Today’s stretching area of focus is the
hamstrings. We will do a pose called reclining hand to big toe pose. Grab a
yoga strap or belt from your closet and let’s get started.
Lie down on your back with your knees bent and the soles of your feet on the
floor. Grab your strap, hug your right knee into your chest
and place a strap or belt just below the ball of your right foot. With an exhale,
press your right foot toward the sky until your leg is straight. Place one
side of the strap in each hand for stability. Straighten the opposite leg.
Press your shoulders into the ground. Have your lifted leg straight, even if
it’s not completely vertical. If you would like to go deeper, grab the outside
of your right foot with your right hand. Only do so if you can maintain steady
breathing and keep your shoulders pressing into the ground. Regardless of
the variation, micro bend your need to prevent from hyperextending. We will stay
here for two minutes and no worries I already started the timer. To focus on
our flexibility, we will incorporate three principles. Number one, relax your
body. Muscles stretch best when relaxed. Number two, use 4:8 breathing.
Inhale to the count of four through your nose and then exhale to the count of
eight through your nose. Slow breathing stimulates the parasympathetic nervous
system which allows your body to welcome the stretch instead of the natural
reflex to resist the stretch. And, principle number three, meet or beat your
hold time. Time under passive tension is needed for transformation.
I will provide you with the recommended hold time for each pose. Practice that
amount of time or if another amount of time that’s less than that feels right for
you practice that and document it. The next time you practice, practice that
same amount of time that you did before or longer as you move toward the
recommended hold time. Documenting your time will keep you intentional on your
flexibility journey. We are at 2 minutes. Inhale, hug your right knee into your
chest. Release the strap. Switch sides. Hug your
left knee into your chest. Place the strap around your foot. Exhale,
straighten your leg as you press your foot toward the sky.
Straighten the opposite leg. Spread your toes as you press your left heel toward
the sky. Focus on straightening the top leg even if it’s not completely vertical.
This will aid in lengthening the back of the leg. Gently press your shoulders into
the ground. Scan your body from head to toe and see if you can soften any more
tension. Use 4:8 breathing. Let’s breathe a couple rounds together. Inhale through
your nose 1 2 3 4. Exhale through your nose 8 7 6 5
4 3 2 1. Again, inhale through your nose 1 2 3 4. Exhale through your nose 8 7 6 5
4 3 2 1. Keep using this breathing ratio with the rhythm that feels right for you.
Why this pose to stretch our hamstrings? This pose is useful because it stretches
our hips, thighs, hamstrings, and groin area, calves and it strengthens the knees. This
pose can also be useful because it’s accessible to many people that do not
practice yoga or stretch. If you happen to spend hours during the day sitting,
this can be a great go-to pose. Keep breathing smoothly and deeply using
that 4:8 ratio. We’re almost there. With your next inhale, hug your left knee
into your chest. Release the strap. We’re finished. Roll over to your right side
and slowly use your hands to press yourself up to seated. I look forward to
seeing you in the next video!