Health & Beauty

To infinity and beyond: Anantasana

When you are ready and your muscles are warm, lie on your right side, bend both knees so that they are stacked on top of each other, bend your right elbow and rest your head on your hand.  Draw the left knee towards you, take hold of the toe, the foot or use a belt if that works better for you, then slowly begin to straighten the left leg towards the ceiling whilst externally rotating the hip (fine to keep a slight bend in the knee if the hamstrings feel tight).  This is a fabulous place to stay and breathe, but if it feels OK and you want to take it further, then you can slowly work towards straightening and sliding the bottom leg away, maintaining your balance on your side whilst flexing the right foot to keep the leg muscles active.  Stay for as long as feels comfortable, then slowly release, shake or stretch anything here to reset your muscles, and repeat on the other side.

It’s a good idea to lie on the long edge of our mat as a guide to help us with our alignment, plus Sleeping Vishnu is also a lovely pose to practice when we have the sofa all to ourselves!

BKS Iyengar mentions Anantasana in “Light on Yoga:”  “The pelvic region benefits from this exercise and the hamstring muscles are properly toned.  The asana also relieves backaches and prevents the development of hernia.”

We might not have all of infinity, but sometimes these postures can take a little time and patience to practice and perfect, but yoga isn’t all about perfection – if it feels good, stay with it.  Sleeping Vishnu is a work in progress and wobbling and rolling over is all part of the fun of this pose, but as always work to your measure, listen to your breath and let your body become the centre of your universe.