When we spend lots of time doing specific things with the body, it’s important to spend time doing the exact opposite. For those hitting the daily commute by the power of their own legs, it’s time to embrace the stillness. These five yoga poses are highly recommended for both recovery and performance.
Avoid: Developing a backbend – it might look great, but it actually bypasses a lot of the stretch
Hold them for at least 20 seconds, if you can!
Front of the Thighs
You don't need to go too deep into this, but just until you can feel it. Kneel down on some padding with knees close and feet just outside your glutes. Pop something under your bum if you need some support. Then begin to move your upper body backwards, as your push your knees down, and feel the joy in the front of your thighs.
Easier Modification: One leg at a time with the other out straight
The Whole Back of the Leg
Lie down and straighten one leg up to the sky. If you can keep it straight, grab hold of somewhere on it (via a strap if needed) and draw it towards you. If you can’t straighten it, begin to lower it until you can. Imagine the back of the leg is reaching away from you and the upper bone in leg is pulling back into its socket.
Avoid: Bending the knee or lifting the glute off the floor
Easier Modification: Bend the leg that is on the floor
Seated Inner Leg and Hip Opener
Start with one leg out and place the other ankle just above the opposite knee. Sitting tall, gradually bend the straight leg, eventually using the arms to draw the knee even closer. If you're getting deep, use the elbow to push the inner top leg away from you for even more opening.
Avoid: Slouching in the back
Easier Modification: Sit on a block and don't use arms
Letting the Blood Flow from the Legs
Especially useful after a ‘big one' - find some way to get the legs way above the heart. If you fancy more of a relax, pop your sacrum on a block/hard cushion and leg your legs passively hang out in the sky. If you’re feeling more energetic, maybe go into a headstand or handstand!
Avoid: Letting this be too energetic. Relax!
Easier Modification: Do this near a wall and let your legs rest up against it
Half Squat, Half Hamstring Stretch
Let the foot point up on your straight leg and let the bent leg foot turn slightly out. Then ease into that bent leg as deep as you can. For extra benefit, push your forearm/hand into the bent inner leg and feel some intense opening.
Avoid: Letting the heel lift on the bent leg side
Modification: Let your bum rest on something