The summer yoga classes continue (see last week’s details here) and this week I have been giving my students’ hips and hamstrings a bit of attention.
It’s very obvious when teaching a class that so many students have tight hamstrings either through inactivity – too much sitting, or conversely, too much activity – hiking, cycling, running and so on – especially men in my experience! Tight hamstrings show in knees which don’t straighten, hands which can’t reach the floor and can even lead to a tight lumbar spine (especially in forward bends) as the pelvis won’t align correctly. I personally really like a good, gentle and long hamstring stretch as I am fairly stiff there but it is an area which will soften and lengthen fairly well given some gentle persuasion!
I thought that some hip work would go well with the hamstring stretches, but I wanted to get into the outer hip stretch which comes from the compact positions rather than the more usual ‘hip openers’. I certainly benefitted from teaching this class three times this week!
- x- legs to prepare and invocation
- Adho Mukha Swastikasana – head resting (legs apart for bad knees, ankles etc)
- Gomukhasana legs – try classical version with feet together, then spread feet to edge of hips with buttocks down – repeat each side.
- Supta Padangustasana 1 – belt around raised heel, floor leg firmly into wall, leg to 90 degrees only.
- Supta Tadasana – feet into wall
- Supta Urdva Hastasana – feet into wall
- Supta Padangustasana 1 – small belt loop around toe pads, straight arms extended beyond head holding belt to take leg beyond 90 degrees, gentle pulsing action – see photo above (thigh should be more on the floor)
- Urdvaha Prasarita Padasana – to 90 degrees only – bent legs up and down if back sore
- Urdvha Hasta Padasana – foot to raised support, belt around heel
- Gomukhasana – full pose with arm action – has it improved?
- Sirsasana (alternative: AMV with chin on tall brick)
- Sarvangasana (alternative: Setubandha on tall brick)
- Supta Swastikasana with feet on Sarvangasana support.
Next week is the last of my summer sessions and it’s looking as if we’ll be working on forward extensions both standing and sitting.
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