Stiff hips can put pressure on the knees and lead to knee restrictions, so we will look at a sequence that opens the hips from the beginning and work on bringing length to the hamstrings.
Set up in Supta Baddhakonasana, using a bolster, a belt, and a block under each thigh. This supports the hip opening and is a gentle way to start this practice.
Come up and go forward into Virasana, hands onto the bolster to help lengthen the spine.
Uttanasana with a block high up between the thighs, to create evenness in the hips and to facilitate inner leg lift to support the spine as it lengthens downwards.
Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Dogpose) with the same block placement.
Come up and place the feet about one foot away from the wall, leaning the buttocks back onto the wall for Uttanasana, a standing forward bend. Here the tension is released from the hamstrings and extra lift comes into the hips.
Adho Mukha Svanasana with the heels up the wall, the feet placed on two blocks against the wall. More lift in the hips to find better extension through the spine.
Lie back on the floor with both feet against the wall for Supta Padangusthasana 1 and 2. Use a belt to loop around the ball of the upward leg. This pose will actively bring more opening to the hips and length into the hamstrings
For a more passive opening where the body resists less and therefore gives more space, lie on your back with legs straight up the wall.
Stay 8-10 slow steady breaths and then bring the feet down to Baddha Konasana. After 8 -10 breaths, go to Upavistha Konasana legs. The wall supports the legs which helps take the load off the hamstrings. The back is supported so that it doesn’t round towards the floor. Stay 10 breaths and then bring the knees into the chest before rolling to the side.
Now come up to sitting, with a folded blanket under the buttocks, and bring the legs to Baddha Konasana. Place a folded blanket behind you to rest the hands on to give extra lift to the spine and to help the back ribs to come in towards the front chest. Then hold the feet or use a belt to work into the back body more actively. Notice the opening in the hips, groins, and inner knees when the spine is more lifted.
Spread the legs apart to Upavistha Konasana. Lift up through the spine as you press the back of the legs towards the floor. Then loop a belt around the Right foot to start a slight twisting action over one side. Then change to the Left. Finally walk the hands forward to capacity, without rounding the back. Legs active
Janu Sirsasana, a classical seated and forward bend pose. This pose is a half-twist and a half-forward bend. Bend the Right knee first. Instructions are given to help support the bent knee if tight. Change to the Left.
Sit in Virasana, with a folded blanket under the buttocks. Take more height if the knees are feeling compressed.
Then extend the legs forward into Dandasana, before setting up for Triang Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana. Here one leg is in Virasana and one in Dandasana. Keep height under the buttocks if the knees are tight.
The last forward seated posture is Paschimottanasana, both legs extended straight out in front. Use a belt for the feet, and lift the spine, pressing the thighs to or towards the floor to go a little more forward. Watch that you don’t compromise the pose by rounding the back and collapsing the chest in order to go forward further. Find your own limit.
Finish the seated poses with a simple cross legs twist. First to the Right and then to left.
Then walk the hands forward to explore a forward bend with both legs bent. Easier for the hamstrings and hips. Still, keep the spine long.
Now set up for Setu Bandha, lying back over a lengthways bolster, with a folded blanket over the top and a blanket to support the back of the head. Start with the feet to the wall and then take the feet down onto the floor, bringing the legs wider to fit to either side of the bolster. Notice the further opening created in the groins and the space that comes to the lower abdomen.
Bend the legs to simple cross leg, and then slide the buttocks down to the floor and change the cross leg.
Remain here for 3-5 minutes Savasana, feeling the effect of the session you have just finished as the breath becomes quiet and steady.