I first ran across this variation of Supta Surya Yantrasana while watching some old school Ukrainian Yoga videos produced by A. Sidersky. This incredible stretch is one of a family of postures that are practiced from the reclining or face down position. I really love these variations, so I’ve included all of them in the twisting sections of the PVYU Yoga advanced level syllabi. Truth be told though, you’ll hardly ever see me teaching any of these in class. Because they’re all incredibly challenging to teach in group settings, I usually save them for personal training practices instead.
While Supta Surya Yantrasana targets many areas of the body, I find that it primarily develops range of motion in latissimus dorsi muscles. Placing one leg in half lotus while you do this provides additional stretch to the hips which can also be very helpful when you are preparing to do deeper twists such as Marichyasana D.
If you’re so inspired, give this one a go at home! For optimal affect, try it after backbends, and just before deeper twists.