Anantasana (Sleeping Vishnu or Side Reclining Leg Lift Pose)

English Name(s)
Sleeping Vishnu
Side Reclining Leg Lift Pose
Sanskrit
अनन्तासन/Anantāsana
Pronunciation
ah-nahn-TAHS-uh-nuh
Meaning
anantā : “without end” or “the infinite one”
āsana: “posture”

Introduction

Ananta is one of the many nicknames of the famous Hindu God, Lord Vishnu. Coincidentally, Ananta also happens to be the name of a 1000 head celestial snake, Shesha-naga. According to legends, Lord Vishnu rested on this serpent during his stay at the bottom of the primordial ocean.

In English, Anantasana is referred to as the Sleeping Vishnu Pose because it resembles the posture of Lord Vishnu while he sat on the snake. This pose requires a lot of patience and focus. If you are a beginner, then this pose can prove quite challenging.

This side reclining pose stretches the back of your legs, the sides of your torso and tones your body. This asana or yoga pose should be performed on an empty stomach, and you must ensure that your bowels are empty as well.

The best time to practice this pose is early in the morning, but if you don’t have time you can also perform it in the evenings. However, please leave a good gap between your meals and the practice.

The results of a study show that prenatal yoga is a safe and effective way for pregnant women to reduce their anxiety levels. It can also be used as an alternative treatment option or input into class programs offered by midwives, which would help improve the quality of maternal-fetal health in expectant moms.

Muscle Focus

Side Reclining Leg Lift Pose focuses on several muscles such as

  • Obliques
  • Gluteus
  • Hips-External Rotators
  • Pelvic
  • Adductors

Ideal For Health Conditions

  • Increases ROM (Range of Motion).
  • It aids tight external hip rotators.
  • Makes our hip joint more healthy.
  • Releases Adductors muscles.

Benefits of Anantasana

1.  Anantasana Tones your Abdominal Organs

Practicing Anantasana is a great way of toning abdominal organs, as it works on the Oblique muscles of your abdomen. Anantasana also helps in strengthening the core and tones these muscles, which leads to a flat tummy.

2.  It Gives a Good Stretch to the Entire Body

It stretches inner thighs (the Adductor muscles) and groin muscles. Anantasana also stretches the hamstring muscles and strengthens shoulder muscles. This asana is therefore very beneficial for people who practice sports or any physical activity that involves the use of these muscle groups.

3.  You can Lose Weight from Hip and Thigh Portion

If you perform Anantasana regularly with proper form, you will start seeing a difference in your hips and thighs. The pose helps to reduce fat accumulation in these areas and gives you a leaner look. However, you will need to maintain a healthy diet to achieve good results.

4. It Helps in Development of Pelvic Portion

Anantasana is known to help in the development of the pelvic portion. It tones up this area and makes it more flexible, which ultimately results in better sexual health. Regular practice of this pose is also known to help in correcting menstrual disorders.

5. Anantasana is an Anulom-Vilom for Your Neck

The Anulom Vilom (alternate nostril breathing) technique is very effective at calming the mind and improving lung capacity. Anantasana helps you practice this posture as it opens up the back of your throat, and improves airflow through both nostrils equally. This leads to better respiratory health.

6. This Asana Strengthens Shoulder Muscles

This pose strengthens the Anterior Deltoid muscles (front of your shoulders). It is also good for stretching and strengthening your upper back, spine, hips, and legs. Anantasana strengthens your body in general.

7. It Helps with Digestive Problems too

Anantasana improves blood circulation to all organs. The better the blood flow, the stronger will be your cardiovascular system and other organs like kidneys, liver, etc., An improved circulatory system is essential for a healthy body as it gets rid of toxins from the body more efficiently. Anantasana, therefore, helps you fight against diseases like diabetes or hypertension by improving metabolism naturally.

8.  Blood Circulation Your Heart and Brain Increases

The Anantasana pose helps to stimulate blood circulation in your heart and brain. It also increases the supply of oxygen and nutrients to these organs, which is essential for their proper functioning. Anantasana, therefore, keeps your mind and body healthy and active.

9.  It Helps Relieve Mental Anxiety and Stress

Anantasana is a very effective way of relieving mental anxiety and stress. The deep breathing involved in the asana relaxes your mind and calms down your thoughts. This pose also has a therapeutic effect on disorders related to the urinary bladder, uterus, prostrate, testes, and ovaries.

10.  Anantasana is Very Beneficial Women During Their Periods and Menopause

This pose also helps to relieve the symptoms of periods and menopause. The stretching and opening of hips combined with pelvic floor muscle exercises can prove to be quite beneficial for females. Anantasana is therefore a must-do pose for all women out there.

Contraindications

The Sleeping Vishnu Pose comes with many benefits. Still, some precautions should be undertaken when practicing this pose.

This asana is not suitable for people who have sciatica pain, spondylitis issues, or slip disc problems. If you are dealing with such conditions, then it is recommended that you seek advice from a qualified doctor and practice this pose under the guidance of a professional yoga teacher.

Furthermore, people experiencing pain in their neck and shoulders should also avoid practicing Anantasana as it can end up hurting their body.

Variations

  • Ardha Padma Anantasana
  • Anatasana with Strap
  • Sahaja Anantasana

Preparatory Pose

  • Supta Padangusthasana
  • Anatasana with Strap
  • Sahaja Anantasana

Beginner’s Tips

  • Anantasana is a relatively easy pose that can be mastered with practice.
  • You may find it helpful to use a strap or towel to help you grab your toes if you are having difficulty reaching them.
  • Make sure to keep your back straight and aligned throughout the pose. Do not let it sag towards the floor.
  • Keep your gaze focused on a point in front of you to maintain balance.
  • Exhale as you stretch your leg skyward, inhaling as you return to starting position. This will help deepen the stretch.
  • If needed, take breaks in between each side before concluding with Shavasana.

How to do Anantasana? (with one leg)

  • Lie down straight on your back.
  • Turn towards your left.
  • Lift your right leg up at a 90-degree angle.
  • Now, place your left hand below your head to support it.
  • Now, raise your right and try to grab the toes of your right leg with your right hand.
  • Hold on in this position for about 20 seconds or as long as you can hold on.
  • Try to stay stable and maintain balance.
  • Stretch the right leg towards the ceiling as much as you can while exhaling.
  • Ensure that your right arm and leg are straight before turning towards the other side and repeating the same sequence of movements.
  • When finished, lie in Shavasana and relax for a few minutes before concluding your practice.

Mental Benefits Side Reclining Leg Life Pose

  • Calms Your Senses.
  • Sharpens Your Focus.
  • Relieve Stress and Anxiety to a great extent.
  • Reduce Fatigue And Exhaustion.
  • Promoting Emotional Healing.

Bottom Line

Anantasana is a great beginner’s pose because it teaches you how to stabilize and maintain balance while stretching. It also helps improve flexibility in the spine, hamstrings, and groin region. Give this pose a try today! Namaste!

1 sources
  1. https://www.belitungraya.org/BRP/index.php/bnj/article/view/99
Meera Watts
Meera Watts is the owner and founder of Siddhi Yoga. She is known around the world for her thought leadership in the wellness industry and was also recognized as a Top 20 International Yoga Blogger. Her writing on holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, CureJoy, FunTimesGuide, OMtimes and other international magazines. Meera is a yoga teacher and yoga therapist, though now she focuses primarily on leading Siddhi Yoga, blogging and spending time with her family in Singapore.

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