Relax and Unwind: A Gentle Yoga Routine for Deep Hip Opening
To start, make your way to Child's Pose. Bring your big toes together behind you, take your knees wide, and soften your body forward. Extend your arms out long and rest your forehead on the mat. Take a moment to relax the muscles in your face, jaw, and eyes. Breathe deeply, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. Repeat this breath a few times to help you relax and let go of any tension.
When you're ready, rise up into a tabletop position on your hands and knees. Lower your belly down to lift your chin and take a big breath in. Exhale to round your spine and tuck your chin, stretching out the muscles along your back. Inhale to arch your back and lift your chin, coming into Cow Pose. Exhale to round your spine and tuck your chin, coming into Cat Pose. Repeat these movements a few times to warm up your spine and release any tension.
From tabletop position, send your hips up and back to come into Downward-Facing Dog. Bend one knee and then the other to stretch out your calves and hamstrings. Press your chest towards your thighs to create a nice long spine. Take a moment to breathe deeply, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. Repeat this breath a few times to help you relax and find stability in this pose.
Step your right foot outside of your right hand at the top of your mat for a Runner's Lunge. Lower your back knee down to the mat and sink into your hips. Allow your breath to flow naturally, inhaling and exhaling through your nose. Feel free to add any movement or variation that allows you to get the deepest stretch today. Take your time and listen to your body. Breathe deeply and relax into the pose, allowing any tension to release.
If you want to add on, you can reach back with your right hand to grab onto your left foot for a Quad Opener. Even if you don't make contact, just by reaching, you are lengthening through your quad. Sink into your hips, relax the muscles in your face, and take a few more deep breaths. Release gently when you're ready and switch sides.
Let's move deeper into our hips with Half Pigeon. Bring your right knee to your right wrist and open it up past your right wrist towards the right side of your mat. Lay your shin flat on the mat and square your hips. Take your time as you stay here or eventually lower down onto your forearms or rest your forehead on the mat. Find a deep, smooth breath in and out through your nose, sending the breath into your hips to create space. Release any unnecessary tension and soften your whole body with each exhale. Stay in this pose for a few more deep breaths, allowing yourself to relax and let go.
Happy Baby Pose
From Half Pigeon, make your way back to Downward-Facing Dog and then step your feet through your hands to take a seat on your mat. Extend your legs out long in front of you and flex your toes back towards your face. Reach your arms up to the ceiling and take a big inhale. Exhale to hinge from your hips and fold over your legs. Grab onto your shins, ankles, or feet and take a big inhale to lengthen your heart towards your toes. Exhale to fold a little bit deeper. Repeat this movement a few times to stretch your hamstrings and release any tension in your legs.
Release from the forward fold and either lower down to your back one vertebra at a time or just lower down to your elbows and then all the way down. Make your way to Happy Baby Pose by grabbing onto the inner arches of your feet and flattening out your lower back. Relax your shoulders down and add a little bit of movement by rocking side to side. Release your feet and pull your knees together above your hips. Take a big inhale and exhale to lower both knees down to the left. Breathe deeply into your right side body, creating space and relaxing through your hips. Draw your chin back to center and use your core to bring your knees back to center. Switch sides and lower both knees down to the right. Breathe deeply into your left side body, releasing tension and finding a deep sense of relaxation.
Draw your chin back to center and bring your knees back to center. Hold your knees to your chest for one big inhale and exhale. Release into your final Shavasana by taking up space on your mat and completely relaxing your body. Trust that the ground beneath you is supporting the weight of your body. Let go of any remaining tension and allow yourself to fully relax. Stay in this pose for as long as you like, observing and appreciating all the sensations in your body.
When you're ready to come out of Shavasana, bring some movement back to your feet and fingers. Reach your arms overhead and take a long body stretch. Inhale and exhale to curl up on one side into a fetal position. Use your hands to press yourself up to a seated position and bring your hands together at heart center. Take a moment to unite your breath, inhaling deeply through your nose and exhaling fully.