On Sunday morning, I finally have time to indulge in a sweet, slow stretch. I use what I can to go deeper, feel more, and take pause in my practice.
Reclined Bound Angle
Start by lying on your back, with your feet together and your knees apart. Take a deep breath in, hold it, and then exhale fully through the mouth. Take two to five more breaths just like this.
Knees into Chest
Slowly pull your knees into your chest, and wrap your arms around your legs. Give yourself a little squeeze.
Open your arms out by your sides in a “T” shape. Keep your knees together and allow both knees to fall over to the right. Keep both shoulders flat on the ground, and bring your gaze over your left shoulder for a supine twist. Repeat on the left side.
Straight Leg Twist
Bring both knees back to center, and this time keep just your right knee into your chest. Straighten your left leg out onto the ground. Open your right arm out to your side, with the palm facing up. Use your left arm to pull the right knee over to the left, taking your twist a little deeper. Relax into this pose, breathing in and out through the nose. Repeat to the other side.
Come back to center, and cross your right leg over your left, hooking your right toes behind your left calf, if accessible. Take the left arm over the right. If your shoulders are tight, than grab hold of your shoulder blades. If you can take this a little deeper, wrap your forearms all the way up. You should be in Eagle Pose on your back. Take an inhale to prepare, and on an exhale, lift your elbows up to your knees. Repeat five times, and then switch sides and repeat.
Find a strap or towel. Loop the strap over your right foot. Your left foot can be places flat on your mat, or you can extend the leg straight. Extend your right leg straight up into the air, with one hand on each side of the strap. Take five breaths here. If you would like you can take the leg out to either side, to continue stretching the hamstrings. After you finish the right side, switch and place your left foot in the strap and repeat.
Release your foot from the strap and pull both knees into your chest, tightly. Let go, and place both feet flat on the ground, under the knees, about hips distance apart. Press into the feet to lift your hips off of the ground. Slide your shoulders together, and interlace your fingers under your back. Lift your hips up until they are in line with your knees, and breathe up into your chest. Slowly release your hands and roll your hips back to the ground.
Find a comfortable seated position. Feel free to elevate your hips by placing a block, pillow, or blanket under your seat.
Roll your head to the right shoulder, and place your right arm over the left ear, draping it over the head. Without pulling, let the arm get heavy, and breathe into the left side of the neck. Take three breaths here, with the eyes closed. Make sure that your shoulders are relaxed. Switch, and repeat on the left side.
On an inhale circle your arms overhead, and as you exhale, join your palms together in front of your heart.
Roll over your knees, coming to a table top position. Move through a few rounds of Cat-Cow stretches. On an inhale, drop your belly and lift your gaze, stretching the throat and the eyes. As you breathe out, round your spine, like a hissing cat, pulling your belly away from the floor. Sync up your movements with your breathe, as you move any stickiness through the spine.
Tuck your toes under, and lift your knees off of the ground. Reach your hips up and back until you come into Downward Dog. Look at your hands. Make sure your fingers are spread wide, and your inner hand is rooting into the ground. Relax your neck. Bend one knee, and then the other. Find stillness.
As you inhale, shift your shoulders forward over your wrists coming into plank pose. Press back to down dog as you exhale. Repeat two to four more times.
Walk your hands to your feet and land in a forward fold, with your head, neck, and arms relaxed.
As you inhale, bring your fingertips to your shins, and lengthen your spine away from your hips. Exhale to fold. On an inhale rise up to standing, and walk forward to the front of your mat.
Bring your feet all the way together, and bend your knees sitting into Chair Pose. Hold for a breath in, and exhale fold. Step your feet back to plank pose, and lower down to your belly.
Take your hands off of your mat, and prop up onto your finger tips. As you inhale, lift your chest, and as you exhale, lower the right shoulder and look over the left shoulder. Inhale to center, and exhale to switch. Be sure to maintain weight in the fingertips on both sides, so as to engage a barrier that will prevent you from going too deep.
After you release back to center, place your hands underneath your shoulders, and press your hips over your heels for Child’s Pose. Knees can be together for a low back stretch, or apart, allowing your torso to sink between the thighs. Stay here for as long as you’d like, and when you’re ready, make your way onto your back for your final resting pose.