Basic Yoga Sequence
The following sequence is part 2 of a basic yoga sequence of stretches is for general flexibility.
This second part focuses on inner and outer thigh flexibility.
Sit with your knees bent and feet together.
(Bound angle variation or Baddha Konasana)
If you have your feet close to your pelvis then the stretch is felt more in the inner thighs. If you have your feet further forwards then this stretch works on the outer thighs.
Using the "wide" or "foot forwards" position bend forwards and while bent forwards, press down with your feet so that your buttocks activate. You may also feel muscles activate along the outside of your thighs and even the outside edge of your shins.
Have your feet far enough forwards so that when you bend forwards you feel like you can place your face against your feet.
Previously, in part 1 you did an upright version of this pose.
(Intense Pigeon Hip Stretch)
With one leg forwards and the other leg back, rest on the front-leg hip and position the front shin parallel to the front of your mat. Reach your other leg back and point the back knee downwards as much as possible. Bend forwards.
Press your front knee down into the floor. You should be able to feel the butt muscle of your front leg activating as you do so. Keep the front knee pressing down and, using your arm to help, push your torso towards your front foot as if trying to sniff your foot.With the front leg hip on the floor, press the knee down and gradually reach your ribcage towards your front foot.
To deepen the stretch further try reaching your same-side shoulder towards the foot.
This next position stretches the outer hip of both hips at the same time.
(Double pigeon). There are several variations which can increase the stretch in difference ways.
Sitting upright place bend both knees and place on foot on top of the opposite knee. Position the bottom foot so that it is under the opposite knee.
Press the bottom foot down into the floor. Notice the buttock of that leg activating. Then, keeping the bottom leg active, press the top foot down into the bottom knee.
For an additional shoulder stretch, interlace the fingers and press the palms upwards. Reach your ribs and shoulders upwards and press the elbows straight.
To intensify the stretch (this is optional!) place the hands on the floor and slowly bend forwards.
To add weight to the stretch lift the arms and reach them forwards. (This is more comfortable if you do it slowly.)
After a few breaths with the hands lifted, put your hands back on the floor. Next try bending your torso towards the foot of your top leg. them on the floor and let your chest sink down.
To deepen hip flexibility (particularly the outer hip and thigh) you can bend your torso to the side in the direction of your top foot your top foot.
(Or go the other way, towards your top knee.)
Then next poses in the sequence works on the inner thighs.
Repeating bound angle, this time bring the feet close to the pelvis. Sitting upright to begin with work at spreading the inner edges of your feet. In addition, work at pressing the feet into the floor.
It may help to think of the shins rotating outwards a slight amount.
When you are ready bend forwards maintaing the same foot actions.
You can lift your hands and reach your arms forwards to add weight to the stretch.
You could also grab onto the feet with both hands. If doing so, continue to press the feet down while pulling upwards with the arms so that the arms and legs feel like they are working against each other to help pull your chest towards your feet.
Seated wide leg forward bend can improve both strength and flexibility of the hamstrings. It also works on the inner thighs.
Bending forwards with feet wide, knees straight and hands on the floor, initially focus on letting your chest sink downwards. Try to relax your legs. Then press down strongly with the legs, open your chest and reach your arms forwards. This position strengthens the hamstrings.
Rest the arms on the floor and then repeat. You may find that you gradually get lower each time you lift your arms.
The half split is one of my favorite stretches for improving inner thigh stability.
It's just like side to side splits except one knee is bent.
Starting with arms straight move the straight leg foot away from the bent knee. As you so do move your hands in the same direction so that your torso stays at 90 degrees to your legs.
Viewing this pose from the side, try to keep your pelvis in line (vertically) with the knees.
As you get lower you can bend the elbows and rest your forearms on the floor .
Or you can bend the elbows as if doing a push up. If you are low enough you can rest your chest on the floor.
If you can get your chest to the floor then rest while exhaling and then use your arms to lift your chest while inhaling. The chest lifted position adds weight to the stretch.