Reclined Intense Back Stretch Pose - Supta Paschimottanasana


Reclined Intense Back Stretch Pose or Supta Paschimottanasana (soup-tah pah-shee-mote-tahn-ah-sah-nah) is a basic reclined asana that provides a strong hamstring stretch. The name comes from the Sanskrit supta, meaning “reclined”; paschim, which means “west” and refers to the back of the body; uttana, which means “stretched out”; and asana, meaning “pose.”
In Supta Paschimottasana, the yogi lies on their back and folds at the hips so that the straight legs lift overhead and continue to drop toward the forehead while the hands grasp the big toes. It resembles paschimottanasana, or seated forward bend, but done lying on one’s back.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1
Begin by lying flat on your back on a yoga mat.
Step 2
Next, raise your legs straight from the hips and allow them to fall toward your forehead.
Step 3
Rest the front part of your foot on the floor in front of your forehead.
Step 4
Straighten your lower legs so that the soles of your feet are facing upward.
Step 5
With your hands, grasp either your toes or the arches of your feet as you slide your hands upward.
Step 6
Remember to keep the top of your shoulder blades touching the mat.
Step 7
Attempt to touch your nose to the area around your knees, similar to the movement in Paschimottasana.
Step 8
To maintain straight legs, push out from the ballpoint of your toes and your toes themselves.
Step 9
Begin by holding this pose for 5 seconds, and gradually increase the duration as you feel comfortable.
Step 10
As you inhale, slowly raise your legs back up and return to the starting position.
Step 11
Initially, repeat this sequence twice.

Benefits and Contraindications


This is a great hamstring and lower back stretch

Can ease constipation

Can help with the alignment and positioning of the spine

This pose is part of a Yoga for Back Pain sequence

Promoting Digestion

Helps relieve headache


Pregnancy and menstruating

Hernia and sciatica

Injury in hips, back, spine, shoulders, neck, or legs

Gastrointestinal issues



Modifications and Props for Beginners

  • While bending from the hips, after bringing your knees to the chest, you can put a bolster, yoga block, or cushion near your tailbone for support to your lower back and hips.
  • If you cannot fully bring your legs to the back of your head, do not force your body. Start by bringing the legs halfway and use a strap to gradually achieve the leg positioning. Keep your hands near the back of the knees to support holding your legs in the halfway position.
  • Place a folded blanket in a way that provides a cushion to the neck and shoulder blades.
  • Put a chair behind your head to place your feet if you are unable to bring your feet completely towards the back.

Useful Tips

  • As you move into the pose, focus on your breath and try to relax your body. Use your exhale to release any tension or tightness in your muscles.
  • While you’re in the pose, engage your core muscles to help support your lower back. This will help to prevent any strain or discomfort in this area.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Supta Paschimottanasana safe for beginners?

Yes, Supta Paschimottanasana is generally safe for beginners. However, it’s important to practice with proper alignment and listen to your body to avoid any strain or injury.

Can I practice Supta Paschimottanasana if I have lower back pain?

If you have lower back pain, it’s important to practice with caution and consult with a healthcare professional or a qualified yoga teacher before attempting the pose. You may need to modify the pose or practice with the support of props.

How long should I hold Supta Paschimottanasana?

You can hold Supta Paschimottanasana for 5-10 deep breaths, or longer if it feels comfortable for you. It’s important to allow your body to relax and release tension with each exhale.

What are some common mistakes to avoid in Supta Paschimottanasana?

Some common mistakes to avoid include rounding your spine, forcing the stretch, and holding your breath. Remember to practice with proper alignment, move slowly and mindfully, and breathe deeply throughout the pose.


  • Reclined Intense Back Stretch Pose With A Strap
  • Reclined Intense Back Stretch Pose With A Bolster
  • Reclined Intense Back Stretch Pose One leg at A Time
  • Reclined Intense Back Stretch Pose Legs up the wall variation
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Iana Varshavska
Iana Varshavska
Website administrator

In love with yoga and everything that goes along with it. Iana is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) who has completed the 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training Certification by the Yoga Alliance U.S. In addition to that, she is constantly studying and improving her skills in various aspects of yoga philosophy, yoga anatomy, biomechanics, and holodynamics.