Favorite Daily Yoga Pose – Anantasana – Lord Vishnu’s Couch Pose
Anantasana, Lord Vishnu’s Couch Pose, has been a favorite yoga pose of mine for quite some time. In fact, it is probably the pose I have been doing for the longest. When I was a little girl, I would watch a good deal of television with my sister up in our third floor playroom of the house in which we grew up. And while watching our favorite shows, I had a habit of lying on my side and stretching one leg up in the air. Imagine my surprise when I was in yoga class one day and my teacher, Sandra Pleasants, taught us Anantasana! I still think this is a fabulous yoga pose. It is a balancing pose so it requires a bit of concentration to stay balanced on your side hip bone. But if you extend through the bottom leg and keep your gaze, dristi, focused on a point on the floor in front of you, you can stay balanced.
To practice Anantasana:
1. Lie on your left side and extend your left arm out onto the floor.
2. Place your left ear on your left upper arm and begin to find your gazing point on the floor in front of you.
3. Extend your left leg underneath you and balance your weight on the side of your body. See if you can press evenly into every point along your side body from your outstretched left palm, down your left arm, down to your hip and out your left leg. Keep the side of left foot on the floor.
4. Bend your right leg and hug it into the side of your chest to begin to feel the shift in balance when you remove your right leg from the floor. You can then place your right sole of your foot into your left thigh and balance there for a moment. When you are feeling balanced reach for your right big toe and clasp it with the thumb and forefinger of your right hand.
5. Keeping the extension on the left side of your body slowly extend your right foot up towards the sky, extending fully through the foot.
6. Take your tailbone towards your left heel and curl the outer right hip under. Bask in the feeling of extension in this pose and after a few slow deep easy breathes, bend your right knee and return the right foot to your thigh and then back down in line with your left foot or release your grip from your right toe and point your foot and extend your leg down to meet your left foot.
7. Take a few deep breaths and then practice the pose on your other side.
Listen to the pronunciation of Anantasana on Tilak Pyle’s Sanskrit Pronunciation Guide.