Open the hamstrings on your back in reclining big toe pose. Have a strap handy if the hamstrings are tight. Reclining poses are beneficial because we can hold them longer, and we're taking gravity out of the mix so we can more easily control the depth of the stretch.
Ready to work it?
Here are some classes featuring Reclining Big Toe Pose.
Most students LOVE Reclining Big Toe pose in all its variations. Using 2 straps for support can double your pleasure... but setting up two straps doesn't tend to double your fun. The reward is that you can relax and be in the poses for much longer with greater ease. Two straps stabilize the pelvis and low back and release grippy groins. It also shifts the sensations, as you get into those hard-to-reach places that your body tends to avoid releasing. This tutorial gives you a slightly less complicated version - don't tell the Iyengars?! - to KISS so you spend less time thinking about it and more time experiencing it. As with anything, take as many details as you need and come back for more as you learn to love the support that two straps gives you.
What if your mat were your only prop? Or you didn't have a mat but you had a blanket? Adapting to what is means being curious and playful and coming up with new ways of being and doing. Not so easy if you are feeling stressed! But doing anything in a novel way can give us a sense of curiosity and empowerment. It takes us from focusing on what we don't have to exploring what is possible with what we do have. It turns out that using a mat as a prop gives you new options for familiar poses... and invites you to make it up as you go along... because, really, that's what we are always doing anyway :)
Sometimes we all feel a little stuck - at home, on the road or in a rut. I find doing something familiar in a new way gets me motivated and moving. Familiar is soothing. New is inspiring. This session guides you through familiar poses, like bridge, with some different variations and props to keep it interesting... and to keep you moving! Use a couple of pillows and a towel to get cozy and relaxed at the end of this simple strengthening session.
Grab a strap (a towel or tie could work!) and explore going deep into the hamstrings through this well rounded slow flow. We also incorporate standing balancing poses to challenge the core and lots of breathwork.
Here's a practice for when you're on the road and away from your props! You can still get a restful session even if you've left your bolsters at home :) This practice is all about allowing yourself to be as you are. Breathe in Peace, then send peace back out into the world. This is a great session anytime you want to calm your nervous system, it's a beautiful before-bed practice, and it's an opportunity to slow down, meditate and open.
Who doesn't want to slow down time? "The Clock" is a fluid floor practice that opens the whole body, especially the spine and shoulders. If you are tight in your shoulders or spine, this session slows down and supports the movement with props so that you can dial in the right amount of stability and mobility to feel fluid and free. It's a great practice when you want to take it slow or as a warmup for backbends. Over time, your spine will feel more supple and your core will feel more stable. Then check out the "Clock Your Abs" session for a more vigorous version. The more time you take to move, the more you slow down time!
Shoulder stand is a great pose to invoke deep relaxation - IF you have the flexibility to get into it AND the strength to sustain it for (at least) several minutes. When you do it using the support of a chair, you can stay longer with more ease. It's especially great for tight shoulders and tender necks because your body weight shifts out of the neck/shoulders and into the support of the chair. If this is new, make sure you preview getting in and getting out of the shoulder stand so you know how to move safely to take care of your neck! Over time, this practice will strengthen and open your shoulder girdle and give your more internal support for all inversions.
When you're not in the mood to do anything and you know moving will (almost always) make you feel better, get some props and roll around on your mat - or your bed?! This hip-opening session has your hips on a blanket for extra traction in your lower back. Rocking around on the blanket is a super sweet way to massage your lower back. Enjoy opening your whole body with minimal effort and maximum support! Make sure you have blocks/bolster/support to place your feet on to avoid over-stretching the front body and compressing the back body so you truly feel equanimous - open and at ease.