Tag Archives: hips

Half-Monkey Pose

August 26, 2016 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Half Monkey pose stretches and strengthens the hamstrings, hips, lower back, and calves. It also tones the leg muscles and increases blood circulation in the hamstrings and hips. FamilyGuide

  1. Begin in downward-facing dog (by making an upside-down “V” with your body, with arms and legs straight). Step your right foot forward, in between your hands, to come into a low lunge.
  2. Keep hands at either side of the foot, lower the left knee to the ground, and place the top of the left foot on the ground (you may keep your toes tucked to help stabilize you).
  3. Create space in the chest by pulling the shoulders back and down, away from the ears.
  4. Pull the belly in towards the spine to activate the core.
  5. Square the hips by shifting the left hip forward while pulling the right hip back.
  6. Shift the hips back, and begin to straighten the right leg until only the heel is pressing into the ground. Keep a micro bend in the knee to protect your kneecap. Flex the right toes.
  7. With a straight spine and open chest, begin to fold over the right leg until you feel a small stretch in your right hamstring.
  8. Pause and breathe deeply for 10 breaths.
  9. As you inhale, keep your hands on the ground, bend into your front leg, and step back to downward facing dog.
  10. Repeat opposite side.

Family Guide

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Wide Angle Seated Forward Bend

November 3, 2015 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

The Wide Angle Seated Forward Bend stretches the hamstrings and inner thighs, tones and strengthens the spine, opens the hips, and stimulates the abdominal muscles, all while relaxing the mind.

  1. Sit upright and separate the legs, creating a “v” shape.
  2. Rotate the legs back so that the knees face towards the sky, and flex your toes to protect the knee caps.
  3. Ground the sit bones to the earth, and lengthen the spine by reaching the crown of the head towards the sky.
  4. Roll the shoulders down the back, and away from the ears. Open through the chest to unround the spine.
  5. Actively press the thigh bones into the ground.
  6. Inhale deeply, and as you exhale, bend forward at the hip joints.
  7. Place hands on the ground in front of you, and reach forward (for a more advanced pose, grab each of the big toes with the peace sign fingers and thumb).
  8. Breathe deeply for 10-20 breaths.
  9. Inhale to come up, and repeat.

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Triangle Pose

October 5, 2015 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

The Triangle pose stretches and strengthens the thighs and ankles, stretches the hamstrings, hips, spine, and chest, relieves backache (especially during pregnancy—I’m photographed here as I entered my third trimester), and helps to keep stress at bay.

  1. Position legs 4 ft. apart. Raise arms parallel to the ground and actively reach hands out, palms face down.
  2. Turn right foot out 45 degrees and align heels together (or heel to arch to help with balance). Firm the thighs and keep right kneecap in line with the center of the right ankle.
  3. Inhale deeply, and as you slowly exhale, extend the torso directly over the right thigh, bending at the hip joint.
  4. Firmly press the outer left heel into the ground and pull the left shoulder back to open through the chest.
  5. Lengthen the tailbone towards the back heel and place your right hand on a block, your ankle, or on the ground outside of the right foot (advanced). Lift left hand up toward the sky and gaze toward fingertips.
  6. Breathe deeply for 5-10 breaths.
  7. Inhale to come up, and repeat opposite side.

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5-Minute Workout: Warrior II Pose

August 16, 2013 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

The Warrior II Pose (or Virabhadrasana II, if you’re already an advanced yogi) has several benefits. It stretches hips, shoulders, and the groin. It opens the chest, improving respiration. It stimulates digestive organs. But most of all, it builds stamina and stability and focuses on balance.

Setup & Starting Position

  1. Stand in Mountain Pose.5mwo1
  2. Step your feet out across the floor (or yoga mat, if you have one).5mwo2
  3. Turn your left foot out 90° so that your left heel is aligned with your right heel.5mwo3
  4. Raise your arms to the sides, keeping your shoulders down and your palms facing the ground, and turn your head to the left.

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Exercise

  1. Exhale and bend your left knee. Your thigh should be parallel to the floor (if possible), your knee should be above your ankle, and your tailbone should be tucked in slightly. Make sure to distribute your weight evenly between both legs.5mw
  2. Inhale and exhale slowly several times.
  3. Inhale and straighten your left leg, returning to Mountain Pose.
  4. Repeat exercise on the opposite side.

Tip: If the exercise seems easy, try sinking deeper into your lunge so that your thigh is parallel to the floor.

Sources: Slim, Calm, Sexy Yoga by Tara Stiles and yogajournal.com