• T
  • H
  • M
  • Easy (and some Not-So-Easy)
    Cross Leg Stretches

    In cross leg stretches 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.

    Pelvic Tilting (Spinal Bending) Practice

    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.

    Cross Legged Upright Twisting Stretches

    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.

    Sitting with legs crossed one hand is placed on the opposite knee. The other hand is on the floor just behind the body. Both arms are being used to turn the ribcage to one side, twisting the spine. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Sitting with legs crossed and hands in prayer, use the muscles of the waist and ribcage to turn the ribcage and twist the spine. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.

    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.

    Sitting with legs crossed one option for the arms while twisting the spine is to clasp the hands behind the back and reach the arms upwards. (This is the same arm position used in prasaritta padottanasana C). Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Sitting with legs crossed one option for the arms while twisting the spine is to put the hands in reverse prayer position (hands together behind the back with fingers pointing upwards). Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Sitting with legs crossed one option for the arms while twisting the spine is to place the arms in the eagle arm position. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Sitting with legs crossed one option for the arms while twisting the spine is to clasp the hands behind the back with one arm up and the other arm down so that the arms are in the same position used in cow face yoga pose. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.

    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.

    Cross Legged Forward Fold (Plus a Side Bend)

    Bending forwards with legs crossed, reach ribs away from the pelvis and open the spaces between the ribs. Reach the head away from the ribcage. Reach the shoulders forwards, (towards the ears) and make the arms long. Spread the fingers. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Sitting with legs crossed, bend forwards and then reach both arms to the side. Use the arms to bend the lumbar spine and thoracic spine sideways. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.

    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.

    Forward Bent Shoulder Stretch or Twist

    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.

    Bending forwards while sitting with the legs crossed, reach one arm across the front of the chest towards the opposite side. Sink that shoulder down towards the floor to stretch the outside of the shoulder. Reach the other arm forwards and lengthen the upper body. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Sitting with legs crossed, bend forwards and place one elbow on the floor. Turn the ribcage towards the opposite side. Place hands together in prayer and position the forearms so that they form one straight line. Press the bottom elbow into the floor. Press the top hand against the bottom hand. Using both shoulders turn and twist the ribcage and spine. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses.

    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.

    Reaching Up

    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.

    Lifting Up

    To practice lifting up with legs cross start by setting up the arms and shoulders.

    Spread the shoulder blades then pull the arms inwards to activate the latissimus dorsai muscles. Prevent arms from rotating inwards. To use the lats to help you lift your body, create a downward pull on the arms, at the same time pulling the hips upwards. First lift just your hips and when you are comfortable holding this position then try lifting one foot, then both feet.

    Return to Home Page from Cross Leg Yoga Poses


    Gumroad, Yoga for your shoulders, available in epub, pdf and mobi. Neil Keleher, Sensational Yoga Poses.

    Gumroad, Yoga for your shoulders, available in epub, pdf and mobi. Neil Keleher, Sensational Yoga Poses.

    What's New?

    An Exercises for Knee Stability, The Seated Get Up

    The seated get up is a way of getting into the one legged squat from a seated position. Even if you aren't interested in one leg squats this video does include tips on stabilizing the knees (at about the 5 minute mark.) Usual muscle activations for knee stability might include the quads, the hamstrings or any of the glutes. This looks at another set of muscles all together. If you like the video or find it helpful, please do share it! Thanks!

    Continue reading "An Exercises for Knee Stability, The Seated Get Up"

    Deep Squats

    Some tips for learning how to do deep squats (without weight). The first tip is on how to stay balanced while squatting.

    Continue reading "Deep Squats"

    Learning The Body Weight Squat

    How do you learn the body weight safely? How do you work towards this pose even if you aren't sure if you are capable of doing it.

    Continue reading "Learning The Body Weight Squat"

    Basic Yoga Poses

    Basic yoga poses: standing, sitting, arm balances, binds, twists, inversions, back bending, front bends.

