The Perfect Yoga Sequence to Open Up Tight Hamstrings
In order to do Rotated Triangle comfortably, flexible hips and hamstrings, as well as side-to-side mobility in your spine, are musts. This yoga sequence is designed to open those tight areas, which runners, cyclists, skiers, and desk-bound workers will appreciate. Twisting poses like this can also stimulate digestion (which helps keep you regular) and prevent a bloated belly. Once you practice this sequence, the next time you're asked to do this standing pose, you'll squeal in excitement, or maybe you just won't curse the teacher under your Darth Vader ujjayi breath. Move through these nine poses on the right side, and then repeat on the left.
Standing Forward Bend Clasped Elbows
- Stand with your feet hips-width distance apart.
- Take a breath in, and as you exhale, hinge at the hips, folding over your thighs.
- Bend the arms and take hold of opposite elbows.
- Keep your weight pressing forward as you enjoy this stretch for the lower back and hamstrings for five breaths.
Intense Side Stretch
- Inhale to release hold of your elbows, and step the left foot back about three feet.
- Exhale to fold over your right leg, walking the hands behind you.
- It's OK if you can't fold all the way down. Just focus on keeping both legs straight and rest your hands on your shin or hips if you need to.
- Take five deep breaths here.
- Inhale to lift the torso up slightly and step the left foot back a few inches.
- Plant the right hand on the floor to the left of your right foot and extend the left arm into the air. Use a block if you need to.
- Pull the crown of the head away from the hips to lengthen through both sides of the ribs equally.
- Keep the body strong, taking in five complete breaths.
Half Bound Triangle
- Inhale, then exhale to wrap the left hand around your lower back, binding the fingers around the top of your right thigh if you can.
- Keep stretching the hamstrings, lower back, and chest, holding for another five breaths.
Rotated Half Moon
- Release the bind, and inhale to hop the left foot off the floor.
- Exhale to plant the left hand on the ground and lift your right arm into the air, gazing at your lifted fingertips.
- Try to stay balanced, increasing the twist with each exhale, holding here for five deep breaths.
Twisting Reverse Warrior
- Inhale to plant that back foot down, coming into a Warrior 1 position with the front knee over the ankle.
- Exhale to twist to the right, resting the right hand on the hip or sliding in down the back hamstring.
- Raise the left arm high into the air, gazing over the right shoulder for five breaths.
Reverse Warrior Prep
- Inhale to lower the back knee to the floor.
- Exhale to cross the left elbow over the right thigh, bringing the palms into prayer position.
- Actively press against that bottom elbow to lift the heart, gazing over your right shoulder for five deep breaths.
- Keep the hands in prayer position and inhale to raise the back knee off the floor, pressing the foot flat into the mat.
- Enjoy this twist for another five breaths.
- Maintain that twisting position with the torso as you inhale to straighten the front leg. Hop the back foot in a few inches, straightening that as well.
- Exhale to straighten both arms, pressing the left palm firmly into the ground. Use a block if you need to.
- Breathe deeply for five breaths, gazing up at the lifted hand.
- Inhale to plant both hands at the top of the mat and step back into plank position. Take a vinyasa by lowering into Chaturanga, inhaling to Up Dog, and exhaling to Down Dog. Hold here for five breaths before stepping the feet forward to repeat this sequence on the left side.