As we enter the cooler season, welcome the changing colors, and slow down for Autumn – let’s release some tension from the lower body.
These 7 deep stretches will get into the hips, hamstrings and lower back. They are a bit more intermediate in nature due to the longer holds of deep poses. If you are advancing your practice you may want to have some props to help you in these poses.
1. Wide Legged Child’s Pose – From hands and knees, bring the knees wide and big toes together. Keep in mind, the wider the knees the deeper the stretch. Press the hips back towards the heels. Walk the hands forward, lowering the forehead down. Lift and pull out of the lower back, working with gravity as you hold for several breaths.
2. Belly Quad Stretch – Shift forward onto the belly. Bringing the knees and feet hip width apart. Place the left forearm at a 45 degree angle for a strong base. Bend the right knee. Maybe reaching back with the right hand to grab the foot, pulling it in towards the glute. Keeping the knee in line with the hip. If too intense, lower down to the forehead to ease out of the back bend. Push the pubic bone and right knee cap down to the mat. After several breaths, repeat on the other side.
3. Downward Dog – Push strong in the arms to lift up. With hands shoulder width and feet hip width apart, tuck the toes and lift the hips up and back. Bend the right knee and push into left heel. After a couple breaths, switch sides.
4. Three-Legged Dog – Kick the right leg up, bend the knee, and squeeze foot in to the glute. Open the hip. Get the knee to be the peak. Push the chest towards the thigh.
5. Lizard Pose – Step the right foot to the top of the mat, towards the outer edge. Wider than the hip. Both hands inside the foot. Maybe rocking back and forth. You can keep the knee lifted or lower it down. You may also lower down to the forearms. Push into the big right toe. Again working with gravity as you hold the pose.
6. Pigeon Pose – If on the forearms, lift to the palms. Toe heel the foot to the left. Placing the right knee behind the right wrist. Extend and straighten the back leg out. Stay up on palms, stack the fists or lower to the forearms.
Repeat 3 through 6 on the other side.
7. Seated Twist – Come to sit comfortably. Lift up nice and tall. Bring the left hand to the right knee, right hand back behind you. Opening up to the side. Pulling the shoulder back. After a couple breaths, return to center and then repeat to the left.
These poses come from a 15 minute morning practice from my book Year of Yoga. I also shared the video to YouTube and my app to give you a sense of what to expect when you purchase this hybrid book. Check the full class out below.