Take a moment to move into Downward-Facing Dog as a preparatory pose in order to warm-up the thighs (click here for instructions ). Take a few rounds of breath in Downward-Facing Dog (one inhale and one exhale, equals one round).
To do Reclining Big Toe Pose: Come to lie down on the back. Option to use a blanket under the head for support, in order to lengthen the back of the neck. Bring your feet to the wall with the legs extended. Line-up the toes and ankles. Bend the right knee and place a strap (or towel) around the sole of the right foot. Begin to slowly extend the right leg up towards the ceiling.
Walk the palms up the strap until the arms are extended straight. Draw the shoulders downward, towards the ground, broadening the area in-between the collarbones. Continue to extend the bottom-extended leg and the left heel pressing into the wall, while simultaneously pressing the thigh downwards, towards the ground. Flex the right toes towards the face in order to create more length in the hamstrings, the backs of the thighs.
Take a few rounds of breath. Visualize the exhales moving into the “tight” areas in order to relax and “soften” the calves, thighs, and groins. Work to create long and smooth inhales and exhales, allowing the central nervous system to calm and the body to relax. Repeat on the opposite side.
Option to take a variation of the pose by bringing the grip to the hand of the extended-upper leg. Swing the leg open to the right side of the body for opening in the inner thigh. Option to use a block or a blanket on the side of the hip for support of the extended-upper leg as it swings to the side. Repeat on the opposite side.
Option to switch the grip of the palm to the opposite hand, in order to swing the leg across the torso for an added stretch in the outer hip and in the gluteus maximus muscles. Repeat on the opposite side.
Option to have a friend support your bottom-extended leg pressing downward, while in the pose. Ask your partner to gently place a folded blanket or towel down against your thigh of the bottom-extended leg.
To come out of the pose: gently remove the strap from the foot. Draw both knees into the chest, Apanasana, and take a few slow and steady breaths. Notice how you feel.
Check with your doctor before performing any form of exercise including yoga. Always honor your body. If a posture gives you pain, gently come out.
Christi Iacono, owner of In Rhythms Yoga
Christi Iacono is a certified yoga teacher, at the 500 hour level, and she is the owner of In Rhythms Yoga, in Clairemont. IRY is a small neighborhood studio in Clairemont, S.D., located in the Mounts streets. Christi has experienced many positive physical and mental transformations from her regular yoga practice. She enjoys sharing her experience, passion, and dedication with her students. She believes that yoga is accessible to all. Rather than forcing someone’s body into a pose, Christi carefully works with each individual to find the variation that will best serve their body. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more info. IRY offers regularly scheduled classes on, Sat., Sun. and Wed. mornings as well as a Tues. evening class. Go to www.inrhythmsyoga.com to see the full schedule, instructors and for private lessons.