The following sequence is part 3 of a basic yoga sequence of stretches is for general flexibility.
This third part focuses on reactivating the hips.
A lot of times after doing deep relaxed stretching the body may feel fragile, like you are a newly hatched bird or newly born horse not quite used to using their body. These reactivation exerises ideally minimize that feeling. You could think of it as taking out the slack.
One of the most basic methods for taking-out-the-slack of just-stretched muscles, is to simply reactivate them. This exercise focuses activating the inner and outer thighs.
Stand with feet hip width apart and feet parallel with knees straight. Press the feet outwards to activate your outer thighs. Relax and then press your feet inwards to activate your inner thighs. Repeat a few times.
Do the same actions while bending forwards.
This pose can be used to stretch the side of the spine and, if the hips are pushed to the side, the outer thigh of one leg and the inner thigh of the other.
Stand with feet hip width apart and parallel. Push your hips to the right (relative to your feet) and bend your spine to the right. Reach your arms to the right (past your ears) also.
While holding this position press your feet outwards. Relax. Then press them inwards. Then relax.
Work at doing activating both actions (and relaxing them) slowly and smoothly.
Experiment with holding each action for a few breaths to see if it helps you to deepen the stretch and improve your flexibility.
As for the standing side bend, activate the outer thighs of both legs by pressing the feet outwards. Relax. And then activate the inner thighs.
To increase the work load on your legs you can also lift your hands off of the floor. Activate your outer or inner thighs first and then lift your hands. Then put your hands down and then relax your legs.
To move into triangle twist, lift the front-leg side arm and turn towards the front-leg side.
With your right leg forwards you can use your right leg and left hand against each other. Press your foot and hand outwards, away from each other. Relax. And then push them inwards, towards each other.
For half moon pose turn one foot out 90 degrees (to your pelvis). Lift the other foot. If you left foot is turned out then touch your left hand to the floor. Bend your knee if you can't touch the hand to the floor (or use a yoga block.)
For this pose you can push the foot back and the hand forwards (away from each other). You'll have to have to push the hand down slightly to get some friction.
Then pull the hand back towards the foot and at the same time pull the foot towards the hand.
One possible variation on the above "reactivation poses" is to do side bend followed immediately by half moon (i.e. side bend to the left and then do half moon with the left foot and left hand on the floor, then do the right side for both poses). Then do the triangle front fold followed by the twist.
If you are limited for time you might choose only one pair of these poses, either side bend and half moon or triangle front bend and triangle twist.
Bakasana or crow pose can be a fun way to finish of your yoga practice.
Afterwards lay on your back for a few breaths with knees bend and hands on your chest, then rest in shivasana if you need to.
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