Relax and Unwind
Hamstrings, Hips, Flexibility
This gentle yoga sequence focuses on the lower body. It's Kyle's go-to cool down in his home practice.
Head-to-Knee Pose (Janu Sirsasana)
Bring your seat to the floor with the legs extended out straight in front of you. Bring the hands down by the side and ground firmly through the palms to lengthen the spine. Take the sole of one foot to the inside of the opposite thigh. Reach the arms up in the air to create length in the spine then fold forward at the hips, reaching the forehead towards the feet. Try not to collapse into the upper and mid back. Hands can come to rest on either side of the leg or wrap around the foot of the extended leg.
Revolved Head-to-Knee Pose (Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana)
From your Head-to-Knee pose, rise up then twist the body in the direction of the bent leg 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 remain extended in the spine. From here, reach your back arm overhead and fold towards the extended foot. Maintain the twist as you fold with the chest facing the sidewall. Repeat the previous and this pose on the opposite side.
Untwist and come down onto your back. Bend both legs so the soles of the feet are on the ground. Reach one knee into the chest, then cross the ankle over the opposite knee to create a “Figure 4” shape. Reach one hand through the hole under the bent knee and the other around the outside of the opposite leg. Clasp hands around the shin or hamstring, then relax the upper body down towards the mat. Work to ground the sacrum down into the mat as you gently pull the legs towards the chest.
Reclined Pigeon Pose (Supta Kapotāsana)
Hip Abductor Stretch
From your Reclined Pigeon Pose, release the clasp of the hands and let the sole of the foot on the supporting leg come down to the mat (with the opposite leg still in a Figure 4). From here, let the legs fall to the side of the grounded leg. Now, instead of allowing the lifted foot to come to the ground, actively reach the knee of the lifted leg towards the foot of the grounded leg. This will cause the lifted foot to hover just off of the mat, bringing a stretch into the outer hip. Repeat the previous and this pose on the opposite side.
Bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
Return to a supine position (on your back). Lay the hands down by the side then bend the knees so that the heels come right up to the tips of the fingers. Engage the core and the gluts and begin to lift the hips up off of the mat. As the hips continue to lift, begin to roll the shoulders under and (if you like) clasp the hands as they reach energetically towards the bottom of the mat. Assure that the legs remain parallel and engaged as you lift. Lower back down to the mat and bring the soles of the feet together with the knees apart for 3-5 deep breaths.
Plow Pose (Halasana)
Lay on your back with the legs extended and arms by the side. Draw the navel in towards the spine, ground down through the shoulders, and press into the arms as you lift your legs all the way overhead allowing the feet to find the ground. Reach actively through your heels, as you continue to press down through the shoulders, arms, and feet to protect the neck.
Shoulderstand (Salamba Sarvangasana)
From Plow Pose, bend the arms and bring them to the mid-back. Slowly, engage the core and lift the feet up towards the ceiling. Avoid turning the neck in either direction. Reach upwards through the balls of the engaged feet as you aim to bring the hips directly over the shoulders. Ground actively though the shoulders to avoid dumping weight into the neck. Return to your supine position by coming through Plow Pose and slowly rolling the body down onto the mat.
Supine Spinal Twist (Jathara Parivartanasana)
From supine, hug both knees into the chest. Allow the whole body to fall to one side as the arms and knees both stack onto of one another (arms can be straight or in cactus shape). From here, slowly peel open the top arm, allowing the top shoulder to reach down towards the mat. Assure that the knees stay stacked directly onto of one another as the chest opens towards the ceiling (avoid the tendency to let the top knee track backwards as the upper body moves). Hold here as long as you would like, then repeat on the opposite side.
Happy Baby (Ananda Balasana)
Return to supine, then bend both knees in towards the chest. From here, reach the arms inside the knees and grab on to the outside of the feet. Press the feet into the hands to find Happy Baby pose. The shins should be more or less perpendicular to the floor. Work to keep the sacrum pressed down into the ground instead of rolling onto the mid-back. Retract the shoulder blades down the back and lengthen the spine to deepen the stretch.
Corpse Pose (Savasana)
Slowly release the the entire body down to the mat, allowing the feet to fall gently open and the hands to come by the sides with the palms facing upwards. Sink into the mat as you enter a state of deep relaxation. Allow the body to shift from activation of the sympathetic (fight or flight) nervous system to the parasympathetic (rest and digest) nervous system. Remain here for at least 5 - 10 minutes as a transition between your practice and the rest of your day.