I have been teaching yoga for 17 years, and one of the most frequent complaints I hear from students and yogaphobes alike is that they don’t have enough time for practice, so they avoid it altogether.
Avoiding a regular practice of stretching will never get you the healing benefits that come with the work. Even if you only do one pose a day, you will make a huge difference in your body, brain and well-being.
So I am here to entice you to try ONE pose — just this one. You don’t need to memorize a sequence. You won’t even need a lot of space or props. This pose can be done every single day, and it will decompress your back and lengthen your hamstrings, IT band and calves. It also strengthens your abdominals and back while stretching the chest, and for an added bonus, massages your internal organs!
This too-good-to-be-true pose is my absolute favorite pose, and I have yet to meet a student in my Yoga Tune Up® classes, privates or workshops who doesn’t exclaim a deep primal “Ohhggmmmnnuugghaaah!” when they do this pose correctly.
Ladies and gentlemen, behold the wondrous powers of Leg Stretch #3.
How to do this all-in-one yoga pose
To get the maximum benefit out of this pose, attempt to follow the directions precisely. The better your alignment, the better the results! Position yourself on your back, in a corner by two walls. You will need to have a yoga brick (which can be substituted with a book or even a water bottle).
- Lay on your right side facing wall No. 1 with your outstretched right arm plus the brick touching wall No. 1. Both feet are planted on wall No. 2.
- Cross the left leg to firmly anchor into wall No. 1, and press right arm and brick into wall No. 1 as well.
- The sole of the right foot still presses against wall No. 2.
- The left arm and torso rotate away from wall No. 1 to induce a deep spinal twist.
- Increase the stretch in the outer left buttocks, hamstrings and IT band by shifting the left sit bone and buttock toward wall No. 2.
- Increase the stretch through the upper back and chest by firmly pressing your right arm into the brick, and feel the stretch thread through the collar bones as you increase your twist.
- Occasionally emphasize the twist by compressing the abdominals.
- Be patient and breathe deeply into the abdomen and lower back.
- Do not tense the jaw or eyes. Do not be aggressive or put your leg into intolerable pain. Move progressively and with awareness.
- After 90 seconds to two minutes, switch sides
Historically, being “put in a corner” means “time out.” After practicing this pose once or twice, you will be running to a corner to make your own “time out.”
Empower yourself. Practice your new all-in-one-pose yoga practice and feel the instant transformation.
For another variation of this pose on video, click here.
Photo: Karen Kirkland Photography