SIDE-RECLINING LEG LIFT
Anantasana is an asymmetrical, balancing posture. This asana appears extremely easy, but requires flexibility, strength, and cultivated balance to find peace and calm. It also encourages the practitioner to dive deep and to seek a profound sense of intuitive stillness.
HOW TO PERFORM
Lie on the floor on your left side. Press actively through your left heel, flex the ankle, and use the outside of the foot to stabilise the position. Bend your right elbow and support your head in your left palm. Slide your elbow away from your torso to stretch the armpit.
Externally rotate the left leg so the toes point toward the ceiling, then bend and draw the knee toward your torso. Take hold of the left big toe with your index, middle finger, and thumb. Extend the leg up toward the ceiling on an inhale. Roll your left shoulder down. Press actively through both heels. Stay in the pose for 5-7 breaths, then release the leg, take a few breaths, and roll over onto your left side. Repeat for the same length of time.
PRECAUTIONS AND CONTRAINDICATIONS
Avoid practising this asana if you have pain in your neck or shoulders. If you have spondylitis, a slipped disc, or sciatica, practice this asana only under the guidance of an experienced teacher.
Lying on the side causes asymmetrical diaphragmatic movement and pressure, therefore practising Anantasana interrupts and brings into your awareness breathing patterns which can inform and enhance a pranayama practice. This asana also stretches the backs of the legs and the sides of the torso, and tones the belly.
If you feel unstable, firm your sole against the wall. If reaching your big toe is not possible, loop a strap around the sole of your foot and hold the strap.