Tightness in your hips and hamstrings is often caused by prolonged periods of sitting. Such as at a desk, in front of a computer. Sound familiar?
These six poses are just the thing to help gradually loosen these areas and counteract extended periods of being stagnant.
These poses are part of the 60 Minute Yin Yoga Hips & Hamstrings Deep Stretch video offered on my YouTube channel. If you want to gift your body a full hour of guided stretching head on over there.
As you work through these poses keep in mind that in Yin Yoga, we aim to minimize resistance and instead let gravity do the work. As a result, these poses will benefit your joints and connective tissues.
I recommend having two blocks handy, but you can also use a bolster, blankets or pillows as needed.
1. Child’s pose
From a table top position widen your knees and bring your toes to touch. Gently walking your hands forward, soften and melt into the pose. Get comfortable, using a block below your chest or hips for support if they are floating above the mat.
2. Baby dragon (or low lunge)
Take a deep bend in the front leg, without the knee extending ahead of the ankle. Double up your mat to support the back knee. Fingertips can come to the floor or rest on blocks. Shift your hips forward and down, as you soften your shoulders away from the ears.
3. Hamstring stretch
From low lunge, press into the front foot to straighten the leg. Rest onto your back heel, slowly come into a forward fold over the extended leg. Relax your head and neck. Remember there is no pushing or pulling in Yin Yoga, so check in with your body here to ensure it is naturally softening into the pose. Allow your body to come deeper into the pose on its own over time.
Repeat baby dragon and hamstring stretch on your opposite side.
4. Swan pose (pigeon pose)
Bring the right knee behind the right wrist, while your left leg extends back behind you. In the image above, my shin is roughly parallel to the front of the mat, but you don’t need to be this far. If your hip is floating, grab a prop to give it some support. Walk your hands forward, while keeping your torso parallel with the mat. Create a little resting spot for your head using your forearms, as you give in to the pose.
5. Straddle fold
Open the legs wide with knees and toes pointing upwards. If you feel yourself tipping backwards, you may choose to come up on a prop. Gently walk your fingertips forward, until you find your edge. Grab a block to use as a head rest. You will likely want to start on the highest height, and lower the block as your body loosens over time in the pose.
6. Half happy baby
Recline onto your back, bring your feet flat on the mat. Grab a hold of your right knee and hug it into the belly. Clasp either your shin, big toe or outer edge of your foot. Stack the ankle on top of the knee, with the sole of your foot reaching to the sky. Your knee will come to the right side of your body as you work your thigh closer to the ground. Allow the left knee to fall slightly to the side to ground your hip and shoulder on this side. Switch sides.
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