Instructor: Sarah N.
Sarah has completed an intensive yoga teacher training program in Pune, India at the BKS Iyengar Yoga Institute. She has been inspired to continue practicing and teaching yoga for life.

Side Reclining Leg Lift Pose: Step-by-Step Instructions

Recline on your side for this leg lift, also known as Anantasana, that stretches the legs and hips while working your belly.

Step by Step Pose Information Benefits


(Pronounced as "ah-none-TAHS-anna")

Ananta is one of the names of the Hindu deity Vishnu, and Anantasana literally means "the seat of Vishnu." In this posture, your body takes the shape of the famous serpent who served as a couch for Vishnu. It is generally best to do this pose after hip openers like Pigeon Pose.

How to do Side-Reclining Leg Lift

Step One

Lie down on your left side. Place your legs and feet in a straight line with your hips and shoulders. Keep your right arm on top of your right hip.

Step Two

Extend your left arm straight on the mat so that your fingers point away from your head and your arm remains under your head while staying in line with your torso. Then bend your left elbow and use your left hand to support your head. The hand should rest against your head above your left ear. Open your armpit as you lengthen your left upper arm, keeping your left elbow in line with your torso. Take a couple of breaths here.

Step Three

Bend your right knee and lift the right leg up so that you can catch your right big toe between your right thumb and first fingers. Stay on your side. If you find yourself rolling, then move closer to a wall. Press the sole of your left foot firmly into the bottom of the wall to give you stability.

If you cannot comfortably grip your right big toe in your right hand, then take a yoga belt. Make a small loop and wrap it around the right foot underneath the balls of the foot. Then hold the end of the belt in your right hand and use the belt to pull your right leg up as far as you can.

Step Four

Now while maintaining a firm grip on the right big toe, extend your right leg and right arm straight up together. The sole of your right foot should face the ceiling. Use your thigh muscles to keep the right leg straight with the right knee facing you. Try to hold the right leg up within the same plane as your torso; the leg should not lean in front of your torso or behind it.

Tuck your tailbone in as you extend both legs through your heels and breathe normally.

Step Five

Hold the pose for a minimum of 20 seconds. Gradually increase the hold up to a minute as you continue practicing it in the future. After you release your leg, lay on your back for a few breaths. Then roll onto your right side and repeat the steps here for the same duration.

Beginner's Tip:

If you need extra support in the pose, then practice it in a corner. Lie on your side with your back against one wall while the foot of your bottom leg presses into the adjoining wall in the corner.

Pose Information

Sanskrit Name:


Pose Level:

Level 2


  • Opens the hamstrings and relieves tension in the legs
  • Reduces backaches
  • Helps prevent hernias
  • Promotes circulation to the abdomen

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Bharadvaja's Twist Pose
Big Toe Pose
Boat Pose
Bound Angle Pose
Bow Pose
Bridge Pose
Camel Pose
Cat Pose
Chair Pose
Child's Pose
Cobra Pose
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Monkey Pose
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Sage Koundinya I Pose
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Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose
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Reclining Hero Pose
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Hero Pose
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