All Around Hips and Legs
This little hip sequence plays with facing the back of the mat as you move through various lunges to open up the hip flexors, glutes, adductors, and hamstrings.
Warrior III with Arms Back (Virabhadrasana III)
From standing, lean the upper body forward with the arms reaching back. As the chest sinks, straighten the back leg towards Warrior III, lifting it parallel to the floor. Reach forward through the crown of the head and backwards through the back heel. Feel free to find a slight bend in the grounded leg if you’re prone to hyperextension in the knee.
Side Lunge (Skandasana Variation)
From Warrior III, place the lifted leg down at the back of the mat. Bend into the back leg and sit the hips down towards a side lunge. As the hips lower, bring the hands down to the mat. Press down gently as with the fingertips as you work to lengthen the spine and find a slight arch in the lower back (anterior pelvic tilt).
From side lunge, rotate the upper body to face the back of the mat. Remain on the ball of the foot with the heel lifted on your straight leg. Ground firmly through the ball and heel of the foot of the bent leg. Allow your fingertips to brush the ground, as you reach through the crown of the head to create length in the spine. Pull the navel in towards the spine to create space between the thigh and the belly. Retract the shoulder blades to shine the chest forward.
Low Lunge facing backwards (Anjaneyasana Variation)
Extended Side Angle (Utthita Parsvakonasana)
From Low Lunge, rotate the back leg so that it's parallel with the back of the mat. While maintaining the bend in the front knee, rotate at the mid-body as the arm comes on top or to the inside of the front leg. With your opposite hand, reach overhead while externally rotating so the bicep comes by the ear. Work to twist the mid-body so that the chest faces towards the sidewall. Remain actively grounding through both legs.
Reverse Triangle (Viparita Trikonasana)
Lift the upper body as you straighten your front leg. Take the arm on the side that was previously grounded, and arc it back overhead. Create one long, energetic line from your front toes to the fingertips of the lifted hand. The opposite hand can come to rest on the back leg below the knee.
Triangle Variation (Trikonasana Variation)
From Reverse Triangle, reach the lifted arm forward (towards the back of your mat since you are still facing backwards). When you can't reach forward any further, allow the arm to come down so that it presses back against your inner thigh. Rotate at the mid-body so the shoulders stack. Instead of lifting your opposite hand towards the ceiling, reach it forward as it was in Extended Side Angle to create length as you twist.
Low Lunge Variation (Anjanayasana Variation)
From Triangle, lift the upper body and cartwheel the arms until you’re in a low lunge facing the opposite direction (the front of your mat). Drop the back knee to the ground and lift the chest up as the arms come overhead. Work to tuck the tailbone under to bring the stretch into your front hip flexors. As you settle into the pose, sink the hips down and forward simultaneously.
Half Split (Ardha Hanumanasana)
From Low Lunge, begin to straighten the front leg as your hips move back in space. Allow the hands to come down to the mat on either side of the leg for support. Create length in the spine and reach the head towards the toes without excessively rounding into the back. Press the front heel actively into the mat as you fold.
Gate Pose (Parighasana)
From Half Splits, rotate the bent leg 90-degrees so that the heel goes off the side of the mat. Come onto the inside arch of the front foot as you lift the upper body. Reach the back arm overhead and find a side-bend as you reach towards the front of the mat to open the side body and hip adductors.
Standing Knee to Chest
From Gate Pose, move back through your Low Lunge as a transition. Then begin to press weight into the front foot as you lean the upper body forward. In one sweeping motion, come to standing with one knee bent into the chest. Interlace the fingers around the knee or find any balancing posture you like here before placing the foot down and repeating the sequence on the opposite side.