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If your hips are feeling tight or stiff, this practice is for you! Also if your low back is feeling pain (possibly connected to the stiff hips) this practice will help.
Hold each of these poses for somewhere between 3 and 5 minutes. Set yourself a timer if need be, or come out early if needed. Stay tuned toward the breath while in each pose. Allow each exhale to relax you further.
Remember the three principles of Yin:
1. Find your edge
2. Be still
3. Hold the pose
When the time is up, take time to ease out of the pose and transition to the next.
1. Wide-Legged Child’s Pose – From kneeling, bring your big toes together and take the knees as wide as you would like. Press your hips down to the heels, then walk the hands forward. Lengthen and stretch out from the low back as you fold. Rest your forehead direct to the mat or on the palms.
2. Butterfly Fold – Come to a seat, bringing your legs out in front of you. Bend the knees and bring the soles together. Drop the knees out to the sides. Allow your diamond to be short if you want to get more in to the inner groin, or longer to target the hips and glutes. Soften and fold down. Let the fold happen naturally rather than forcing your way in to the shape.
3. Reclined Swan – Lower down on to your back. With knees bent, cross the right ankle over the left knee. Stay grounded, or reach the hands through to clasp the left knee or thigh to guide the legs in closer to the body. Use very little arm strength, and keep the head and shoulders relaxed to the mat. Take slow and steady breaths in and out through the nose.
4. Reclined Shoelace – Cross the right thigh all the way over the left thigh. Hug the knees in towards the belly. Either hold the knees or clasp hold of the feet, guiding the feet away from one another. The further apart the feet, the more you will feel the stretch.
Repeat 3 and 4 on the other side.
5. Cat Pulling Its Tail – With knees bent, walk the feet in closer to you. Shift the hips slightly to the right. Straighten the left leg forward, as you pull the right knee in towards you. Cross your right leg over the body towards the left side. Reach the right arm out to the side. If you want to take the quad stretch, bend the left knee and try to clasp the left foot with the right hand. Roll the right shoulder down to the mat. Use the left hand to guide the right hand down. If holding the left foot is too much, release the clasp.
6. Happy Baby – Draw the knees in towards the shoulders. Stay here with the knees wide if preferred. Or clasp hold of the feet, kicking the heels to the sky while also dragging the knees down to the ground. Use elbows to press the knees wider. Keep the head and shoulders relaxed on the mat.
Be sure to give yourself some time for Savasana before getting up.
Prefer to let me guide you through the poses? Practice along with the video below.
Yoga with Kassandra – Disclaimer
Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program. By participating in this exercise or exercise program, you agree that you do so at your own risk, are voluntarily participating in these activities, assume all risk of injury to yourself, and agree to release and discharge Yoga with Kassandra from any and all claims or causes of action, known or unknown, arising out of Yoga with Kassandra’s negligence.