Became More Flexible With These Asanas

PYRAMID POSE (PARSVOTTANASANA)

Another post that gets deep into the hamstrings and hips. Use props as necessary and remember that both hip points face the front of the mat in this posture.

Instructions

1. From Downward Facing Dog, step your right foot to the inside of your right hand.

2. Step your left foot toward the front of your mat about five inches and out to the left side about 3 inches. (Distances may vary depending on your size and flexibility.)

3. Lower your left heel so that your toes are turned out about 45 degrees.

4. Straighten both legs, lifting your hips. If your hands come off the floor, take blocks underneath them.

5. If you need more stability, you can step your left foot farther out to the left side of your mat. Both hips continue to face the front of the mat

6. Inhale to come to a flat back. Exhale to lower your chest toward your right knee.

7. Repeat this process of lengthening on the inhalation and deepening on the exhalation for about five breaths. Then switch sides.

HALF MOON POSE (ARDHA CHANDRASANA)

Half Moon steps things up a bit by incorporating balance but it’s also an exceptional way to open the hamstrings (yes, again!), hips, ribs, and chest. If you are more of a beginner, you can substitute Triangle (Trikonasana) pose for a similar stretch with less chance of tipping over. A block also helps make this pose more accessible.

Instructions

1. From Downward Facing Dog, step your right foot to the inside of your right hand.

2. Keep your right knee soft as you take your right hand forward about 5-10 inches (depending on your size). Come up on your right fingertips or bring the block under your right hand.

3. Bring your left hand to your left hip and lift your left foot off the ground as you straighten your right leg.

4. Stack your left hip over your right hip and lift your left leg to parallel to the floor, flexing the left foot.

5. Lift your left arm up to the ceiling and open your chest to the left side.

6. Take your gaze up to your left fingertips.

7. If you want a quad stretch, bend your left knee and take your left heel toward your glutes. Release your left hand and reach behind you to grab your left foot.

8. After around five breaths, try the other side.

GARLAND POSE (MALASANA)

Squatting was once quite a natural way to sit but most of us have lost the habit and with it, the ease. If your heels come up a lot, take a rolled or folded blanket underneath them. You can also place a block under your seat for additional support if this squat is very intense for you.

Instructions

1. Come to stand at the front of your mat with your feet about 12 inches apart.

2. Turn your toes out and bend your knees to assume a deep squatting position.

3. Bring your elbows to the insides of your knees and take your hands into Anjali Mudra at your heart. Use your elbows to gently push the knees apart.

HALF LORD OF THE FISHES POSE (ARDHA MATSYENDRASANA)

While it may seem like most of the action is in the upper body here, there’s a lot of passive stretching going on in the lower body too (especially in the hard to reach outer thigh, technically part of the glutes) so make sure to set it up carefully and keep the sole of your right foot in strong contact with the floor. Most of us don’t do much twisting in daily life so start gently and this will feel really good on your ribcage and back.

Instructions

1. Sit in cross-legged in Easy Pose (Sukhasana) with your right leg in front.

2. Bring your right foot to the outside of your left thigh with the right knee up and right sole flat on the floor.

3. Scoot your left foot to the outside of your right buttock with the outside of the left foot on the floor.

4. Inhale both arms up and exhale to twist to the right bringing your right hand to the floor behind you and your left elbow to the outside of your right knee.

5. Activate your left hand and press the right foot into your mat.

6. Take your gaze over to the right but remember that your twist doesn’t originate in your neck.

7. On your inhalations grow your spine long and on your exhalations deepen your twist by pressing your left elbow into your right thigh.

8. After five to ten breath like this, release and do the other side.

COW FACE POSE (GOMUKHASANA)

Another pose that takes the body to places we don’t normally go and therefore is a really good antidote to all the slumped over sitting we frequently do. This arm position can be quite challenging, so have a strap handy and get ready to stretch the biceps, pectorals, trapezius, and serratus anterior.

Instructions

1. In a seated position, stack your right knee on top of your left knee at your midline with the feet reaching toward the opposite buttock.

2. Lift your right arm up to the ceiling and then bend your elbow so that your right hand come to your upper back.

3. Reach your left arm to the left and then bend your left elbow down so your left hand is reaching up the centre of your back.

4. The idea is for the hands to meet and clasp behind your back. If there is no way that is happening, use a strap between the hands or hold onto your shirt with each hand to create a bit of traction.

5. If your hands are connected, you can press your head into your right arm gently.

6. Keep hugging both elbows toward the midline for three to five breaths. Then release and try the other side.