When we spend lots of time doing specific things with the body, its important we spend at least a little time doing exactly the opposite. Here are 5 yoga poses that will help both recovery and performance. Hold them for at least 20 seconds, ideally longer.
Front of the thighs
You don't need to go this deep, but as long as you can feel it, perfect. Kneel down on some padding, with knees close and feet just outside your glutes; pop something under your bum if you need some support. Then begin to move your upper body backwards, as your push your knees down, and feel the joy in the front of your thighs.
Avoid: developing a backbend; looks great but actually bypasses a lot of the stretch
Easier Modification: One leg at a time,with other leg out straight
The whole back of the leg
Lie down and straighten one leg up to the sky; if you can keep it straight, grab hold of somewhere on it (via a strap if needed) and draw it towards you. If you cant straighten it, lower it until you can. Imagine the back of the leg is reaching away from you and upper bone in leg is pulling back in its socket.
Avoid: bending the knee or lifting the glute off the floor
Easier Modification: Bend the leg that is on the floor
Seated inner leg and hip opener
Start with one leg out and place the other ankle just above the opposite knee. Sitting tall gradually bend the straight leg, eventually using the arms to draw the knee even closer. If you're getting deep use the elbow to push the inner top leg away from you, for even more opening.
Avoid: slouching in the back
Easier modification: Sit on a block and don't use arms.
Letting the blood flow from the legs
Especially useful after a ‘big one’, find some way to get the legs way above the heart. If you fancy more of relax, pop your sacrum on a block/hard cushion and leg your legs passively hang out in the sky. If you’re feeling more energetic, maybe go headstand or handstand!
Avoid: Letting this be too energetic. Relax!
Easier modification: Do this near a wall and let your legs rest up it.
Half squat, half hamstring stretch
Let the foot point up on your straight leg, let the bent leg foot turn slightly out, then ease into that bent leg as deeps as you can; this might not be far at all! For extra benefit, push your forearm/hand into the bent inner leg and feel some intense opening
Avoid: Letting the heel lift on the bent leg side
Modification: Let you bum rest on something
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