Hips and hamstrings

HamstringOne of my beautiful home yoga students recently asked for a 15-20 minute morning sequence to target the hips and hamstrings. So here it is. This intention of the practice is to provide relief from backache and hip stiffness by stretching and massaging the hips, hamstrings, and calves, enjoy -

 

Thunderbolt pose - Vadrasana

You might like to begin in the kneeling position of  Vadrasana, alternatively, another seated position. Take a few conscious minutes here to settle into your body, breath, chant the mantra 'Aum' and set an intention for your practice.

When ready for movement, extend your arms in front of you and practice Wrist Rotations to warm and release through the wrists.

 Cat Stretch Pose - MarjariasanaCat Stretch Pose - Marjariasana (2)

Move onto all 4's and practice Marjariasana to open and stretch the spine, creating space between the vertebra of the back.

 

Bring the body back to the Table Top Position, then draw the right knee towards the chest, take it out to the side, back, around and to the center, performing hip rotations by drawing big circles with the right knee. Do 7 in each direction then swap legs and practice 7 in each direction with this hip.

 SN Equestrian Pose - Ashwa Sanchalanasana

Raise up to a standing kneeling position, then extend the right leg out in front for Equestrian pose. Lunge deeply in the front leg, finding length through the hip flexors of the left thigh. Ensure the front knee doesn't go over the toes, if it does, shuffle the foot further out.

 

From here, with hands and back knee remaining on the floor, lift the hips, shift the weight back to make the front leg a little straighter, warming into the hamstrings of the front thigh. You might like to  point and flex the foot a few times to deepen the stretch. Then send the weight forward releasing and coing back into the Equestrian pose. Tuck the toes oSN Mountain pose - Parvatasanaf the back foot under, raise the back knee and shift the front foot back to come into Downward dog

 

Bend the knees alternatively to stretch into the back of the thighs. Then lower the knees, raise the torso and step the left foot out in front for Equestrian pose. Lunge deeply in the front leg, finding length through the hip flexors of the right thigh. Once again ensure the front knee doesn't go over the toes, if it does, shuffle the foot further out.From here, with hands and back knee remaining on the floor, lift the hips, shift the weight back to make the front leg a little straighter, warming into the hamstrings of the front thigh. You might like to  point and flex the foot a few times to deepen the stretch. Then send the weight forward releasing and comning back into the Equestrian pose. Tuck the toes of the back foot under, raise the back knee and shift the front foot back to come into Downward dog

 Cobra pose - Bhujangasana

Play around in this pose for as long as you like Downward dog feel free to lift on leg, get creative, fluid. If you'd like to create more warmth, strength and practice for longer, come into Eight point salute or Plank down to Cobra and back to Downward dog.

 

Walk the hands towards the feet, or the feet towards the hand and hold in this forward bend Padahastanana. Strengthen and bend the opposite legs to stretch into the hamstrings.SN Hand to foot pose - Padahastanana

 

Take hands to hips raise the torso up, release the arms and give yourself a few shoulder rolls.

Turn onto the side of the mat/space and take the foot out wide, as far apart as comfortable. Take the hands to the hips, fold forward bring the spine parallel to the floor, either remain here or lower the body further down, releasing the hands wherever they fall. Hold and breath here. Count 10 breaths. You can make this more active by using the breath to deepen the stretch. Inhalation to lengthen the spine, exhalation to fold further forward.

 Head to toe pose - Sirsha Angustha Yogasana

Bracing the core, raise the body up and practice the Head to toe pose to each side.

Finish the poses with a balancing Tree pose.

Corpse Pose - Shavasana

Then rest in Shavasana. Soften the whole body, surrender your weight to the support of the floor. Sensitise the awareness to the sensations within your body. Notice the natural breath, it's ebb and flow. Relax into this pose. Either let the mind drift or focus the mind on the breath. Count the breath backwards from 27 to 0, aware of each and every breath. Once ready end the practice however you prefer, perhaps with palming, changing the mantra Aum or some pranayama practices.