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Utthita Supta Padangusthasana (Extended Supine Hand to Toe) - Benefits & Steps

Utthita Supta Padangusthasana, also known as the Extended Supine Hand to Toe pose. This yoga asana, rooted in ancient wisdom, invites us to connect mind, body, and spirit while fostering flexibility, strength, and tranquility. Let's delve into the essence of this graceful posture, exploring its meaning, benefits, variations, and more.


Utthita Supta Padangusthasana is a Sanskrit term that translates to "Extended Supine Hand to Toe pose." It involves lying on the back and extending one leg upward while holding the big toe with the hand on the same side.


 Utthita Supta Padangusthasana (Extended Supine Hand to Toe)

Utthita Supta Padangusthasana is pronounced as "oot-THEE-tah soo-PTAH pah-DAHN-goo-STAH-suh-nuh."


This pose primarily targets the hamstrings, calves, and hip flexors. It also engages the core muscles, stabilizing the pelvis and spine. Additionally, Utthita Supta Padangusthasana improves balance and proprioception while enhancing flexibility in the legs and lower back.


How to Perform Utthita Supta Padangusthasana (Extended Supine Hand to Toe)

  1. Lie on your back with your legs extended and arms resting alongside your body.

  2. Inhale and bend your right knee towards your chest.

  3. Loop a yoga strap or belt around the arch of your right foot, holding the ends with both hands.

  4. Exhale and extend your right leg upward, straightening the knee as much as possible.

  5. Keep your left leg grounded and engage the quadriceps to maintain stability.

  6. Hold the big toe of your right foot with the index and middle fingers of your right hand, or use the strap for assistance.

  7. Straighten your left leg along the ground, pressing the back of the thigh into the earth.

  8. Keep your shoulders relaxed and your spine lengthened.

  9. Hold the pose for several breaths, then release and repeat on the opposite side.


 Utthita Supta Padangusthasana (Extended Supine Hand to Toe)

When to Do It

Utthita Supta Padangusthasana can be practiced as part of your yoga routine, preferably in the morning or evening. It's best practiced on an empty stomach or at least four to six hours after a meal.


Preparatory Poses

  • Supta Padangusthasana (Supine Hand to Toe pose)

  • Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Stretch

  • Ardha Uttanasana (Half Forward Bend)


Follow-up Poses

  • Supta Virasana (Reclining Hero Pose)

  • Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose)

  • Savasana (Corpse Pose)


Chakra

Utthita Supta Padangusthasana stimulates the Svadhisthana (Sacral) chakra, awakening creativity, sensuality, and emotional balance.

Svadhisthana (Sacral) chakra

Mantra

"Om Vam"

Chanting this mantra while practicing Utthita Supta Padangusthasana can enhance its benefits and deepen your connection to your inner self.


Alignment Cues

  • Keep both shoulders grounded and relax the neck and facial muscles.

  • Maintain a slight engagement of the core muscles to support the lower back.

  • Press the back of the extended leg firmly into the ground.

  • Keep the hips level and avoid letting one side lift higher than the other.

  • Breathe deeply and evenly, allowing the breath to guide you deeper into the pose.


Duration of Hold

Hold Utthita Supta Padangusthasana for 30 seconds to 1 minute on each side, gradually increasing the duration as you build strength and flexibility.


Drishti

Your gaze (drishti) can be directed towards your toes or towards the ceiling, depending on your comfort and balance.


Physical & Spiritual Awareness

As you practice Utthita Supta Padangusthasana, cultivate awareness of the sensations in your body, the rhythm of your breath, and the subtle energy flowing within and around you. Embrace the sense of balance and harmony that arises from this pose, allowing it to nourish your body, mind, and spirit.


Beginners' Tips

  • Use a yoga strap or belt to reach your big toe if you have limited flexibility.

  • Bend your knee slightly if you feel strain in your hamstrings or lower back.

  • Start with a gentle stretch and gradually deepen into the pose over time.


Who Should Not Do It: Avoid Utthita Supta Padangusthasana if you have any acute injuries or conditions affecting the hips, knees, or lower back. Pregnant women should also avoid this pose or practice it with caution under the guidance of a qualified instructor.


Who Should Do It: Utthita Supta Padangusthasana is suitable for individuals looking to improve flexibility in the hamstrings, calves, and hips. It also offers a grounding and balancing effect, making it beneficial for calming the mind and reducing stress.


Benefits of Utthita Supta Padangusthasana (Extended Supine Hand to Toe)

  1. Improved Flexibility: Utthita Supta Padangusthasana stretches and lengthens the hamstrings, calves, and hip flexors, enhancing overall flexibility in the lower body.

  2. Enhanced Balance and Stability: Holding the extended leg in this pose challenges your balance and strengthens the core muscles, promoting greater stability and proprioception.

  3. Relief from Lower Back Pain: Regular practice of this pose can alleviate tension and discomfort in the lower back by promoting proper alignment and spinal extension.

  4. Stress Reduction: The mindful breathing and focused awareness required in Utthita Supta Padangusthasana can help calm the mind, reduce stress, and induce a sense of relaxation and tranquility.

  5. Stimulation of the Sacral Chakra: This pose stimulates the Svadhisthana (Sacral) chakra, promoting emotional balance, creativity, and sensuality.

  6. Improved Circulation: Utthita Supta Padangusthasana increases blood flow to the legs and pelvic region, aiding in better circulation and reducing swelling and discomfort.

  7. Postural Correction: Practicing this pose regularly can help correct postural imbalances by strengthening and lengthening the muscles along the spine and lower body.


Modifications for Utthita Supta Padangusthasana (Extended Supine Hand to Toe)

  • Bend the knee of the extended leg if reaching the big toe is challenging.

  • Place a folded blanket or bolster under the hips for support and elevation.

  • Use a yoga strap or belt to reach the big toe if flexibility is limited.

  • Experiment with different hand placements, such as holding the ankle or calf instead of the big toe.


Common Mistakes

  • Overarching the lower back or lifting one hip higher than the other.

  • Straining the neck or shoulders by tensing the muscles.

  • Holding the breath or shallow breathing during the pose.

Safety and Precautions

  • Listen to your body and avoid pushing beyond your limits.

  • If you experience any discomfort or pain, gently release the pose and consult with a yoga instructor or healthcare professional.

Additional Preparation Tips

  • Face towards the east or north direction while practicing this pose, as it is believed to enhance positive energy flow.

  • Wear comfortable, breathable clothing that allows for ease of movement.

  • Practice Utthita Supta Padangusthasana in a quiet, well-ventilated space with a calming ambiance.

  • Diffuse essential oils like lavender or chamomile to promote relaxation and focus.

  • Choose soothing instrumental music or nature sounds to accompany your practice, enhancing the overall experience of tranquility and serenity.


Utthita Supta Padangusthasana invites us to embrace balance and harmony, both on and off the mat. As you explore this graceful pose with mindfulness and intention, may you discover the beauty of inner equilibrium and the limitless potential within. Allow Utthita Supta Padangusthasana to guide you on a journey of self-discovery and transformation, awakening your body, mind, and spirit to the boundless possibilities that await.


Happy yoga-ing, everyone!

Namaste!



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About the Author

Namaste! My name is Pooja Chauhan

I am a Yoga Alliance Certified Yoga Teacher and a practitioner. Diving deep into the realm of my own heritage to create a significant impact in preserving and sharing my culture with the world.

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