This session will give you a few different ways to work into the hips and shoulders. These areas are often tight and restricted and we benefit from creating space and freedom in those important parts of the body.
Set up for Supta Baddha Konasana (Cobblers Pose) using a folded towel under the joined feet to create more opening in the inner legs and groins. Gravity helps to release the knees down further, which in turn gives more space to the lower pelvic region.
Come up and move into forward Virasana, placing your folded towel under the buttocks if the hips are tight and up away from the heels.
Then place your hands to the wall for Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Dog Pose) to start to open the shoulders with a good extension from hands through to the sides of the waist.
Bend the knees and come down and turn around for Headstand preparation, hands interlocked, feet to the wall, head off the floor. Raise the shoulders up.
Come to standing and with the feet hip width apart in Tadasana, interlock the fingers and raise the arms up, elbows straight. Change the interlock. Then cross the arms at the elbows, at shouder height, Garudasana arms. The last variation here is to join the hands behind the back in prayer position (Namaskar) to get a good spreading across the front chest and another opening to the shoulder joints.
Prepare for Gomukhasana arms: Take one arm behind you, with fingers pointing up along the spine. Then release, and take the opposite arm upwards, bend the elbow and, using the other hand as support, raise the elbow a little higher, fingers going down along the back. Change.
Now we will move more into hip opening poses. Stand near the wall for Vrksasana, Tree Pose. Press the foot into the inner thigh and the inner thigh to the foot to open the groin and inner leg more to the side. Then raise the arms up. Change sides.
Take a chair and place it about one leg length away from the wall, with a folded towel or blanket on top of the chair back. With your back to the wall, place first the Right heel up onto the chair back, both legs straight. Then raise the arms up to the ceiling to get a lift into the side chest. Change.
To the side: stand with the Left side of the trunk near the wall and raise the Right leg up to place the heel onto the chair back, lateral opening into the Right hip. Turn the Right side of the chest forward and the Left shoulder back so that the two sides of the trunk are facing forward. Change.
Trikonasana to the chair comes next. Place the Left foot to the wall and Right leg turned. Place the foot under the chair so that now as you extend out to the Right side you can place your Right hand onto the back of the chair to lengthen the side waist more. Change.
Ardha Chandrasana, with the Left foot up at hip height and the Right hand to the chair. Turn the chest to face to the front. Change.
Parsvottanasana – Feet one leg length apart, turn the trunk to face the chair. Extend forward and take the hands on the back rest of the chair to extend the front of the body. Keep both legs straight and the hips in line with each other. Change.
Prasarita Padottanasana, away from the wall, with the legs wide apart and the hands to the floor or to your shins. Lengthen the front of the body and lift the sternum up. Legs straight, widening the buttock bones away from each other.
Come to sitting: Virasana (Hero Pose sitting on a folded towel or blanket, and then interlock the fingers and raise the arms up. Change the interlock.
Extend the legs out and then cross the knees for Gomukhasana preparation. Cross the elbows into Garudasana arms, as we did when standing.
Now place your folded towel up against the wall and sit with your back to the wall in Baddha Konasana. Place the buttock bones right up close to the wall. Roll the shoulders back and keep the head back to the wall. Watch how the spine elongates and the front of the body opens while sitting upright.
Then extend the legs out to the side in Upavistha Konasana, back to the wall.
You can observe how those same leg variations feel with the wall supporting the legs and the floor supporting the back of the body: Legs up 90 degrees, Upavistha Konasana and Baddha Konasana. Bend the knees into the chest for a few breaths. Roll to the side and come up.
Bend forward into Child’s Pose and feel how this brings you inwards, to neutral. This is quietening, in a slightly enclosed way.
Now turn over and lie on your back in Savasana (Corpse Pose) and see how the same quietness can be achieved, but with the chest now open there may be a feeling of lightness and stillness as well.
Learn to compare the different approaches and what each position brings.