Yoga Poses

Side-Reclining Leg Lift Anantasana

Steps

To enter this pose, lie on the left side of the body and rest the head in the palm of the left hand.  Flex the left foot and press the outside of it into the floor.  Bring the right knee into the chest.  Keeping the index and middle fingers of the right hand together, take hold of the big toe with the fingers and wrap the thumb around the same.  Once balance is achieved in this position, straighten the right leg while holding on to the big toe. Keep the leg straight while maintaining a soft knee. Flex the right foot and gently pull on the big toe when exhaling. Bring awareness to the left side of the body to increase the grounding of the body.   Hold for desired time and repeat on the right side.

To exit Anantasana, bend the knee of the leg that is raised.  Release the big toe and return the foot to rest on top of the other foot.

Teacher Queues

Visualization Comments

Imagine a weight or sandbag being placed on the foot remaining on the floor to increase stability.

Technical Comments

  • When raising the leg, rotate the thigh so the toes point toward the ceiling; then bring the foot to a flexed position.
  • Slightly tuck the tailbone in to maintain stability.
  • Extend through the heels.

Benefit Comments

  • Tones abdominals
  • Stretches the side of the body
  • Improves balance
  • Promotes circulation in lower body

Watch Out For:

  • Balance issues
  • Overstretching hamstrings
  • Wrist discomfort where head is resting

Contraindications

  • Back injury or pain
  • Sciatica or slipped disc
  • Chronic headaches or diarrhea

Modifications

  • Use a strap around the ball of the foot if it is difficult to reach the big toe while maintaining a straight leg.
  • If it is difficult to balance, place a blanket or wedge alongside the back to support the body.
  • Hold the leg under the knee and stretch toward the head while allowing the raised leg to bend.
  • Press the sole of the bottom foot into a wall for added support.

Variations

  • Bring the raised leg down toward the floor in front of the body (perpendicular to the body) while maintaining balance.
  • Bend the bottom leg and bring the foot onto the upper thigh of the raised leg (similar to half lotus) while holding the raised leg with the fingers.

Yoga Counter Poses

  • Downward Dog
  • Bow
  • Staff

Written By: Kristen Porter

Kristen Porter is a Yoga Alliance registered yoga teacher, studio owner (www.ovcyoga.com), corporate attorney, wife and mom. Her passion is helping people realize their true strength and inner light by sharing wisdom learned through yoga, meditation and incorporating positive changes in her own life.

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