In cross leg poses you can twist, side bend and forward bend while sitting with legs crossed. You can also "lift yourself up."
If you have difficulty sitting upright with crossed legs, then an option is to sit with one shin folded to the outside of the thigh in a semi-kneeling posture. This is also a good option if you have difficulty bending forwards with legs crossed.
While sitting cross legged you can practice backward bending and forward bending the spine. Start by lifting and lowering your tailbone so that your lumbar spine alternately bends backwards and forwards, then carry the bending actions up into the thoracic spine. This is a great way to build pelvic awareness.
While sitting with legs crossed you can twist your spine with the help of your arms. Or you can put your hands together in prayer in which case you have to use the muscles of the waist and ribcage (the obliques and intercostals) to drive the twist.
You could also stretch the shoulders.
You can stretch the shoulders while sitting cross legged by clasping the hands and reaching the arms rearwards behind the back. You could also touch them together in prayer behind your back.
You could also stretch the shoulders with the arms in front of the body using the eagle pose shoulder stretch. Another option is the cow face arm position.
To stretch the back of your hips you can bend forwards while sitting cross legged.
While bent forwards try increasing the forward tilt of you pelvis. Push your pubic bone down and back. Pull your tailbone forwards and up. So that your hip muscles are active, try pressing your feet downwards into the floor.
Try to make your arms feel long. Reach your shoulders forwards and make your palms feel open. To add a slight twist lift one arm while pressing down with the other hand (not shown.)
To add a side bend for your spine, reach your arms to the side while bending your upper body sideways. Bending to the left try to expand the right side of your waist and ribcage. You could work on reaching your right-side-ribs away from your pelvis while pulling your left-side-ribs towards your pelvis.
Another option for the cross legged seated yoga pose is to bend forwards and reach an arm across the chest to the opposite side. Then sink the shoulder and ribcage on the side of the arm you are stretching.
Reach the other hand forwards.
From the shoulder stretching position you can bend the elbow and use the shoulder to press it into the floor so that the ribcage lifts.
Then put the hands together in prayer and use both shoulders to drive the twist.
A very simple cross leg stretch is to reach your spine and arms upwards. Work at lifting your ribs up away from your pelvis. Draw you head away from your ribcage. Reach your shoulders up and at the same time make your arms and fingers all feel long.
So that you get a better feel for the action you can relax arms and spine while exhaling then continually lengthen upwards while inhaling.
Learn how to use Friction to improve leg and arm strength.
Simple exercises with easy to follow instructions
Making difficult poses like Chaturanga Dandasana easier to learn.
Learn Your Body with
Frictional Arm and Leg Strength
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Your iphone needs power in order to sense your touch. Proprioception needs muscle activity in order to sense your body.
Some simple exercises so that you can work towards the pistol squat gradually.
Arm supported yoga poses can be used to strengthen the arms and shoulders. Includes plank, chaturanga dandasana, downward dog, dolphin pose, side plank, wheel, reverse plank, table top pose.
This sequence of seated yoga poses includes lotus and virasana variations, janu sirsasana and marichyasana variations as well as more basic seated poses like bound angle, pigeon and seated forward bend.
These hip flexor stretches open up the fronts of the hips and can be used as a preparation for front to back splits. Bent knee hip stretches can be used to focus on rectus fermoris.
Strengthen your hands, your arms, glutes and hamstrings with these standing forward bend variations.
The small actions in this standing psoas stretch can be used to stretch both the upper and lower fibers of the psoas muscle.
Variations of the standing psoas stretch that use the same basic actions.
Here's a break down of the steps of Ashtanga Yoga Surya Namaskar A to make this sun salutation easier to learn and remember.
A reclining psoas stretch I learned from a Richard Freeman Workshop. The better you understand your anatomy the easier it is to work on your body effectively.
The hip stretches included on this page can be used to stretch and improve flexibility of the hip flexors, hip extensors, adductors and abductors.
Friction and pressure are two simple techniques that I use to help my students get stronger and more flexible. These simple techniques also offer a roadway into not only learning how to activate your muscles, but getting a feel for them and your body. Three challenging yoga poses that I use these techniques in are chaturanga, front splits and side splits. While they might not help you get all the way down into the splits, they'll help you feel stronger, and more integrated as you work towards them. And because I've got to pay for my daughters schooling this week, I'm offering a discount on the frictional muscle control videos. (First 100 people only can save over 30%).
Active stretching teaches you muscle control to not only improve flexibility but also body awareness. You'll learn how to adjust postures for better feel as well as more control through a broader range of motion.
Standing exercises for low back pain plus anatomy that can affect the low back and how to use that anatomical understanding.
Experience your body (and understand it) with sensational yoga poses.
Is it a bad idea to heel strike while barefoot running? What are the possible benefits of heel striking? When should you not heel strike?
These yoga poses for abs work on the abdominal muscles (and hips) in both standing positions and seated positions.
Here are the Ashtanga Standing Pose Vinyassas, with inhale movements highlighted in red.
Single joint hip flexors include iliacus, pectineus, obturators, gemelli and gluteus minimus. Use them to help improve your forward bends.
In this preparation for compass pose use your arms to pull your leg towards you for a seated hamstring stretch. To modify, use a strap.