A Guided Workout
This flow will focus on opening the hips and shoulders while challenging core stability, lower body strength, and balance.
Hold each of the standing poses for three to five breaths – complete each pose on one side, and then move to Downward Dog before moving to the other side. Repeat the sequence four times as you get started. I have also included two poses for relaxation. All you need is a mat, possibly a block or books, and a stable surface. Enjoy!
Start your practice in Downward Dog to feel grounded, then step the right foot forward and replace your right hand. Meanwhile, turn your left foot out to 45 degrees and then lift your torso and arms up. Try to bend your right knee as much as possible, but not more than 90 degrees. Press firmly into the outer edge of your left foot. Allow the sternum and pelvis to face forward and keep your back leg strong.
From Warrior I, open your hips and shoulders to the left as you take your gaze over your right hand. Keep your arms at shoulder height. Reposition your stance for a heel-toe or heel-arch alignment. Bend your right knee to 90 degrees, but don’t allow it to extend past your ankle. Straighten your back leg. Press into all four corners of your right foot for stability.
From Warrior II, straighten your forward leg as you come into a side body stretch. Allow your right hand to reach back toward the right hamstring or calf while your left arm reaches up and back. Pull the femur back as you engage the muscles in the leg and hip. Be mindful of the position of your neck. This is a great opening for the psoas muscle as well as the low back!
From Sky Archer, extend your left arm forward as much as possible while maintaining spinal extension. Allow your hand to rest on your shin, a block, or the floor. Hips and shoulders should be open to the right. Gaze up, ahead, or down, depending on the position of your neck and shoulders. Rotate the upper ribs up and back as you rotate the sternum toward the ceiling. Engage the femur into the hip socket without hyperextending your knee.
Supta Baddha Konasana
After completing the standing series on both sides for four rounds, lie down on your back and gently hug your knees in. Feel supported on your mat as you bring the soles of your feet together and let your knees fall out and down – you can support them with blocks or blankets if needed. Allow your shoulders to soften down your back, and take your arms away from your body. Close your eyes as you allow the breath to soften. Stay here for 10 to 20 breaths.
Legs Up The Wall
Move near a wall where you can fully extend the legs up and be supported by the floor. Scoot your hips against the baseboard; you may find it more comfortable to lie on your side first and get as close to the wall as possible. Extend your legs up with your heels firmly on the wall. Separate your feet about hip-width apart, and bend your knees if needed to accommodate tight hamstrings and/or low back issues. Close your eyes while softening the abdomen, chest, shoulders, hands, and face. This posture works wonders for anxiety, stress, insomnia, and jet lag! Try to stay in position for five minutes.