A question I get asked often usually concerns either the low back or the hips. So many people in our culture sit all of the time – at work, in a car, on the couch watching tv, sitting down for dinner… does it ever end? Therefore, we need to find a way to open up the hips in more than one direction.
Keep in mind that when the muscles of our hips and legs are tight, it can actually pull more on the muscles and bones around the low back, which can ultimately cause either low back tightness & tension, or even worse– low back pain.
Here is one of my favorite 4 part exercises that helps to open the hips in 4 ways while also stretching the foot, calf, and hamstrings…. HALLELUJAH!
So, here we go! If you don’t have a yoga strap — no worries. Grab a belt, tie, tall sock, or even a rolled up t-shirt. If you want to add a little emphasis to the stretch – come onto your back with your hips against the wall and your legs up the wall. The added benefit of this: more stretch in the legs, but more importantly… it is SO calming for the nervous system. This is a great one to do after work or even better – before bed! Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below!
- Start by grabbing a strap (or belt, scarf, rolled t-shirt or socks) and begin to lie down – preferably against the wall as pictured – but you don’t need a wall to do this! Make yourself comfortable.
- Begin to bend your right leg and bring your knee into your chest. Loop the strap where the ball and the arch of your foot meet. Walk your hands up the strap so your arms are extended and your shoulders can relax. Stay 5-10 breaths.
- On an exhale, bring the strap into your right hand, and guide your leg out to the right, stretching the inside of your right leg. Stay 5-10 breaths.
- As you exhale, bring your leg back to center, then slightly over the left. Allow your toes to point more toward the left than the heel of your foot. Stay and breathe, 5-10 breaths.
- Come back to center with an exhale. Bend your leg, release the strap, and bring your right foot over the left thigh. Flex your right foot. Either stay here, or bend your left leg and either slide it down the wall to increase your stretch, or bring your hands on either side of the left thigh. Stay 5-10 breaths.
- Come back to center. Pause. Notice. Love it up. Then repeat on the other side.
UPGRADE: Keep your foot flexed and spread your toes wide – yum!!
Let me know what you guys think by leaving a comment below!