Supta means lying down. Pada is the foot. Angushtha means the big toe. Supta Padangusthasana is done in three movements.
- Lie fiat on the back, stretch both legs and keep the knees tight.
- Inhale; raise the left leg from the floor until it is perpendicular. Keep the right leg stretched fully on the floor and rest the right hand on the right thigh.
- Raise the left arm and catch the left big toe between the thumb and the fore and middle fingers. Take 3 or 4 deep breaths.
- Exhale, raise the head and trunk from the floor, bend the left arm at the elbow and pull the left leg towards the head without bending it at the knee. Pull the leg down, lift the head and trunk up together and rest the chin on the left knee. Stay in this position for about 20 seconds, keeping the right leg fully stretched straight along the floor while breathing normally.
- Inhale, move the head and trunk back to the floor and the left leg back to the perpendicular. This completes the first movement.
- Exhale, hold the left big toe, bend the left knee and move the grasped toe towards the right shoulder. Bend the left elbow, stretch the left arm behind the head and move the head up into the space between the left forearm and the left shin. Take a few deep breaths.
- Inhale, move the head back to the floor, bring the left arm in front of the head and straighten the left arm and leg. Take the left leg back to the perpendicular, maintaining the toe hold throughout. During this movement also the right leg remains fully extended on the floor throughout and the right hand rests on the right thigh. This completes the second movement.
- Exhale, and without disturbing the head and trunk or lifting the right leg off the floor, move the left arm and leg sideways to the left down to the floor. Do not release the toe hold but bring the left arm in level with the shoulders on the floor. Stay in this position for about 20 seconds without bending the left leg at the knee. Breathe normally.
- Now inhale and without bending the left leg at the knee, bring it back to the perpendicular without releasing the grip on the left big toe or disturbing the right leg stretched on the floor.
- Exhale, release the toe grip, rest the left leg on the floor beside the right one and keep the left hand on the left thigh. This completes the third movement. To start with it is difficult to keep the extended leg stretched right out on the floor throughout these three movements. Therefore, ask a friend to keep the leg down by pressing the thigh just above the knee, or press the foot against a wall.
- After completing the three movements on the left side, take a few deep inhalations and then repeat them on the right, substituting the word ‘left’ for the word ‘right’.
Effects of Supta Padangusthasana
The legs will develop properly by the practice of Supta Padangusthasana. Persons suffering from sciatica and paralysis of the legs will derive great benefit from it. The blood is made to circulate in the legs and hips where the nerves are rejuvenated. The pose removes stiffness in the hip joints and prevents hernia. It can be practised by both men and women.
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