In my personal practice I like to tune into my breath and hold the poses for a little bit longer in order to continue to improve my flexibility long term. If you are a more intermediate student, try holding each of these poses for about 5 to 10 breaths.
1. Wide Legged Child’s Pose – Begin kneeling, bringing the big toes together and knees as wide as comfortable as you’re starting practice. Sink the hips towards the heels. Walk the hands forward and lower head down to the mat. Shrug the shoulders away from the ears. Settle in, maintaining a slow steady breath.
2. Low Lunge – From hands and knees, step the right foot forward between the hands. Knee stacked over ankle. Roll the shoulders back. Gravity pulling the hips down. Bring the hands to the thighs, clasping the fingers and pushing against the thigh to lift the chest up and find a gentle back bend.
3. Side Lunge – Push into the right foot to lift the hips higher. Bring the left foot over towards the right long edge of the mat. Hips and shoulders facing the left side long edge of mat. Bend into the right knee. Use the right hand to push the thigh open. Stay with the breath.
4. Half Saddle – Turn back to the top of the mat. Straighten the right leg and sit the hips inside of the left heel. Both thighs parallel to the long edges of the mat. Have the calf to the outside of the left thigh. Top of the left foot on the mat. Lift hips and tuck the pelvis under. Stay up or walk the hands behind you, maybe coming down to the forearms or the back. Option, if it feels better, to bend the right knee. Keep lifting through the heart.
5. Pigeon – Lift up to downward dog. Then bring the right knee behind the right wrist, and right foot towards the left wrist. Keep the pelvis level. Extend the left leg back behind you. Push the hands into the floor and lift up through the heart for a gentle back bend before folding down. Support with the forearms, fists or forehead.
Repeat 2 through 5 on the other side.
6. Seal – Lower down onto the belly, with the legs extended back behind you. Support with the forearms as you open through the chest or come to the hands lifting the elbows off the floor. Melting the chest down, as you squeeze the shoulder blades behind you.
7. Happy Baby – Lower to the back. Pull the knees in to the belly. Stay here, or grab the outsides of the fee. Kick feet to the sky, heels over knees. Dragging the thighs down. After holding here, lower the feet down. Windshield wiper the knees side to side a few times.
Want more, including an attempt at splits? Keep practicing with me for the full 30 minute practice these poses come from! Find it below.