So you have been working on your flexibility for a while now. You’ve got a regular yoga practice. And you are ready to step it up a notch, trying some deeper stretches and continuing to improve flexibility. This sequence will help you do just that.
These 7 poses will particularly target the hips and the hamstrings, while challenging your whole body.
The following sequence comes from my 45 min Intermediate Vinyasa Yoga for Flexibility practice.
1. Reclined Butterfly – Lay down on your back. Bring the feet together, letting the knees fall open naturally. Bring the arms up overhead if it feels good. Relax the thighs completely. Hold for a moment or two. Slowly lift the knees and extend arms and legs out for a big stretch.
2.Toe Squat – Come up to kneeling. Keep the knees together, tuck the toes, and sit back on the heels. Bring the left fingers down at the side, and reach your right arm up and over. Switch sides. Come back to center. Untuck the toes, coming onto the tops of the feet. Sit back on the heels, and bring the hands down behind you. Stay up on the fingertips, squeeze the shoulder blades back behind you, puff up the chest. See if you can lift your knees and shins up off of the mat. Getting a deep stretch in the ankles and feet.
3. Lizard – Find downward dog. Kicking the right leg up to the sky. Bend the knee and open the right hip up. Then straighten the right leg, shift forward and step the right foot to the outside of the right hand. Let your hips be heavy. If it is accessible, lower down onto the forearms, keeping the back knee lifted. Hold here for several rounds of breath. Then lower the left knee down. Option to take a quad stretch, bending the left knee and reaching back with the right hand. Leaning back into the stretch.
4. Side Body – Tuck the left toes under, lift the back knee, turn to face the long edge of the mat. Start to bend the left knee, walking hands towards the left foot, straightening the right leg, and curling the toes up. Repeat Skandasana side to side a few times. While at the right side, lower down to a seat. Bring the right foot inside of the left leg. Reach the right arm up and over for a side body stretch. Bring right hand down, reach left hand up. Push into legs to lift hips up in Baby Wild Thing.
5. Pigeon Variation – Face to the top of the mat, bringing right knee behind right wrist and lower shin down. Straighten the left leg back behind you. Align the hips over the right shin. Crawl the hands back behind you, lifting the heart and taking a little back bend. Hold here for a few breaths. Then fold down into sleeping pigeon for a few more breaths.
Repeat 3 through 5 on the other side.
6. Warrior Sequence – Start in down dog. Step right foot through between the hands. Spin left foot parallel to the shorter edge of the mat. Push into the feet to lift up. Extend the arms out as you bend into the right knee for Warrior 2. Reverse your Warrior, reaching the right hand up and left hand down. Inhale back to Warrior 2. Bring the right forearm to the right thigh, or the hand down inside the foot. Extend the left arm up and over. Rotate the left shoulder back. Maybe taking the gaze up to the sky.
7. Half Moon – Bring the right hand down a few inches in front of the right foot (shortening the stance if need be). Bring the left hand to the hip. Start to straight the right leg, as you extend the left leg up. Roll the left hip open. Stay here, or take a bind. Bending the left knee and catching hold of the foot with the right hand. Lean back into it.
Repeat 6 and 7 on the other side.
Want a full 45 minute Intermediate vinyasa flow to work your flexibility? Practice along in the video below.