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Lengthen your hamstrings and warm up for twisting in these prep poses for Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana.
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Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose
Safely stretches the hamstrings and tones the legs when the quadriceps are contracted
Lie on your back. Inhaling, lift your right leg and hold your right big toe with your right index and middle fingers, keeping both shoulder blades on the ground. If you can’t reach your lifted foot, use a strap around the bottom of your arch and hold both ends in your right hand. Press down on your left thigh with your left hand. Contract the quadriceps of both legs fully. Move the outer right hip away from your head, lengthening your right waist. Press both heels away from your hips, pulling your toes back. Inhaling, bring your awareness into your right hamstring muscles, feeling them release and stretch. Exhaling, imagine the center of your right hamstring muscles moving toward the sitting bone, where it starts. Exhale to release and switch sides.
Ardha Baddha Padmasana
Bound Half Lotus Pose
Releases the muscles between the vertebrae, making the spine supple and relieving backaches, and opens the chest and shoulders
Sit in Dandasana. Exhaling, bring your left leg into Ardha Padmasana, or Half Lotus Pose. Inhaling, lift the sides of your waist and the bottom of your belly. Exhaling, sweep your left hand behind you to catch your left foot. Reach for your right leg and hold the big-toe mound with your right hand, using a strap if needed. Contract your right quadriceps and pull back with your upper body to sit up as much as possible. Inhaling, lift the sides of the waist; exhaling, twist to the left. Inhale to come out, then switch sides.
See alsoTake a Seat in Lotus Pose
Parsva Upavistha Konasana
Side Seated Wide Angle Pose
Stretches the sides of the body and the hamstrings
Sit with your spine erect and your legs at a 135-degree angle in front of you. Flex your feet and engage your quadriceps. Twist to the left, placing your right fingertips on the floor in front of you and your left fingertips behind you. Keeping your spine long, reach for your left foot with your right hand. Bring your torso toward your left shin, bellybutton centered over your left thigh. Then hold your left foot with your left hand, or use a strap. Lift your chest to stretch your abdomen, eventually resting your forehead on your left shin. Exhale and release your hands; inhale to come up. Switch sides.
See alsoA New Twist on Twists