Anantasana (Sleeping Vishnu or Side Reclining Leg Lift Pose)

English Name(s)
Sleeping Vishnu
Side Reclining Leg Lift Pose
अनन्तासन / Anantasana
Ananta: Infinite/ Endless
Asana: Pose

Anantasana at a Glance

Anantasana comes under the categories of the relaxing and balancing pose and is also known as Vishnu’s couch pose. According to Yogic Hindu Mythology ‘Ananta’ was the serpent’s name, with 1000-headed and Lord Vishnu resting on it. It stimulates your Muladhara chakra and helps you to be grounded and balanced. It may look an easy one but is a challenging pose.


  • It helps to strengthen your thigh and abdominal muscles.
  • It stretches your thigh, pelvic floor, and arm muscles.
  • This pose can be helpful in sciatica and mild arthritis.
  • This can be helpful with back issues and helps with better posture.
  • It helps to reduce stress and anxiety and calms your mind.
  • It helps to improve your balance and coordination.

Who can do it?

Advanced yoga practitioners and intermediate yoga practitioners can do this pose. Individual looking out to enhance their flexibility and strength can do this pose. People with good core strength can do this pose. Beginners with a normal level of flexibility can do this under the guidance of the yoga teacher. People who want to improve their balance can do this pose.

Who should not do it?

People with any injuries to their arms, shoulders, hips, knees, and lower back should avoid this pose. Individuals with any surgeries to their shoulders, wrists, ankles, or hips should avoid this pose. Individuals with high BP should avoid it. People with glaucoma should avoid doing this pose. Pregnant women should avoid this pose. Women during their menstrual cycle should avoid it.

How to Do Anantasana?
Follow Step-by-Step Procedure

This pose may seem to be very easy pose and relaxing, yes, it is a relaxing pose but challenging in some ways and you can find out when you do it.

  1. Before you start this pose, do some warm-up and preparatory poses.
  2. Start this pose, by lying down on the yoga mat in the savasana, get relaxed with a few breaths and loosen up your muscles.
  3. Now turn down on your left side (keep the left side of your body on the mat and the right side up) keeping your right foot over your left foot.
  4. Ground your left leg by pressing the left heel and balancing your body with the left foot.
  5. Keep your left arm extended and straight up (parallel to your body), in the same line from heel to your fingertips.
  6. Now bring your left arm outside as you stretch your armpit and keep it on the mat.
  7. Slowly lift only your head and the torso bring your left palm under your left side of the head and rest your head on the palm.
  8. Inhale and lift your right leg off your left leg bend the knee of the right leg and bring it toward your upper body.
  9. Here your left leg is still on the floor and hold the right big toe with the help of your right thumb and first two fingers.
  10. Now inhale and lift the leg adjusting the pelvis and the sacrum and lifting it slightly forward to make it comfortable and raise the leg in the reclined position.
  11. Exhale and deepen the stretch by engaging your core and thigh muscles.
  12. In this final pose, Gaze is in the front at a comfortable position.
  13. Hold this pose, for a few breaths by maintaining the core strength and engaging the glutes.
  14. When you release, release the grip of your toe and bring your legs down bring your right hand on the ground, and relax and rest on your back with relaxed breaths.
  15. Once you are comfortable you can do it on the other side by keeping your right side of the body down and left up. Lift your left leg fold the left knee and bring it towards you hold the big toe with your left hand and continue the same as mentioned above with breath awareness.

What are the Benefits of Anantasana?

  • This helps to give a good stretch to your hips, hamstring muscles, and your entire legs.
  • It helps to strengthen your shoulders, arms, and your neck.
  • It helps to enhance the strength and makes your spine more flexible.
  • It helps to open your inner thighs, hip flexors, and groin muscles.
  • This pose helps to strengthen stimulate and tone abdominal organs.
  • Anantasana is an intermediate-level side balancing yoga pose that helps open the pelvic area and activate the balance of the body’s chakras.
  • This helps improve the blood circulation in your legs.
  • Increases the flow of Parana due to stimulation of the Muladhara Chakra (Root Chakra).
  • Ithelps to relieve stress and anxiety and relaxes your entire body.

Health Conditions that Might Benefit from Anantasana

  • With regular practice, this pose can help reduce urinary issues.
  • This can also help relieve sciatica and mild arthritis.
  • When you practice this pose consistently, it can help to reduce the extra fat in your waist, thighs, and abdomen.
  • This can help with the lower back pain caused due to continuous sitting.
  • This posture helps to massage your abdomen, which helps avoid constipation and bloating and keeps your digestive system healthy.
  • This pose helps to stretch and strengthen your different muscle groups and helps you relax deeply.
  • This improves your flexibility, balance, and tension in your body, which helps give you a healthy body and mind.
  • This helps your pelvic floor muscles to be healthy and active.

