Basic Practice: Releasing the Legs and Hips

In this practice the goal is to soften the whole area of the upper leg/lower abdomen and back/hips by grounding down into the legs and feet. As the legs and feet ground, allow the torso to release as a unit away from the hips towards the head.

The Sequence:

Pashchima Baddha Hastasana (Elbows Clasped behind the back) in Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose) with a blanket behind the knees

Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose) in Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose) with the toes turned under

Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose) with the ankles crossed

Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose) with the top of one foot crossed over the arch of the other

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) variation
• Come into the pose with a rolled up blanket or a block under the balls of the feet to create a calf stretch.
• Do the pose with the knees a little bent for about a minute, then pull the thighs up to straighten the legs and hold for the same length of time.
• Keep the center of gravity shifting forward.

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart
• Step back out of the previous variation and place the feet flat without lifting the head up.

Tadasana (Mountain Pose) with a block between the thighs

Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Hands Pose) with a block between the thighs

Tadasana (Mountain Pose)/Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Hands Pose) variation with a block between the thighs
• Put the hands on the hips and, keeping the torso stacked up, flex the ankles to come into a mini-squat. Do not lean forward or back. Hold this position for a few breaths.
• Raise the arms overhead. Hold this position for few breaths.
• Rise up into Urdhva Hastasana by both grounding down into the feet and lifting up through the torso.

Utkatasana (Furious Pose) with a block between the thighs
• Put the hands on the hips and, keeping the torso stacked up, flex the ankles to come into a mini-squat. Do not lean forward or back. Hold this position for a few breaths.
• Hinge forward from the hip crease, keeping the weight centered on the feet and without pushing the chest and back forward or tucking the tailbone. Hold this position for a few breaths.
• Raise the arms overhead. Hold this position for a few breaths.
• Sink deeper into the pose and hold.
• Come out of the pose through Urdhva Hastasana.

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with a block between the thighs.
• Put the hands on the hips and, keeping the torso stacked up, flex the ankles to come into a mini-squat. Do not lean forward or back. Hold this position for a few breaths.
• Hinge forward from the hip crease, keeping the weight centered on the feet and without pushing the chest and back forward or tucking the tailbone. Hold this position for a few breaths.
• Sink deeper into the legs and hinge further forward to place the hands on the floor. Hold this position for a few breaths. Place the hands on a block if necessary.
• Draw the block up to straighten the legs into the full pose.

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)
• Come into the pose with the front leg a little bent.
• Straighten the leg once in the pose by reaching down into the foot and pulling the thigh and hip up.

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with a block between the thighs.
• Come into the pose from the squat as above.

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose) variation with the arms down
• Come into the flat back variation of pose with the front leg a little bent.
• Straighten the leg once in the pose by reaching down into the foot and pulling the thigh and hip up.
• Release the head and arms down.

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with a block between the thighs.
• Come into the pose from the squat as above.

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Widespread Feet Pose 1)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with a block between the thighs.
• Come into the pose from the squat as above.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Adho Mukha Vajrasana (Downward Facing Thunderbolt Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only into a forward bend, if possible

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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