It’s time for another edition of Curvy Yoga for your day!   If you missed the first two installments, you can check them out here and here.  I’m designing these so that you can mix and match as we go, developing a practice that fits the time you have available.  This sequence includes hip openers and stretches for the legs.  Opening through the hip and leg muscles can be a great way to release tension from the body and re-energize for the rest of the day.  I’m including options for doing the poses on the floor or in a chair, depending on where you are doing this and your ability to get on and off the floor easily.

Here’s the 15 minute version!

1. Begin with either seated or standing salutations.  Do a few until you start feeling warmed up: 4-5 is likely a good starting point.

2. If you’d like to try the floor version, go to #3.  If you’d like to try the chair version, skip ahead to #9.

Hip/Leg Sequence for the Floor

3. Come to seated on your mat.  I like to sit on a folded blanket to give myself a little more room to move around.  You could use any blanket, firm pillow, or even wadded up sweatshirt to make this work–anything that you can comfortably sit on to lift your bum up a bit.

4. Wide-legged forward bend: Place your chair in front of a wall (chair back is against wall) so that it will be steady.  Stand approximately three feet in front of the chair, facing it, and then step your feet so that they are three-four feet apart.  Begin to hinge forward from your hips and place your hands on the chair seat for support.  Depending on your ability, you can walk the feet back and further apart for more stretch.  You could also turn the chair around so that the seat back is facing you and then bring your hands to the top of the chair for less of a stretch.  Hold for 30 seconds-1 minute minimum.

5. One-legged forward bend.  This is very similar to #4, except you will be doing one leg at a time.  Tuck your left foot in toward your pelvis and extend your right leg out, probably in a very similar position to where it was in #4.  Place your hands on either side of your right thigh, on the right shin or foot, or on a strap around your right foot.  Walk your hands out until you feel a pleasant stretch in your right hamstring.  As with the wide-legged forward bend, if you move from “this feels good” to “ouch,” go back to feeling good.  Hold for 30 seconds-1 minute and then switch sides.

6. Cobbler.  Bring the soles of your feet together.  You can place blocks (or anything you have lying around that is stable) under your knees for support.  Hold for 30 seconds-1 minute minimum.

7. Eye of the Needle.  Lie on your back with bent knees and feet on the floor.  Lift your right foot off the ground and place it just above your left knee on your left thigh.  If you experience stretching/opening in the right hip, stay here.  If you’d like to increase the sensation, lift your left foot off the ground and hug into your chest.  If belly, boobs, or anything else gets in the way here (it definitely does for me–especially with short arms!), experiment with looping a strap under your left thigh.  This can make it easier to hold on and maintain the opening.  Hold for 30 seconds-1 minute and then repeat on the other side.

8. Savasana: While you’re lying down, it’s a great time to get in a Savasana–even if it’s only for a minute!

Chair Hip/Leg Sequence
Note: Please use a chair without wheels for this sequence, or at least a chair with wheels on carpet.  Not toppling over is key to the enjoyment of this practice.

9. Forward bend: Extend your legs in front of you with your heels on the ground.  Slowly lean your torso forward over your thighs (you may need to scoot forward on the chair a bit here).  If you get stuck by your belly, gently take hold of the belly skin and tuck it in toward your abdomen.  Keep leaning (hands can be by your sides or on your shins) forward until you find a comfortable stretch through your hamstrings.  Stay here for 30 seconds-1 minute minimum.

10. Seated Eye of the Needle: Place your left foot just above your right knee.  You will now be sitting cross-legged. Place your left hand on your left knee and your right hand above your left ankle. If you’d like to feel more of a stretch in your outer left hip, you may gently bend your torso forward, toward your left leg.  Stay here for 30 seconds-1 minute and then repeat on the other side.

11. Calf Stretch: Extend your feet in front of you again with your heels on the ground.  You will be in the same position as in #8.  Flex the feet, bringing the toes back toward the shins.  Then point the feet, bringing the toes toward the ground.  Adjust your legs as necessary to feel a pleasant stretch through the calves.  Continue for 30 seconds-1 minute.

12. Ankle rotation: From a comfortable seated position, pick your right foot up off the ground and begin gently rotating your ankle in a clockwise direction.  After doing that 10 times, reverse and go counter-clockwise.  When done, place your right foot back on the ground and then pick up the left to repeat on the other side.

13. Seated Savasana: Close your eyes and relax into your chair for a seated Savasana.  Hold for one minute or as long as you’d like!