Safety and Precautions

  • If any injury, contact your healthcare professional for better guidance before doing it.
  • Warm-up is a very important part of any yoga pose and is the same for the Anantasana pose, to loosen your muscles.
  • If you have a Slip disc, severe sciatica pain, or spondylitis, then get guidance and do it under the supervision of an experienced trainer.
  • Avoid this pose during pregnancy and consult your health care professional, if modified then do it under the prenatal yoga teacher on the safer side.
  • If you have any pain or discomfort, just quit the pose, and consult your yoga trainer.
  • Use props and modify the pose if needed for a comfortable pose.

Common Mistakes

  • Don’t do the Sleeping Vishnu pose after your meals.
  • Don’t try to rust into the pose and be mindful while you exit the pose.
  • Make sure to keep your spine straight line.
  • Don’t try to extend your lifted leg more than its limit.
  • Keep your core engaged to support your balance and stability.        
  • Avoid holding your breath, let it flow freely.

Tips for Anantasana

  • Do the preparatory poses like the reclining Big Toe Pose (Supta Padangusthasana) and Extended Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana), Plank pose, and do the warm-ups.
  • Use props if needed, use a strap to hold the foot, and keep the cushion under your head for support. Props can help to make the pose comfortable and accessible.
  • Keep your abdominal and leg muscles active, to support your balance.
  • hold the big toe with your index finger, middle finger, and thumb.
  • Initially do it under the guidance of the yoga trainer.
  • Follow the physical alignment procedures to make it simple and safe.
  • Try to stay stable and maintain balance.
  • If you are a beginner, progress gradually and improve your flexibility slowly.
  • Always practice on both sides to balance your body.

Physical Alignment Principles for Anantasana

  • The whole body should be in one straight line.
  • The feet on the ground should be flexed and extended through the heel.
  • Your core muscles should be active for better stability and body balance.
  • Gaze downward to the floor, to the extended leg straight or straight in front of you.
  • The head is supported with one hand, the upper arm on the ground on that side; and the other hand and leg are stretched straight up.
  • Your head would rest on your hand.
  • Broaden your chest and rib cage.
  • Externally rotate the top leg taking the heel forward and toes back
  • Hold the raised leg big toe with the first 2 fingers.
  • raise your right leg to the shy with a flexed foot.
  • Keep the raised leg engaged to prevent falling.
  • Use a yoga strap to hold the foot initially.
  • Your spine should be straight and extended.
  • Don’t strain your neck.
  • It is essential to support the body to remain in balance while lying on the sides with one leg in extension.

Anantasana and Breath

Most important while doing yoga asana is the breath and the same is true for this pose. Take some deep breaths to relax before you start the pose. Inhale deeply when you start the asana and exhale when you extend your legs up. Keep your breath as the guide to deepen the stretch. At every exhale deepen the stretch as much as you can. Be mindful about the breath and moving it with the pose which will balance and keep the pose stable and calm your mind and body. Let your breath flow and let out the tension with every exhale inhale the prana and let your body and mind feel the sense of deep relaxation.

Anantasana and Variations

  • Hold the foot with the help of the yoga strap loops under the ball of your foot and hold the other end of the strap with your hand.
  • You can also use bolsters to support your back.
  • Initially to support and comfort you can do it with the support of the wall.
  • Easy side reclining leg lift pose.
  • Easy side reclining foot in the front pose.
  • Ardha Padmasana Anantasana pose.
  • Floating Anantasana pose.
  • To challenge yourself, you can bring the lifted leg knee toward your ear to get more stretch.

The Bottom Line

Anantasana or the Sleeping Vishnu pose, is a wonderful relaxing pose for your entire body. It can fix tummy problems, reduce your stress, and help you to be happy and relaxed This could be helpful during your menstrual discomfort. This pose is just not only about your body but also about how calm and happy you feel inside. Take a deep breath and embrace this pose for the positive transformation of your body and mind.

Even the beginner can do this pose, with simple modifications. For any injuries or surgery just consult your health care provider. Do it on an empty stomach. Follow the physical alignment procedure and initially do it under the guidance of the yoga teacher. Your breath should be the guide to this pose, which will help to stabilize your body and mind and give you a sense of calmness.

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Meera Watts
Meera Watts is the owner and founder of Siddhi Yoga International. She is known worldwide for her thought leadership in the wellness industry and was 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. She got the Top 100 Entrepreneur of Singapore award in 2022. Meera is a yoga teacher and therapist, though now she focuses primarily on leading Siddhi Yoga International, blogging and spending time with her family in Singapore.

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