Push back on your feet and straighten your legs as you raise your hips.
Focus on feeling an evenness over both hands. Then slowly shift your weight onto your left leg. Raise your right leg up as high as you can without twisting your shoulders and hips. Keep the front of your body facing the floor.
If you practice yoga, you’re familiar with downward-facing dog. It’s a traditional pose that requires strength and energy in your arms and shoulders, extension of the spine, and power and stamina in your legs.
From a kneeling position, sit back on your heels. Take your arms to the floor and walk your hands as far forward as possible, keeping them shoulder-width apart. Now come up to all fours, moving your feet hip-width apart. Push back on your feet and straighten your legs as you raise your hips. Lower your head between your upper arms and move your chest toward your thighs, maintaining a straight spine. Lower your heels to the floor as you lift your sitting bones toward the ceiling. Pause for 10 to 20 seconds. Release down to the start position or continue to the more advanced variation.
Focus on feeling an evenness over both hands. Then slowly shift your weight onto your left leg. Raise your right leg up as high as you can without twisting your shoulders and hips. Keep the front of your body facing the floor. Pause for two to three breaths, lower your right leg, shift your weight over it and raise your left leg. Pause for two to three breaths. Lower your leg, bend your knees to all fours and return to the start position.
Whenever you feel tightness in your chest, shoulders and back, practice this variation of a backbend, or bridge pose. It will help release tension in your mid- and upper back as well as stretch and strengthen your hips and legs.
Step-1. Lie back on a mat with your heels resting on a sturdy chair. Extend your arms alongside your body, palms flat on the floor. Make sure your feet are hip-distance apart and your knees are parallel to each other.
Step-2. On an inhale, press firmly on your feet as you raise your hips toward the ceiling. Interlace your fingers and rotate your upper arms outward so your shoulders can roll under. Keep your arms and hands on the floor while imagining your shoulder blades are moving up and through your chest. This will help open and release tight spots in your upper and middle back and chest area. Hold this position and focus on slow, deep breathing. To come down, release your hands and slowly lower your hips to the floor.
This is a great stretch for loosening up the outside of your hips and thighs. It you’re not limber enough to hold your foot, you can hook a strap or a towel around it to help you reach it. CLICK & SEE STEP-1. Lying on your back, bend your right knee into your chest. Keep your left leg extended straight out on the floor in front of you. Straighten your right leg, holding the outer edge of your right food with your left hand or using a strap. Press the thumb of your right hand to the top of your right thigh where it meets your torso.
STEP-2. Without allowing your right hip to roll completely off the floor (as you would in a lying spinal twist), move your right leg across your body to the left side until you feel a gentle stretch running from your outer right hip down the outside of your right thigh. Continue to press the right side of your buttock toward the floor (it’s OK if it lifts a few inches). Pause for three to six full breaths. Lower your leg and repeat on the other side.
This yoga pose stretches the backs of your thighs, your outer hips and your calves. In the deeper variation, you can lengthen your spine and also feel a great stretch in the sides of your back.
STEP-1. Stand facing the front of a sturdy chair. Place your right foot forward, close to the legs of the chair. Put your hands on your hips and step your left foot back 3 1/2 to 4 feet. Turn the left foot out 30 degrees. Align your right heel with your left heel. Square your hips to the front of the chair, hinge forward at the hips and place your hands on the seat of the chair for support. Hold for 30 seconds, feeling a deep stretch in the right hamstring and left calf. STEP-2. If you want to intensify this stretch, move your hands to the top of the back rest. On an exhale, lean your torso more forward over your right leg. With your arms straight, move your shoulder blades down your back — making sure the back of your neck lines up with your spine — and look down to your right foot. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds. To come out of it, return your hands to your hips and raise your torso. Repeat on the other side.
Here’s a fun yoga exercise that will build strength and flexibility in your core muscles and arms. Prepare your body for this move by starting on all fours, rounding your spine and pushing your navel up to the spine. Hold this cat stretch for a few seconds, then practice the following exercise.
……………………… STEP- 1. Bring your feet together, bend your knees and lower your hips. Place your hands on the ground, shoulder-width apart, and move your knees to the outer sides of your upper arms.
…………………………. STEP-2. Press your hands firmly into the ground, pull your navel to your spine (like you did in the cat stretch) and let your buttocks drop down. Now slowly tilt forward and lift your feet off the floor, bringing the inner edges of your feet together. Don’t let your buttocks rise up; instead, pull up your knees and feet. Balance in this position for 3 to 6 seconds, then come down and repeat two more times.