If you are wanting to work on your lower body flexibility, this is a great short sequence you can do at home everyday. It is actually the low body stretch I do on my mat most days. Great for when you are feeling stiff and sore as well, perhaps after a big workout.
The following are 7 yummy lower body stretches to get in to the hips, hamstrings, and quads; as well as hip flexors and even low back.
Have 1 block handy before getting on your mat, you will need it right away.
1. Supported Bridge – Start by laying down on your back. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the ground. Lift your hips up and slide the block on its lowest level underneath your hips. Pull your right knee in to your chest, extending the left leg. Flex in to your left foot. Soften your shoulders and upper back, melting them in to the mat. Sway your right knee gently side to side. Bend your left knee, placing the sole flat on the ground. Hold on to the back of your right thigh and extend the leg up to the sky. Roll the ankle of the lifted leg, flexing and pointing the toes. Release your right foot back down to the ground and switch sides.
2. Happy Baby – Remove the block, placing it off to the side, and lower your hips down to the ground. Draw both knees in to the belly, then widen them towards the armpits. Flex the feet towards the ceiling, while still drawing the knees down towards the ground. Catch hold of the feet, holding either the big toes with peaces fingers, or the outside of the soles. Check that the ankles are aligned over the knees. Use your elbows to push the knees wider. Gently sway from side to side.
3. Butterfly Fold – Rock up to a seat, bringing the soles of your feet together and knees apart. Bring your hips further away from the heels, so your knees are pretty much at a 90 degree angle. Inhale, lifting the chin and chest high. As you exhale, move in and fold over the legs. Crawl your fingertips forward, lengthening out nice and long. After a few breaths, walk the fingers in to lift back up. Bring the feet in about 3 inches, keeping the soles together and knees out to the sides. Inhale to lift and lengthen, exhale to tilt forward and fold. After a few more breaths here, walk hands back in to lift up. Walk heels in 3 more inches and repeat the fold one last time. You might not get as far this time, that’s totally normal.
4. Low Lunge – Move in to a downward dog, with hands at shoulder distance and feet at hip width. Pedal the feet out. Spread the fingertips nice and wide, pushing weight in to the fingertips rather than dumping it all in to the wrists. Lean on to the left foot and reach your right leg up to the sky. Bend your right knee and open the right hip up. Think about trying to get your right knee as high as possible. Start to shift forward, as you step the right foot in between the palms at the front of the mat. Drop the back knee down to the floor, doubling up the mat underneath it for added supported if needed. Lift through your heart, and drop the pelvis down. Flatten your left palm to the mat, and reach your right hand back. You may want to bend in to the left knee and catch hold of the foot with the right hand. Two options here. First is to drop the hips down and forward, pulling the heel in. Second is to kick the heel back, allowing it to open the right shoulder back. Both are great, it will just change the area of the stretch. Look down to the mat and release the back leg.
5. Pyramid Pose – Lift the back knee up from the mat, and straighten your front leg. Fold down over the right thigh. Push in to the back heel, grounding it down. Inching the back foot in if necessary. If the floor is too far away, place a block underneath your palms. Pull the left hip forward and press the right hip back, facing towards the front of the mat rather than off to the side. Take a few deep breaths here, melting nose towards the knee. Exhale, bending in to your front knee and stepping back to take downward facing dog.
Repeat 4 and 5 on the other side.
6. Lizard Pose -Reach the right leg back up for 3-legged dog. Step the right foot to the outer edge of your right hand. Drop the back knee down to the ground. Lift the right toes up and roll on to the outer edge of your right foot. Lower down on to your forearms, a block, or all the way down to the ground and resting your head. Let the hips and pelvis melt down to the mat. Take 5 big breaths here. Start to walk the hands in to lift the torso back up. Toe heel your right foot over to the left side of the mat. Lower your knee behind the right wrist, coming in to Pigeon pose. Try to square your hips to the front of the mat. If your back hip is up high, place a block underneath your hip. Fold down on to your forearms or let your head rest down to the mat. Take 5 breaths here. Slowly ease out of the pose and switch to the other side for Lizard, then Pigeon.
7. Reclined Shoelace – Laying down on to your back, lift your legs off of the mat. Cross your right thigh over the left. You may use your hands to pull your knees towards your belly. Or you may grab hold of the feet instead. Widen the heels from the glutes, while also pulling them down. Keep feet flexed. You are looking to feel a sensation in your outer hips in this pose. Release and switch the cross of your legs and take the grip that works for you. Release the feet and slowly make your way into Savasana to close your practice.
Prefer to be guided through the postures by my voice? Practice along with the video below.
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