Reclining Big Toe Pose

This is one of the most valuable poses I learnt during my training. It is a great asana to develop flexibility in your hamstrings without straining your lower back: your back remains straight and well supported against the floor. This posture helps you learn how to combine effort and surrender, creating a state of internal equilibrium.

HOW TO PERFORM 

• Bend your right knee and draw it towards your chest.
• Put the strap over the ball of the foot, stretch the right leg up and move your groin down towards the floor creating a little curve in the lower back.
• Lengthen the tailbone and straighten both legs.
• Keep the left leg pressing down towards the earth and both feet flexed towards you.
• Find your edge, a place where you can feel the opening.

 CUES

• Rotate the lower leg inward so that your entire leg (including your thigh) remains straight and your lower foot remains perpendicular to the floor.
• Find Tadasana in your torso.
• Spread your toes.
• Extend the lifted leg.
• Keep the elbows straight.
• Lengthen the back of the neck.
• Keep the shoulders on the floor.
• Level both hips with each other.

WHEN TO AVOID

• In your 2nd or 3rd trimester of pregnancy.
• If suffering from diarrhoea or headache.
• If you’ve recently injured you hamstring.

BE CAREFUL

If you have high blood pressure, raise your head and neck by resting it on a folded blanket.

MODIFICATIONS

• For beginners: You can make this pose slightly easier by raising the heel of the lower leg off the floor a few inches or on a block.

• For more advanced students: If you are flexible, grip the big toe of the raised leg with the middle finger and thumb instead of using a strap. Be sure to keep the arm inside the thigh when taking hold of the toe.