Since 2015 is the year of Starting As You Mean to Continue (it is, right?) we are all intending to move more this year. AREN'T we? Cycling to work and whatnot?
To help us all out in our virtuous aims, here is a quick sequence to stretch out all those bits that get tight from riding, and strengthen the bits that don't get worked, so your body stays in balance.
Clockwise from top left:
- Start with your feet wide, left food parallel to the long side of your mat and right foot turned slightly in. Line them up like this, especially if you have tight cyclist hips! Bend your front knee and raise your arms shoulder height to come in to Warrior 2. Stay for 6 breaths and breathe easy.
- Exhale to reach sideways, bringing your left elbow to your left knee for Side Angle Pose. Try not to pop your chest forward or overarch your low back to make this happen. If it does, lift higher in the side bend. You can even rest your hand on your thigh, rather than your elbow. Stay 6 breaths.
- You might need to pop a block under your left hand for this one, or lean on a chair. It's also totally OK to BEND your left leg a LOT! Shift all your weight on to your left leg, and as you exhale, see if you can raise the right leg off the ground. Stay up to 6 breaths.
- Exhale to bring your right leg to the ground again and stretch into triangle pose. Again, be mindful that you might need your left hand resting on your shin or thigh, and you might also need to bend that leg. 6 breaths here too, then stand up, swap your feet to the other side and do the whole thing on the right leg.
- To finish off, sit cross-legged and lean gently forward, breathing easy, and stretching out those hips. If your ankles or knees complain, prop your butt up on a block or cushion, and if that doesn't help, leave this one out till you can have a chat with your teacher about it. Do both sides.
- Lie on your back and lift into bridge pose, stay up there for 6 breaths and be sure you are using your buttocks muscles to keep you up + not straining your low back.
Done! Now have a nice long savasana, if you've got time.
PS: Sore back yoga.