I often get asked what sorts of poses I do in my personal home practice to improve overall flexibility. The 7 poses outlined below are part of my go to flow.
If you want to see a full 30 minutes of my intermediate deep stretch practice, practice along with me here.
You won’t need any props for this one.
1. Cat/Cow – Come up to table top, with hands under shoulders and knees under hips. To add in a wrist stretch, turn the fingers to face the knees. As you inhale – drop the belly, lift the gaze, and curl tailbone up. As you exhale – round and contract nose to naval. Repeat through for several rounds. Then gently ease hips back to heels to peel hands off the mat.
2. Low Lunge / Half Splits – Walk hands ahead of shoulders, tuck toes under, and lift hips up and back to downward dog. Kick right foot up, then step it through between the hands at the front of the mat. Drop the left knee down to the mat, and untuck the left toes. Bend deep into the right knee. Push into the legs as you lift the hands up to the sky. Sink hips down and forward. Maybe adding a gentle back bend by shifting the gaze up to the ceiling. Bring the fingers back down to frame the foot. Start to straighten the right leg, curling the toes up. Stay lifted up, or sink the hips to the back heel and fold towards the front leg (as pictured).
3. Pyramid with Flexed Foot – Tuck the left toes under, start to straighten both legs to lift up. Shorten your stance by bringing the left foot a few inches closer. Keep the hips square to the front as you fold down towards the right leg. Bend into both knees, tapping the left knee down to the mat. Then straighten both legs, adding a flex in the right foot by curling the toes up.
Repeat 2-3 on the other side.
4. Pigeon with Twist – Step back to downward dog. Kick the right leg up to the sky. Bring right knee behind right wrist as you lower it down to the mat. Extend the left leg back behind you. Keep the hips square. You can fold straight down from here or add in a Thread the Needle variation. Thread the left hand behind right wrist, coming down on left ear and shoulder. Keep pushing down into right fingers, or bring the hand back behind you (possibly clasping hold of the right foot).
5. Seated Leg Stretch – As you lift up from Pigeon, shift onto the right hip to swing left leg around. Ground down through sit bones. Bend the left knee to clasp hold of the left foot. Then try to straighten the left leg up and out. Broadening through the collar, keeping length in the spine.
Repeat 4-5 on other side.
6. Camel Pose – Come up to tall kneeling on the shins, with toes untucked. Bring the hands to the low back, fingers pointing down. Squeeze the shoulders back, drawing elbows towards one another. Lengthen the tailbone down. Pull the belly button in. Squeeze your inner thighs. Lift up and over, opening the heart. Push the hips forward, staying over the knees. Stay here, or maybe bring one or both hands down to the heels. Keep the neck long. Ease slowly up and out when ready.
7. Rabbit Pose – Keep the knees together as you sink back to the heels. Bring the hands back at your sides. Stay here in an Easy Child’s Pose. Or clasp hold of the heels, rocking up onto the crown of the head and lifting the hips up. Stretching into the posterior chain.
Before you get up and on with your day, be sure to finish with some side bends and laying twists.
Prefer to have a full length guided practice, press play on the 30 minute class below.
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