‘Tis the season to… travel! In the past three weeks, I have been in five different states (Minnesota, Florida, New York, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania.) My semi-nomadic ways have taken a little toll on my neck, feet, low back, hip flexors, and outer hips. Hence, this short travel sequence was born!
Bring your knees together to touch. Sit on a block, and hug the block with your ankles. Let your palms rest on your thighs.
Sit for 20 breaths with your eyes closed.
Curl your toes under, and sit back on your heels. Feel free to rest your knees on a block or a pillow. Lean forward for more sensation in the balls of your feet, and lean back to lessen the sensation.
Hold for 8-10 slow breaths
Downward facing dog- with forehead on a block:
Take your hands and feet to the outside edges of your mat. Lower your forehead onto a block (likely on the high height or middle height). As you press your thighs back to the wall behind you, resist your forearms up and away from the floor. (This takes stress off of the shoulders. They are the most mobile joint in the body, and thus the least stable.)
Hold for at least 10 breaths.
Twisting Low Lunge:
Step your right foot forward in between your hands. Lower your left knee to the floor, place your left hand on a block (to the inside of your right foot), draw your navel in towards your spine, and reach the right arm up to the ceiling.
Hold for 5-10 breaths. Lather, rinse, and repeat on the left side.
King Arthur’s Pose:
Bring your knees up against the baseboards of the wall, and place both shins flush up against the wall. Step your right foot forward into a lunge. Make sure that your knee is aligned directly over your ankle. Bring your hands to the inside of your right foot. Sink your pelvis to the floor as you extend your chest forward. To exit the pose, press the back foot into the baseboard of the wall, and come into a forward fold. Repeat on the left side.
Hold for 10-15 very deep breaths. If you happen to have any knee injuries or sensitivity, you can fold your mat in half (and place a towel under your knee) to give yourself extra cushioning. If this is too much, stick with a standard low lunge. Bring both hands to the inside of the foot and hold here.
Place your block on the medium height underneath of your sacrum. Plant your feet hip-width distance apart. Roll the inner thighs down to the floor. Rest your hands next to your sides. Flip your palms to face up to the ceiling.
Hold for one minute.
Hot Metal Stretch:
Now, this bad boy does not have a name to my knowledge. So, I had to come up with something “bridgey” and Pittsburgh appropriate…
Start in bridge pose. Grab ahold of your right foot, and tuck the top of the foot down underneath of you. Draw your right knee in towards the midline, and down towards the floor. This will look like a King Arthur’s pose on your back. Draw your frontal hip points up towards your ribs.
Hold for 20-30 breaths.
Repeat on the left side.
Reclining half pigeon (against a wall):
Plant both feet flat on the wall. Cross your right ankle over top of your left thigh. Keep your left foot planted on the wall. If your hips are feeling tight move farther away from the wall, if you would like to dabble with more sensation move your hips closer to the wall. If your hips are lifting up off of the ground, move your pelvis away from the wall. Energetically, steer the knee of your bent leg towards the wall.
Hold for one minute on each side.
Viparita Karani (Legs up the Wall):
Scoot your hips even closer to the baseboard of the wall. Send your legs up the wall. I love to place a hip-sized loop in my strap over top of my ankles. Then, I let my legs fall out into the strap. If you try this variation, make sure the belt buckle isn’t touching your legs.
When your legs start to feel tingly, plant your feet flat on the wall, scrub your heels down the wall and roll over to rest on your side.
Give yourself plenty of time to soak in your practice. Treat yo-self!