Hello my yogi friends! This set of classes and instruction will assist you in your growth goals. Each of these classes should be repeated at least twice…If any of the classes are particularly challenging they should be repeated until you feel comfortable with moving on. Remember this is a growth series and we will be building on, and challenging ourselves, at an increased rate with each package. I will offer some information and advice for flexibility progression.
Doing yoga regularly is one of the best ways to become more flexible. Here are some poses that will help you do that. Holding poses for several minutes is the best way to get a good stretch. Improving flexibility takes time. Pushing yourself too quickly can cause injury. So, it is in your best interest do your stretches daily and be patient with yourself. The following poses are great for helping you move toward having a more flexible body.
The muscles running along the back of your thighs are the hamstrings. Most people are pretty tight in this area. Prolonged Forward bends are a great way to loosen this area.
Standing Forward Bend
A standing forward bend is a simple way to stretch your hamstrings. Try to keep your hips over your ankles. Micro-bend your knees to avoid hyper-extension. A nice variation is to take hold of opposite elbows and let your torso hang.
Use a yoga block under your bottom hand if you have one and need help reaching the floor. It’s better to put pressure into the block than into your leg by leaning on it. Stat in warrior 2 and straighten the front leg leaving a slight micro bend in the knee. Reach forward with the same side hand that is leading and bring the hand to the shin , ankle, floor, or a block. I like to use my shin when warming up. Pretend you are a slice of bread in a toaster making the plane of your body as flat as possible. Tuck the booty slightly. Raise the opposite arm to the sky in alignment with the support arm…If and when you are ready, point the top arm toward the front of the room (remembering not to alter the body alignment…If you do, back off a bit)…Push a little but not to the point of pain…Remember discomfort and pain are Not the same thing!
Reclined Big Toe Pose
Lay on your back and wrap a strap around your raised foot. If you are flexible enough, you can grab your foot with your hand Let the head of your femur settle into the hip socket as you stretch the leg so that both hips stay grounded on the floor. The goal is not to get the foot to the floor. Only go as far as your hips will allow without lifting. Stop when you feel the hip lifting from the floor.
Seated Wide-Legged Straddle
A wide legged position is a good way to stretch the insides of the thighs. If you are more open, you can take a forward bend here, but try to do it with a straight spine. Do not allow the back to round . If you can lower the upper body to the ground without arching the back…do so…go slowly and stop if the back arches . Keep you thighs pressing to the floor like warm clay…
Eye of the Needle
This is a great pose for people with tight hips because one can adjust to fit their level of flexibility. Start by laying on your back and crossing one ankle onto the opposite thigh. Lace your hands around the lifted thigh and gently pull the thigh toward the chest. This might be enough for you. If you want to go further… lift the bottom leg off the ground slowly feeling the muscle stretch. Stop when you find the place where you feel a good stretch but you’re not in pain.
Pigeon is one of the best hip openers. Until you become flexible it may feel a bit strenuous.
1. From downward facing dog, raise the right leg into a three legged dog…keeping the hips parallel
2. Bend your right knee and bring that knee to the floor outside the right hand while releasing the front of the left leg to the floor. The right shin may angle back towards the left hip or be more parallel to the front of your mat, depending on your flexibility.
3. Square your hips towards the front of your mat.
4. Beginners can add padding under the right side of the booty if needed
5. Beginners can leave the torso in an upright position. The intermediate student can bring the torso down into a forward bend over your right leg.
6. Continue squaring your hips and breathing into the tightness. Keep your foot flexed.
7. Make sure the top of your left foot keeps pressing down into the mat and is pointing straight back.
8. Try to relax into the pose.
9. Now do the opposite side.
If pigeon felt do-able, you can try double pigeon. Place the right leg on the floor and parallel to the body. Stack the left leg on the right with the foot FLEXED and hanging just over the knee. Relax…you can begin folding the torso over the folded legs if you are able…Take your time with this. You are still getting a beautiful stretch sitting upright. Now, repeat with the opposite leg on the top. If you have knee issues or pain…do not do this pose. Keep the feet flexed and the shins as parallel as possible. If this is too intense, skip it for now.
Now that we are all stretched out… let’s get started with the series! Patience, love and namaste, xoxo, Laura