To stretch the glutes, which act mainly to move the thigh outwards to the sides (abduction) you can move the thigh inwards, across to the opposite side of the body so that the outside of the hip is opened.
Another option is to move the pelvis relative to the thigh in such a way that the side of the hip joint is opened.
A gentle start to stretching the glutes is to pull the knee across the body when preparing for ardha matsendrasana. In this glute stretch, have the top leg foot beside the bottom leg knee.
Pull it over and back towards the opposite side. Keep the pelvis immobile as you do this.
To change the stretch try adjusting the position of your pelvis. Try lifting the top leg hip or try sinking it down.
You can also try moving the top leg side of the pelvis backwards or forwards relative to the bottom leg side.
However, once you've adjusted the position of your pelvis, keep it fixed in position as you pull your leg to the side so that you stretch your glutes.
Another leg stretch for the glutes is to do badha konasana with the feet together but about 2 feet in front of the pubic bone. Open your knees out to the sides. To stretch your glutes (or to increase the stretch) tilt your pelvis forwards.
To add weight to this pose you can lift your head and lengthen your neck and then from there lift your hands off of the floor and slowly reach them forwards.
A slightly more intense stretch is Painful Pose. The set up is similiar to low lunge, however turn the front foot outwards 90 degrees. Move your body and back knee back until your front leg shoulder is over the foot when viewed from the side.
Lift the inside edge of your front foot. Shift your weight towards your front foot side and then press your knee back.
Keep your elbows straight and focus on pushing your front leg knee back and down. To add weight to the pose, lift your back knee.
To deepen the glute stretch place your elbows on the floor and optionally lift your back knee.
The final variation is to place hands on the floor and bend your elbows to sink your chest down. Aim to get your front leg shoulder to your front foot. Add weight by lifting your back knee.
A slightly less painful variation of painful pose is to bring the back leg forwards and prop the front foot on top of the back leg knee. With hands on the floor behind your back you can push your chest towards your shin. To increase the stretch, move the bottom foot back more, towards the hips.
You can also reach the arms forwards and grab the bottom foot. If you press the top of the foot forwards you can use your foot to help pull your chest forwards.
A final variation that turns this is into a twist, and a shoulder stretch, as well as a stretch for the glutes, is to reach the same side arm (same side as the top leg) past the bottom of the foot. Grab either the shin of the foot (or use a towel or strap looped around the foot.
For all of these leg stretches keep your neck long and your chest open.
If you enjoy the above leg stretch you might also enjoy armpit pose.
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