Balancing Act

This issue’s cover model Amy Ippoliti shows us how to move from Supta Padangusthasana to Ardha Chandra Chapasana.  We give you a sneak peak here, you can find the whole practice in the latest issue.


Supta = Reclining · Pada = Foot 
Angusta = Big toe · Asana = Pose
Reclining Hand-to-Big Toe Pose


Safely opens your hamstrings and releases your lower back when performed with a healthy lumbar curve


1 Lie on your back with your legs together, feet flexed, as if standing in Tadasana (Mountain Pose). Breathe steadily.

2 Anchor your inner thighs toward the floor; arch your lower back away from the floor—enough so that you can pass your hand under the small of your back.

3 Without flattening the curve in your lower back, bend your left knee and lift it into your chest. Hold your left thigh with both hands clasped near your knee. Anchor your right inner thigh to the mat to help keep the lumbar curve intact. Pushing your left thigh away from your chest can help maintain the curve as well.

4 Start to straighten your left leg toward the ceiling. If it trembles, or if you can’t straighten it easily, use a strap around the arch of your foot and position your leg farther away from your upper body so you can straighten your leg without strain (see this and additional modifications on page 64). Keep the muscles in both legs engaged and strong. 

5 Test your hamstring flexibility by drawing your leg closer to your chest, keeping 
it straight while maintaining a natural lumbar curve in your low back. If your back starts to flatten, you’ve reached your edge and should back off slightly. Hold this pose for 5 breaths, and then slowly release your left leg to the floor; repeat on the other side.


don’t flatten your lumbar curve or press your lower spine into the mat. Doing so reduces the stretch in your hamstrings and may cause a flattening of your lumbar spine over time, which 
is unhealthy for your lower back.

don’t perform the pose with your top leg bent, which minimizes the stretch in your hamstrings. Instead, move your leg away from your chest until you can straighten it comfortably.

Get the whole practice in the latest issue of Yoga Journal.  Current issue on sale now at all Coles supermarket or subscribe to receive our latest offer of buy one year and get two more issues free. 

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