By Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Ananthasana, in this asana the practitioner assumes the shape of Sleeping Lord Vishnu and hence the name. It is said to be one of the best and yet challenging balancing poses on your sides. This is practiced by lying to the side. It is a beginner pose and a good hip opener.
It is called as –
- Vishnu Pose
- Lord Vishnu Pose
- Sleeping Vishnu Pose
- Sleeping Lord Vishnu Pose
- Side Reclining Leg Lift Pose
Ananta = Lord Vishnu / Sleeping Lord Vishnu
Asana = Pose
Ananta also means Infinite. It is also the name of the 1000 headed serpent that Lord Vishnu sleeps upon. This pose is also called as Eternal One’s Pose or Side Reclining Leg Lift.
It encourages you to peep deep inside your mind and seek a good sense of awareness, intuitive stillness, rest and knowing.
Read – Padmasana Lotus Pose, How to do, Benefits, Side Effects, Ayurveda View
Preparation for Anantasana
- Anantasana should be preferably done early in the morning when the stomach is empty
- If one cannot do it in the morning it shall be done at evening time. In that case one needs to take food 3-4 hours before taking to the pose. By the time one takes on to the pose the stomach will be empty and the food consumed would also provide energy to do the pose.
- The bowel and bladder needs to be empty while doing the pose
Read – Tadasana – Mountain Pose: How To Do, Benefits, Side Effects
Method of doing
Positioning for the pose
Lie down on right side such that body is in a straight line and parallel to the mat line.
Now you are lying with outer arm, right flank (sides of chest and abdomen in line with armpit), right outer thigh, right outer leg and right outer foot in single line, each lying on the floor. Head is resting on the arm. Left hand / fingers are resting on the floor in front of you.
Getting into the pose
Now lift left hand and place it on left hip. Try to find a balance here until you stop to woggle or shake.
Now slowly bend right hand at the elbow with forearm making an acute angle with arm as you lift head off the floor. Rest head on right hand. Now head is cradled in right hand (head rests in the hollow of right hand).
Left leg is right on top of right leg, toes pointing. The left hip is pointing upwards. Engage core and glutes.
Now bend left knee.
Hold big toe with left hand and straighten left leg. Now both left leg and the right hand holding left leg are straight and pointing upwards.
Stay here for 4-5 deep breaths. Feel the stretch in hamstrings, groin and calf.
Release from the pose
1. Beginner level (with both legs bent)
- Instead of cradling head in flexed hand you can extend hand and rest head on the arm. This will initially give you a balance if you are a beginner and helps you not to woggle to and fro while in pose. You may balance by placing upper hand on the floor.
- You may bend both legs at the knee simultaneously before lifting top leg with the help of top hand.
- If you cannot hold toe you may hold the strap around foot.
- Once you are comfortable practicing this, you may do it by lifting head and cradling it in hand.
2. Lifting the leg up and down
In the final pose of Vishnu Pose resting upper hand on the floor lift top leg up with inhale and bring it down with exhale. Repeat this for few times. Repeat the same steps on the opposite side also.
3. Circle the legs
In the final pose of Vishnu Pose resting upper hand on the floor circle upper leg with inhalation and exhalation. Repeat this for few times. Next you need to circle the same leg in a reverse way. Repeat the same steps on the opposite side also.
4. Lift both legs
In the final pose of Vishnu Pose resting upper hand on the floor lift both legs up together with inhalation and bring them down to the floor together with exhalation. Repeat this for few times. Repeat the same steps on the opposite side also.
- It gives good stretch to hamstrings, groin, hips, calves and pelvis
- Tones up the abdominal muscles
- Stretches and strengthens the sides of torso
- Stretches and strengthens the hamstrings, increases its efficiency
- Increases the flexibility of the spine and leg muscles
- Reduces the fat around hips and thighs
- Promotes blood circulation in leg muscles
- It promotes blood circulation to internal organs including kidneys, stomach, liver, heart and uterus.
- Increases mobility
- Helps in development of pelvic region
- Prevents hernia by toning the muscles around groin
- Helps relieve lower back pain
- It keeps the digestive system healthy. One can get rid of gases in the stomach, constipation, indigestion, stomach cramps and diarrhea when he practices the pose regularly.
- It is a cure for hypertension, arthritis, colitis and sciatica.
- It helps in curing the disorders of uterus, ovaries and prostate gland and also those of urinary bladder.
- Relieves symptoms related to menstruation and menopause
- Improves balance, concentration and memory
- Relieves physical and mental fatigue
- Bestows calmness to the mind
Preparatory Poses –
Any hip opener pose or any pose which engages core is a great preparatory pose for Vishnu’s pose. Below mentioned are the important preparatory poses –
- Anjaneyasana – Low Lunge pose / Crescent Moon Pose
- Virabhadrasana II – Warrior II Pose
- Navasana – Boat Pose
- Phalakasana – Plank Pose
- Parighasana – Gate Pose
- Utthita Trikonasana – Extended Triangle Pose
- Supta Padangusthasana – Reclining Big Toe Pose
Follow Up Pose
Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward Facing Dog Pose
If you have tight hamstrings, bend knee or hold a strap.
Time spent doing Anantasana
Be in the pose for 30-60 seconds. You need to perform the pose for the same duration even on the opposite side.
Impact on Chakras
This pose stimulates Root Chakra – Muladhara Chakra wherein Kundalini energy is located. This chakra is associated with grounding energy and enables body-mind stability. It also activates the Sacral Chakra – Swadisthana Chakra which helps in relieving mental stress.
Read – Chakra – Kundalini: Introduction, Meaning, Types, Location, Ayurveda View
Patients suffering from below mentioned conditions should avoid doing Anantasana –
- Back, shoulders or hip injuries
- Neck pain or neck injury
- High or low blood pressure
Impact on doshas, tissues
Impact on Doshas and its subtypes – Since the pose is good for digestive system and relieves indigestion and constipation and is also a good cure for cramps and diarrhea, it helps in balancing the samana vata, pachaka pitta and apana vata functions. Since it increases mobility and relieves physical and mental fatigue of the body parts it balances samana vata. It is also beneficial for balancing apana vata since it cures disorders related to uterus, urinary bladder and prostate and also relieves symptoms related to menstruation and menopause. The pose is extremely good for improving memory and concentration and brings about calmness of mind and hence it is good for balancing prana vata, sadhaka pitta and tarpaka kapha.
Impact on tissues – Since it strengthens, stretches and tones up the muscles it is good for muscle health. It is also good for health of bone tissue. It reduces the fat in the lower portions of body and hence can be an effective remedy to deplete fat tissue accumulation. It helps in proper circulation of blood and hence beneficial for blood tissue and rasa carrying channels of the body.