going to want to lift so badly in this pose, but keeping it rooted creates a better stretch in the hips (not to mention it keeps your spine in neutral). The most advanced version of this pose would be peace fingers hooking onto big toe OR holding your inner or outer heel. This pose can be modified by using a strap (especially if you used a strap in the centered version from last week) or your can rest your outer thigh onto your hand (your elbow will most likely be on the ground in this one, so your hand is almost like a shelf). I love how this pose can be just as supported without the use of props and I love that it can range from a gentle stretch, to an intense one with arm strengthening going on! All that is going on in this pose makes me absolutely LOVE it!