Amanda is a new regular in my morning classes. She is a runner and has tight hamstrings, IT bands and calves. She loves slowing down in her yoga practice and feels it is the perfect complement to her running practice. Here is one of her favorite sequences to help release hammies and calves.
Start in a reclined figure four position. With left foot on the floor near the glutes, knee points to the sky (heel under or slightly in front of knee, right ankle either crosses left thigh or rests in the middle of it, feel into which is right for you and your body. It is possible that being in this position is deep enough. If you would like to add a bit of weight from the right hand, place it on the right thigh and continue to open the hip to the depth that feels right for you. Take five deep breaths here.
Maintaining the figure four position draw both knees toward the chest. Place hands either over the shins or under the knees, feel into which is right for you and your body in this moment. Being here may be enough depth. If you’d like to dive deeper, use the right elbow to gently add weight to further open the right hip. Take five deep breaths here.
Continue to maintain the figure four foundation and draw left foot to the sky. Place hands behind the left thigh for support. Work the left leg toward straight, find a depth of intensity that feels sustainable. Take five deep breaths here.
Continue to maintain the figure four. Release your hold behind the left thigh, gently lower the left leg to the earth. Inhale and rise to an upright position. (Image 1) Exhale and begin to fold over the legs. If you are particularly tight in the hips and low back, opt to place the palms together, place the right elbow/forearm on the inside edge of calf and thigh to place a gentle amount of weight, assisting to open the right hip. (Image 2) If you are more flexible fold to a sustainable depth. Take five deep breaths here. Inhale to lift the torso, exhale to lower the torso back to the earth. Inhale both knees to the chest, wrap arms around them and gently rock from side to side. As you feel ready, repeat on the opposite side.
You can repeat this sequence as many times as feel beneficial or you can do it once on both sides. It feels really good, I promise! Give it a whirl and let me know how you feel! Remember, breath deep and take it slow, that is when the change happens. #bepainfree