Quads, Hips, Core, Balance, Mobility
This yoga sequence for hips and core explores the idea of maintaining stability while moving through dynamic transitions.
Begin on your knees with toes tucked under and hands down by the side. Create a solid base by engaging the quads and pressing down through the toes. Pull the navel towards spine to contract and knit the core while finding a slight posterior pelvic tilt. Roll the shoulder blades down the back and shine the chest forward.
Slowly, reach the arms towards the front of the mat (or cross them on your chest) and begin to lean the upper body back. Maintain one solid straight line from knees to head. Moving slowly, recline until the seat touches the heels, then rise back up.
From kneeling, sit on top of the heels. Slowly begin to lift the knees while shifting the weight backwards until you roll all the way onto the soles of the feet, with the heels on the mat. Adjust the legs as necessary (you may need to spread them slightly) to find a comfortable squatting position.
Yogic Squat (Malasana)
Crescent Lunge (Anjaneyasana)
From your squat, step the right foot to the back of the mat while remaining on the ball of the foot and readjust the left foot as necessary. Hips are square towards the front of the mat. Engage the right (back) quad to straighten the leg. If this causes the upper body to lean forward, lift the chest upright while engaging the core to extend the right hip flexor.
Crescent Low Lunge Variation (Anjaneyasana Variation)
Allow the back knee to bend and sink slowly to the mat. From here, melt the pelvis down and forward as you reach the arms overhead. As the arms reach and hips sink, you’ll come into a slight backbend. Now, make tight fists with the hands, and pull the elbows downward, retracting the scapula (pulling the shoulder blades towards one another).
Standing Knee to Chest
As you exhale, shift the weight into the front foot and begin to lean the body forward. In one smooth movement, press downward through the front foot as you rise to standing. Lift and bend the back leg, brining the knee in towards the chest. Point the lifted foot while engaging the stabilizers in the core and feeling the steady connection between the grounding leg and the mat.
Warrior III (Virabhadrasana III)
Without touching foot to floor, begin to lean the upper body forward. As the chest sinks, straighten the bent leg backwards towards Warrior III. Work to straighten the lifted leg, maintaining it parallel to the floor. If you find stability here, feel free to energetically reach the arms overhead with the biceps alongside the ears. Feel free to find a slight bend in the grounded leg if you’re prone to hyperextension at the knee.
Pistol Squat Negative
Reverse the previous motion, as if returning back towards Standing Knee to Chest, however this time straighten the leg in front of you, as much as possible. Then, shift the weight into the grounded heel as you bend into the supporting leg. Continue bending into a one legged squat, until you come all the way down to the ground. The arms and chest may come to reach forward to counterbalance the hips sinking back. Engage into the quad to slow your descent and build stabilizing strength.
Revolved Head to Knee Pose (Parivrtta Janu Sirsana)
From seated, bring the sole of the right foot onto the inside of the left leg. Twist the body to the right so that the chest is facing the side of the mat. Reach the fingertips to the ground to help leverage the twist while pressing downwards to extend the spine. From here, reach your right arm overhead and fold towards the left foot. Maintain the twist as you fold with the chest facing the side wall.
Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Rise out of your fold while maintaining your twist to the right. Twist even further to place both hands at the back of your mat. Straighten into both arms, and press into your left foot as you lift the hips, allowing the body to rotate all the way into a downward facing dog (at the back of the mat). From here, return to kneeling and repeat the flow on the opposite side!