This is a favorite stretch for the hips, back, and side of the body.  Ideal for post Pilates, fitness, long hikes, or as a part of the hip opening or restorative sequence in your Yoga practice.  Best practiced when you are warm and joints well lubricated.

To Start:

Lie on your back with knees bent, feet flat and placed on the outer edges of your mat (wider than hips), arms out to the sides with palms flat.  If it’s more comfortable, place a folded blanket or small pillow under your head.

To Stretch:

Slowly exhale and drop both knees to the right, the legs will be staggered – not stacked. Inhale and return to centre, and exhale and drop to the left. Repeat a few times each side, then stay on one side and rest for 5 breaths.

Adding Intensity:

If you have your knees to your right, add intensity by placing your right heel on the left knee to encourage it lower to the ground.  Extend arms overhead and catch the left wrist in the right hand to draw upwards.

A Few Keys:

  • Draw the lower back towards the ground to prevent the back from arching.
  • Imagine getting longer through the thigh and hip, and if arms are extended getting longer from wrist to knee.
  • Try to keep both hips on or as close to the ground as you can.

Anatomy Aficionados:

This is a great pose to stretch the thigh and hips – great for athletes, desk jockeys, and those with anterior pelvic tilts and tightness in lateral thigh.  This pose stretches:

  • Front of the hip – Psoas Major, Iliacus, Sartorius, Quadriceps – with a particular focus on releasing the muscles and fascia on the lateral aspect (esp Iliotibial Band)
  • The side body – Latissimus Dorsi, Obliques, Intercostals
  • Lower back Quadratus Lumborum
  • Outside of hip and deep hip rotators – Gluteus Medius, Piriformis

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