    Continue reading "Basic Yoga Poses"

    Scapular Awareness

    Scapular stabilization becomes a little bit harder when working agains the weight of the body. It can be easier to learn if you gradually increase the amount of body weight the scapular stabilizer muscles are working againsts..

    Continue reading "Scapular Awareness"

    Hip Flexor Strengthening Exercises

    Some hip flexor strengthening exercises.

    Continue reading "Hip Flexor Strengthening Exercises"

    Arm Strengthening Exercises

    These yoga poses can be used as arm strengthening exercises.

    Continue reading "Arm Strengthening Exercises"

    Leg Strengthening Exercises

    Turn yoga poses into leg strengthening exercises using floor pressing actions, leverage and friction.

    Continue reading "Leg Strengthening Exercises"

    Hip Strengthening Exercises

    One way of finding and fixing hip problems is to do standing hip strengthening exercises while balancing on one leg.

    Continue reading "Hip Strengthening Exercises"

    Knee Anatomy for Yoga Teachers

    Knee anatomy for yoga teachers looks at the bones and muscles that comprise the back of the knee in simple terms.

    Continue reading "Knee Anatomy for Yoga Teachers"

    Kneeling Quadriceps Stretch

    Working towards a kneeling quadriceps stretch you first need to be able to kneel. If you have difficulty kneeling, you may find it helps to activate your quadriceps.

    Continue reading "Kneeling Quadriceps Stretch"

    Quadriceps Stretching Yoga Poses

    When doing quadriceps stretching it may help to activate and then relax your quadriceps in these standing, lunging, pigeon and supine yoga pose variations.

    Continue reading "Quadriceps Stretching Yoga Poses"

    Lying Quadriceps Stretch

    Some exercises and yoga poses for working towards a lying quadriceps stretch one leg at a time.

    Continue reading "Lying Quadriceps Stretch"

    Benefits of The Dance of Shiva

    What are the benefits of the Dance of Shiva? Arm strength and balance, learning to learn and improving creativity.

    Continue reading "Benefits of The Dance of Shiva"

    Yoga Routine Video for Strengthening Arms and Legs Via Friction and Pressure

    This yoga routine video is designed to help you strengthen your arms and legs via the use of friction and pressure. It also teaches you how to become more aware of your body.

    Continue reading "Yoga Routine Video for Strengthening Arms and Legs Via Friction and Pressure"

    Transverse Abdominis Exercises

    The transverse abdominis muscle can be broken down into three parts. Transverse abdominal exercises can thus affect the SI Joint, lumbar spine and the lower portion of the ribcage.

    Continue reading "Transverse Abdominis Exercises"

    Knee Strengthening Exercises

    To improve the resiliency of your knees it can help to exercise them in a variety of positions. The following yoga poses can be used as knee strengthening exercises. The trick is to activate your knees while doing them.

    Continue reading "Knee Strengthening Exercises"

    Quads and Superficial Hip Flexors

    Learn to consciously control your quads and hip flexors with Conscious Muscle Control: Quads and Superficial Hip Flexors. This downloadable video course teaches you how to feel and activate your quadriceps (the vastus muscles) as well as the rectus femoris, tensor fascae latae and sartorius muscles.

    Continue reading "Quads and Superficial Hip Flexors"

    Calf Stretches

    For any calf stretch you have to bend your ankle forwards to stretch the soleus and/or gastrocnemius. How you bend the ankle forwards can make the stretch more or less effective.

    Continue reading "Calf Stretches"

    Yoga for Flexibility

    Yoga for flexibility with stretches for the hips, quads, hamstrings, glutes, psoas, shoulders and arms. These yoga stretches are designed to improve flexiblity.

    Continue reading "Yoga for Flexibility"

    Basic Awareness

    Breathing

    Coordination and Concentration

    Yoga Routines

    Dealing with Pain and Poor Posture

    Muscle Control for Strength and Flexibility