Painful, overworked legs?
Inflexible, stiff legs?
This yoga sequence for beginners is designed for anyone (inflexible and flexible alike) who may have pain in their legs from working out, working, or general stiffness.
The poses in this yoga sequence are practiced lying down. Please grab the following yoga props before getting started:
Yoga Strap (OR a belt, tie, or dog leash)
Yoga Bolster (OR a couple bed pillows)
Optional – Scented Eye Pillow
As you practice these exercises, remember to BREATHE.
Focus on how your body feels, and always back out of the stretch if it becomes too intense!
Scroll down for written instructions for each pose or try the video below for a short practice!
~Laying on your back, bring both your knees in towards your chest and loosely hold your knees or the back of your thighs.
~Take some deep breaths and let the tension release from your legs.
~Spend two full breaths mindfully wiggling your toes and spreading them wide.
~Then, start to point and flex your feet for a couple breaths.
~Slowly circle your ankles in one direction and then the other.
~When this feels complete, bring your feet back to the floor.
Benefits: This pose helps to release your lower back, while bringing gentle movement to your feet and ankle joints.
2. Open Your Hips
~Bring one knee into your chest and start to move that knee side to side. You can pause and breathe where you feel any “sticky” spots in your hips.
~Hold your knee with your hand and start to make circles – beginning with small circles and working your way up to larger circles.
~Take your time and stay here as long as you want. Repeat on the other side when this feels complete to you.
3. Leg Stretches with a Strap
~Grab a yoga strap or a DIY strap – a belt, a tie or a dog leash.
~Wrap the strap around the ball of your right foot and raise your leg to a comfortable place. It can be straight up towards the ceiling, or the knee can be bent.
~Experiment with pointing and flexing your foot. As you press your heel towards the ceiling, you’ll feel more of stretch on your hamstrings. When you find your edge (the point where the stretch becomes intense), bend the knee just a little to “back off” from the edge. Now use your exhales to relax the tension in your leg for 5 full breaths.
~On the last exhale, let your leg begin to slowly drop to the right. MAKE SURE that your whole buttocks stays on the ground. Again, 5 full breaths, letting gravity help your hip to open and see if you notice a stretch in your inner thigh.
~On an inhale, bring your leg back up to center, then as you exhale, let that leg cross over the body, again keeping your whole buttocks on the ground. You might feel a stretch now on the outside of your thigh – the IT Band. Stay here for 5 breaths.
~Inhaling, bring your leg back up and remove the strap from your foot. Let your leg relax long on the ground, rocking it side to side and taking a moment to notice the effects of the stretch and the difference between both legs.
~Repeat with the other leg.
Benefits: The 1st part of this pose stretches your hamstrings, the 2nd part opens the inner thigh muscles, and the 3rd part stretches the IT band on the outside thigh. Laying down and relaxing your leg muscles allows gravity to gently help increase your stretch and your overall flexibility.
4. Reclined Pigeon Pose
~Bend your knees and bring your feet to the floor.
~Cross your right ankle over your left knee.
~Reach your right hand through the triangle between your legs, and hold the back of your thigh, pulling the left leg in towards your belly.
~Notice where you feel your edge, then back off just a little and hold for 5 breaths.
~Repeat on the other side.
TO MODIFY – Wrap a strap around the back of the thigh if you are unable to reach comfortably with your hands.
Benefits: This pose stretches your piriformis, a small muscle deep in your buttocks that runs from your sacrum to your thigh bone. Stretching the piriformis can help improve sciatica, ease knee and ankle pain, and also help with the symptoms of plantar fasciitis.
5. Resting Pose – Savasana
~Grab your bolster (or pillows) and put it under your knees. Make sure your lower back is comfortable.
~Lay back and relax all of your muscles. Feel the floor supporting you.
~Either close your eyes, or if you’re feeling decadent today…. Place your scented eye pillow over your eyes.
~Your arms can lay on the floor next to you or you can place one hand on your belly and one hand on your heart. Feel your breath moving through your body or moving your hands up and down. Concentrate on that feeling or maybe repeat a mantra to yourself as you relax.
~Stay here for at least 5 minutes. Feel free to stay in this pose for as long as you like without falling asleep. If you feel like this might happen, bend your arms so that your fingers point to the sky, and as your arms fall, you will wake up.
Benefits: This pose allows your muscles to “turn off”. Hopefully, as you lay quietly focusing on your breath or your mantra, your mind will also have an opportunity to turn off and reset. In this place of stillness, your body can begin the healing to ease your leg pain.