Your aching back and tight hips or hamstrings will thank you for Reclining Big Toe Pose!

Move-It Monday~Yoga Pose: Reclining Big Toe Pose (Supta Hasta Padangusthasana)

Difficulty level: Easy


  • Stretches the hips, hamstrings, groins, thighs and IT band
  • Strengthens the hips, hamstrings, groins, and thighs
  • Encourages a wide range of motion in the hips not usually found in everyday activities

Begin in a reclining position on your mat.  As you breathe, notice the mat under your shoulders and hips, pressing evenly through both shoulders and both hips on the mat.  Press the back of your left thigh firmly into the mat as you extend the leg fully by pressing out through the heel.  Inhale, bend your right knee and draw the knee into the chest.  Grasp the right shin firmly with both hands as you gently press the knee toward the chest while maintaining the press of the left thigh into the mat.  Take a few breaths in this position.

After  3 – 5 breaths, place a strap around the arch of the right foot, near the heel.  Hold both straps in your right hand and extend your left hand on the ground perpendicular to your shoulders, palm down.  On an exhale, firm your shoulder blades on your back as you broaden your chest.  Inhale and extend the right leg perpendicular to the ground, foot flexed as though you were going to walk on the sky.

Rotate your right toes, then exhale and lower your right leg out to the ride side.  Think of the strap merely as an extension of your hands; maintain a light touch on the strap so that your muscles work to move your legs and stabilize your hips.  As you hold this position for 3-5 breaths, press the toes toward the ground and the heel towards the sky.  Continue pressing out through both heels, and pressing down on the left leg.

After 3 – 5 breaths, Inhale and use the inner thigh to draw the right leg back to a vertical position.  Hold the right leg vertically for 3 breaths.

Grasp the straps with your left hand.  Draw your right leg a few inches past the midline of your body in air, pause and press firmly through the right heel.  You should feel increased sensation on the outside of your right thigh (your IT band).  Maintain that engagement by pressing firmly through the heel to straighten the right leg as you roll the hips and draw the right leg towards the left side body.

Even as your hips roll, press both shoulders evenly into the ground.  Inhale, pressing the shoulders down.  Exhale, extending through the legs.  Do this for 3 – 5 breaths.

Inhale, and focus on using the outer right thigh to lift the leg (rather than your hand) back to vertical.    Take 3 – 5 breaths in this position, then bend the knee and extend the right leg on the mat.

Repeat on the left side.


If your neck is uncomfortable in this pose, place a folded blanket under your head or a rolled blanket or towel under the curve of the neck.

To maintain stable hips in this pose, it can be helpful to press the lower leg heel into a baseboard, or to place a sand bag on the lower thigh.  Additionally, a partner can press the base of their palm on the thigh as you extend to assist in stabilizing the hips.

If it is difficult to hold the moving leg in an extended position, place a block outside the hip prior to extending the leg.