Poses to Increase Hip and Leg Flexibility

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If you spend a lot of time sitting down or standing on your feet, a deep stretch of the low body may be just what you need. If you are waking up after a long night’s rest, your legs might also be quite stiff and sore.

Either way try the 7 poses outlined below to stretch out your legs and improve flexibility in your hips.

You’ll need one strap for this class. If you don’t have a yoga strap, you can substitute with a long belt or a theraband.

1. Reclined Pigeon – Lower down onto the back, bending the knees and placing soles on the mat. Cross the right ankle over the left knee, dropping the right knee out to the side. Reach through the legs to grab the left thigh or shin. Guide the legs in closer to the belly, while keeping the tailbone down. Keep the head and shoulders down on the mat.

2. IT Band Twist – Release the legs, keeping this figure four shape. Lower the left foot down, then drop the left thigh to the left side. Maybe getting the right foot to the floor on the left. Keep the right shoulder grounded, opening the arm out to the side. Keep the right knee pointing up to the sky. Use the left hand to push the knee away, or clasp hold of the ankle. 

Repeat 1-2 on the other side.

3. Seated Forward Fold – Rock up to a seat. Extend the right leg forward, bringing the left foot to the inside of the right thigh and drop the knee to the side. Inhale the hands up overhead. Exhale to fold down. Make this more passive, letting the spine naturally round. Rest the forearms down, turning the palms up. Switch and repeat on the other leg.

4. Downward Dog – From table top, walk the hands forward. Tuck the toes, then lift the hips up and back. Let the head be heavy, relaxing between the biceps. Bend the left knee, while pressing the right heel down. Switch legs.

5. IT Band Forward Fold – Step up to the front of the mat, into a forward fold with fingertips down. Bending into the knees. Step the right ankle behind the left. Walk the hands to the left. Start to straighten the right leg, keeping the left leg bent. Return to center, then switch sides.

6. Wide-Legged Forward Fold – Turn to face the long edge of your mat. Open the legs wide, with the feet parallel to the shorter edges of the mat. Inhale to find length, exhale to tilt forward from the pelvis. Walk the hands over to the right foot, holding on to whatever is accessible. Fold down the forehead towards the shin. Walk hands to the left foot to repeat. Come back to center, bringing hands to the hips to lift up.

7. Leg Stretch with Strap – Grab your strap, and make your way down onto your back. With the knees bent, hook the strap over the arch of the right foot. Extend and straighten the right leg up to the sky. Keep the left foot down with knee bent, or extend the leg out. Keep the upper arms down on the floor, relaxing the shoulders. Hold for a few breaths. Take both sides of the strap into the right hand, then open the leg up to the right side. Hold for a few breaths. Lift to center. Bring the strap into left hand, cross the leg over to the left side. Reach the right arm out to the side. Hold for a few rounds of breath. Return to center. Release and repeat on the left leg. 

These 7 poses come from Day 23 of my 30 day Morning Yoga Movement challenge. If you want to start with yoga every morning for 30 days, sign up here.

Or practice along with this video by clicking play below.



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