Lower Body Love
Quads, Hips, Hamstrings
With a dash of strength and a hint of twists, these movements stretch deeply into the lower half of your body: the hips, hamstrings and quads. Show yourself some love!
Three-Legged Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana Variation)
Begin by finding a strong based in your downward facing dog pose. Spread your fingers wide and press evenly into the balls of your feet. Using your core, lift your left leg up into the air. Point your left toes and press evenly through both hands, keeping your hips in line with each other. Engage through your core and the back of your left leg.
Open-Hip Three Legged Dog Variation
Bend the left knee and stack your left hip over your right, working to keep your shoulders in-line and equal weight distribution in both hands. Kick your left heel in towards your left glute. You can stay there, or drop onto your right forearm and tent up onto your left fingertips. Press the forearms and fingertips into the floor to stay lifted through your right shoulder.
Return to your three-legged dog and extend the left leg long on an inhale breath. On an exhale, shift your shoulder forward and bring your left knee in to touch your left tricep. Press down through both hands and into the ball of your right foot. For an extra challenge, see if you can hold here for three breaths.
Knee to Tricep
Low Lunge Twist
Place your left foot down on the mat on the outside of your left hand, finding a low lunge in the legs. Keep your right hand planted and lift the left hand up to the sky, stacking your left shoulder over your right. Press firmly through the right foot and maintain a strong right leg.
Lizard (Utthan Pristhasana)
Bring your left hand to the mat, on the inside of the left foot (you might need to toe-heel your left foot out wider. Rock forward and back a few times in your lizard shape, gently awakening the hips. From here, lower your right knee down to the yoga mat. Stay lift on your hands, or come down to your forearms. Hug your left knee in towards your body, to avoid it splaying out. Breathe.
Twisted Lizard (Parivrtta Utthan Pristhasana)
Return to your hands. Bend into your right leg, so your right heel is reaching towards your seat. Keep your right hand planted on the mat, as you reach back with your left hand to grab the top of the right foot. Notice the sensation in your right quad and breathe deeply here.
Half Pigeon (Ardha Kapotasana)
Untwist from your lizard variation. Plant your hands on the mat, and lift your right knee off of the mat. Carefully, toe-heel your left foot over to the right edge of your yoga mat. Allow your left knee to open like a book, and place the side of your left shin on the mat, parallel with the top of the mat. Flex your left toes. Settle your hips and the top of your right leg down on the mat. Place your fingertips next to your hips and find a nice tall spine. Breathe here or fold forward.
Head-to-Knee Forward Bend (Janu Sirsasana)
Ease slightly off of the stretch in your outer-left hip, and begin to roll onto the side of the left hip. Carefully sweep your right leg forward to the top of your mat. Extend your right leg straight out in front of you, and bring your left foot to the inside of your right thigh. Rotate your chest to face your right leg. Lengthen your spine and then fold forward, attempting to keep a straight back.
Half Lord of the Fishes (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
Rise from your fold. Bring your left foot to plant on the outside edge of your right thigh. Both sitz bones should aim to settle on the ground. Plant your left fingertips behind your left hip and extend your right hand to the sky on an inhale. With an exhale, rotate your chest to the left and hook your right elbow on the outside of your left knee. Gaze can move backwards.
Cow Face (Gomukhasana)
Untwist. Tuck your right leg in towards your body and slide your left knee so it stacks over your right knee. The knife-edges of both feet should be pressing into the mat and the feet should be in the same line. Extend your right arm up to the sky, then bend at the elbow, bringing the right palm to the center of your back. With your left arm by your side, bend at the elbow and see if your left hand can hold your right. If not, grab your shift. Keep your spine straight and gaze level. Stay here or fold forward.