All In The Hips
Hips, Hamstrings, Quads, Balance
Like any dance, this moving sequence is all about the hips. These dynamic movements will build mobility, flexibility, and strength in the lower body.
Crescent Lunge (Anjaneyasana)
From standing, reach the right leg to the back of your mat with the ball of the foot grounded and heel lifted. Engage the right quad to straighten the leg as you contract the core and find a slight posterior pelvic tilt (bottom of the pelvis tucks forward). Lengthen up through the spine and reach the arms upwards, finding external rotation (biceps by the ears).
On an exhale, straighten the front (left) leg and begin to reach the arms forward towards the front of the mat. Allow the arms to pull the upper body forward over the front leg, as you maintain length in the spine. Fold over the leg while pulling the navel in towards the spine. Allow the fingertips to hover, rest on the floor, or find a block.
Lift the upper body and rotate the feet to face the right side of the mat (or whichever side your back leg is on). Then, step front (left) foot behind the back foot, and bend into both legs until the left knee gently touches the ground. With control, re-straighten both legs.
Step the left leg back to the top of the mat with the toes still facing sideways. Then, sink down into the left leg, bringing the seat down to the heel. Try to remain grounded in the left heel, as you turn the toes of the back (right) foot upwards towards the ceiling. To modify, simply take a side lunge towards the front leg.
From Skandasana on the left leg, turn the upper body to face forward as you plant the right hand on the inside of the left foot. Continue to twist with the upper body until it faces the left side of the mat. As you twist, rotate onto the outside edges of both feet. Sink the hips down and reach the lifted arm towards the back of the mat.
Skandansana (Opposite Side)
From Twisting Skandasana, untwist and return to a wide legged stance facing the right side of the mat. This is the same position that preceded the Curtsy Squat. Then, bend into the right leg, bringing the seat towards the right heel, into Skandasana on the opposite side. As the seat sinks down, lift the chest and upper body.
Curtsy Squat (Opposite Side)
Lift out of Skandasana and immediately step the right foot behind the left, taking a Curtsy Squat on the opposite side. This time, you will be stepping the back foot up towards the front of the mat. Only squat down until the knee gently brushes the mat before lifting back up to a standing position with the legs crossed.
Half Lord of the Fishes Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
From a standing position with the right leg crossed behind the left, sit all the way down to the floor (think about sitting down onto the right shin). Note that you’ll still be facing the right side of your mat. Ensure that the right knee is placed on the outside of the left foot and the right heel is by the left hip. Ground down evenly through the hips. Then, place the right elbow on the outside of the left leg, and ground the left arm behind you as you twist.
From Ardha Matsyendrasana, uncross the left leg and place the left foot at the top of the mat. Turn the body as you lean weight into the foot and rise into a standing split position with the right heel reaching up towards the ceiling behind you. Keep the hips closed and the toes of the lifted leg pointing down. Engaging the lower glute as you lift.
Standing Hand to Big Toe (Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana)
From Standing Split, bring the lifted leg down to hover next to the grounded leg. Then, while in a forward fold, grab onto the big toe of the hovering foot. In one motion, come to standing with the lifted leg extended forward. Pull the shoulder blades down the back as you shine the chest forward. Press forward with the lifted heel. Engage your supporting leg to increase your stability. Reach upwards through the crown of the head to lengthen the spine.