The thighs (quads and hip flexors) can become very tight and painful from sitting a lot or simply from not stretching. Join me for this Yin AM practice - 35 minutes, 5 poses - to lengthen, stretch and open the area of the upper thigh and hip. Join me using the practice guide below OR using the link for the video practice with me bit.ly/YinAM4QuadFlexibility (also linked below the guide).
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Hold: 1-3 mins per side
Sit up with sitting bones stable on the floor or a folded blanket. Bring both feet together, knees wide to sides. Take your right leg and turn it out to the side, keeping the foot flexed. Take it back behind you as far you feel comfortable, knee bent (remember the 2/3 of your max idea). Take one hand to the inside of your legs and the other to the outside of your left leg. Sit up tall and breathe into the legs. This pose seems so simple but pay attention to releasing muscle engagement in the thighs and hips. Try to keep your abdomen in the middle and not leaning over and both hips on the floor (use blanket if necessary). To come out, bring feet back together and flutter knees up and down for 5-10 breaths. Continue to second side.
Dragon Pose (high)
Hold: 2-5 mins per side
Come onto hands and knees with a blanket under the knees for comfort. Take one leg out in front in a lunge position. Gently lift back knee off the floor and walk the back leg further back then drop knee and pull forwards taking the weight off the knee a bit and moving it higher up above the kneecap. Take your hands onto your thigh and allow the back to arch slightly. Breathe into the hip and leg, allowing both sides to release and open. To come out, drop your hands down to the floor and gently step back into downward facing dog for 3-5 breaths before moving to the second side.
1/2 Saddle Pose (Supta Virasana)
Hold: 2-6 minutes/side
Take a bolster and run it down the center of your body behind you. Sit on one heel with hips about a fist distance away from the bolster (or bed pillows). Take your thumbs and gently roll the calf muscles back (on the bent knee side) and outwards making way for you to sit down on the floor next to your heel (heel should be close to the hip and knee can rise from the floor or stay down, turn outwards slightly or foot can rotate outwards into flexed position - depending on your comfort). If this is too much, you can take bridge pose with hips on the bolster and upper body off (legs straight or bent knees). You can also place a block under your hips for less back pressure. Take your hands to your hips and gently lift them tucking the tailbone under slightly and lengthening the lower back. Begin to sit back and allow the bolster to support your entire upper body. Take hands up overhead and hold or rest hands along side the bolster. This pose can bring up a lot of resistance so try to really breathe into the sensations and know that this pose won't last forever! To come out, take hands along side the bolster, tuck your chin to your chest and lift slowly up. Roll over to the straight leg side and unfold your leg. Rub your hands up and down the legs and wiggle the toes. Continue to the second side.
Cat Pulling It's Tail
Hold: 2-5 minutes
Come onto your back and roll over to your left side. Take your left arm out from the shoulder and take your left leg, bent knee, slightly back behind you. Catch or reach for the left leg with your right hand and gently pull it back behind your further, taking the foot closer to the floor and rolling the shoulder and chest open slightly to the right. You can stack your right leg on top of left bent or you can straighten the leg and take it out in front of you. If you want to go further, grasp your right toes with your left hand and keep the leg straight out to the left or simply allow the right foot to sit in front of your body. Allow your breath to guide your body deeper into the twist and if you feel you can, gently pull the left toes back further, emphasizing the stretch in the thigh. To come out, release all holds and roll onto your back taking the arms and legs wide for 5-10 breaths. Continue to the other side.
Hold: 5-10 minutes
Allow the heels to settle out to the corners of the mat, slide your shoulder blades underneath your body, and take your hands out to the sides, palms up. Take some deep breaths, coming back to the 3 part breath - first in the belly, then in the chest and finally the collarbones - and extend the exhale even longer. Allow yourself to sigh a few times and let it all go!
I have been "playing" and experimenting with yoga, aromatherapy and healthy living since my late teens - researching, testing, reading, investigating, and learning anything that would make my life - and the lives around me - better naturally.
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