Anantasana (Side Reclining Leg Lift) – Overview

Lesson Overview

  • Features: Anantasanaa (Side Reclining Leg Lift)
  • Objective: Become knowledgeable about the pose and review detailed teaching considerations.
  • Description: Explain the Sanskrit naming; associated benefits and typical effects; instructions and cues for setting up and practicing the pose; and more teaching considerations.



“anta” = end  “an” = without (source)

“ananta” = “without end” “eternal” “the infinite one” (source) and (source)

There are popular images of Vishnu reclining on his side on top of a snake, which is how this pose got the name “Sleeping Vishnu Pose.”

Some sources explain that “ananta” is another name of the god Vishnu (source) and (source) Some report that “ananta” is the name of the thousand-headed serpent upon whom Lord Vishnu rests. (source) Others say the name is “related to” the serpent, named Sesha. (source)

Vishnu’s Pose, Reclining Pose Dedicated to Vishnu, Sleeping Vishnu Pose, Vishnu’s Couch Pose, Eternal One’s Pose, Side Reclining Leg Lift

Heart of Pose

  • Asymmetrical Balancing
  • Core Strengthening
  • Hip & Hamstring Stretching

Anantasana requires you to balance on the fine line of the side of the body while one leg extends up to infinity. Any number of things can pull you off balance. If you lose your focus, you might topple over, tweak your neck, or bruise your pride. Lose stability along your spine, slouch your back, or round your shoulders, and the pose collapses. – Lisa Walford, Yoga Journal, Laid Back: 5 Steps to Vishnu’s Pose link


Ananta, a word meaning “unending” or “infinite,” describes what is timeless, beyond birth, growth, death, and all modifications — a limitless state of joy and contentment. This sweet, natural state of ours, beyond the things of the senses, is embodied by the vast mythological serpent, Ananta, whose coils support the universe and who serves as Vishnu’s couch when Vishnu rests between avataric incarnations. – Zo Newell, Yoga International, The Mythology Behind Anantasana (Vishnu’s Couch) link


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