Too Tight to Stretch Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 4

Whole Body Stretch

30 min - Practice


Alana covers the basics and leads us in a well-rounded sequence that targets the shoulders, hips, hamstrings, and legs. You will feel a new sense of freedom in the entire body.
What You'll Need: Mat, Strap, Block (2)

About This Video


Read Full Transcript

(waves) Welcome back, so this is a full body stretch practice and we're gonna cover the basics and this practice will target the shoulders, the hips, the hamstrings, and the legs. So we'll start on our back, just to warm up and ease in with some windshield wipers, stretching the arms overhead, elbows might be soft full breath in, exhale the knees fall to the right inhale let the knees come up exhale over to your left and continue moving at your own pace with your breath just nice and easy beginning to wake up your hips, your legs, you might feel that movement up through your spine your head might roll with the knees or away. Really stay with your breath here. And if it makes sense, let your breath help to guide the movement or inspire the movement. Few more rounds side to side.

Good, letting the knees come back up, here you'll wanna strap in your bi as you draw your right knee into your chest and then bring your strap around the bottom of your right foot. You can kinda lasso your strap there and then extend your right leg up. So right away, notice what you feel, right? You can keep your knee bent here just to take the stretch out of the hamstrings a bit and let's see, let's bend the right knee and extend it up towards the sky. So bend and straighten a couple of times just nice and easy.

Easing into the hamstrings and the knee joint, eventually extending your right leg up and then flexing your foot, reaching for your heel and then relax your shoulders, relax your face a little bit, soften the grip with the hands. Now your left foot might stay on the floor to support your lower back today or you might choose to extend your left leg and flex your foot so really lengthening for your thigh. Now from here you can stay right where you are or you might begin to float your leg a bit from side to side just like nice and easy checking out feeling the inner and outer hamstrings. Opening the hip, just nice and easy. You notice if you're like gripping your strap for dear life and see if you can soften a bit through the face and the fingers.

Few more moments here, just easing in waking up the hamstrings. Good, and now from here, and you might stay here, you might begin to curl up, so we'll engage the abdominal, chin into the chest, inhale exhale and begin to curl up. Just nice and easy forehead towards your shin stretching through the back of the neck using your abdominal and then slowly lengthen and release. Remove your strap, flex your foot and then stabilize your core and your hips as you extend. Take a moment to relax the effort, you might shake it out.

Exhale, notice how you feel. Let's find that on the other side bending the knees. Draw your left knee into your chest and then bring your strap around the bottom of your left foot and extend your left leg up. From here let it bend and straighten a few times, phew. Most likely one side'll feel stickier than the other side.

I know for me today this side is much stickier and tighter than my right side. Notice what's happening with your breath nice and easy, eventually extending your leg, put a little bit of effort into it, flex the foot, spread the toes, reach through your heel and then relaxing the shoulders down the back. Again, you might keep the right foot on the floor or extend your right leg, flex the foot, letting your thigh lengthen and descend a bit. And then you might begin to let your left leg float a little bit from side to side. You can bring the strap in your left hand if you like and ground your right hip with your right hand.

Just kind of, again, exploring the inner and outer hamstring, the sticky spots. If it makes sense, breathe into where you feel any sensation, stretch. Again notice you can relax through your face, your jaw, your shoulders. Good, eventually coming into the center you might stay here, you might engage the abdominal. Inhale and exhale, curl up for a moment, draw your forehead towards your shin, naval towards your spine, curl up, then get round.

Inhale and then exhale lower and release. Remove your strap, flex your left food, lead with your heel and then slowly lower and extend all the way down to the floor. Take a moment shake it out, relax your effort, the effort. Now for an inhale. Exhale.

Bend your knees, hug your knees into your chest. You might rock and roll up towards the seat or roll to your side, use your hands to press yourself up. Then we'll meet on all fours. Coming in to table top. Spread the fingers wide, shoulders over the wrist, and from here we'll move into cat-cow just to warm up the spine.

Feel an inhale and then exhale curl the tailbone under get round, release the head. Inhale, roll the pelvis forward, hard, wide through the collar bones. Exhale, curl, and get round. Few more times like this moving with your breath. And you might lean a bit from side to side exploring any sticky spots in the body.

Hips, ribs, shoulder blades, neck. Good, eventually coming back into neutral on all fours, moving into plank pose to generate some heat. Spread the fingers wide apart, draw your shoulders down your back. Relax through the neck, tuck your toes, walk your feet back into a plank pose and pause here. Draw the belly up towards the spine.

Root, press down through your hands, strong active legs, one more inhale, exhale, press back to downward, facing dog. Spread the fingers wide, bend the knees, come high up onto the balls of the feet, with the knees bent. Reach the sit bones up towards the sky. Back of the neck is soft, take a few breaths here, and you might begin to bend one knee, extend and reach the calf, inhale to the floor, and just walk it off. And then as you're ready, walk your feet and hands towards each other.

Standing forward full, bend the knees, let the head drop, let the arms dangle. Like right here, always there's like a dull achy stretch usually through the spine, through the back of the legs, through the neck. Making our way to standing. Bend the knees, keep your chin into your chest. We'll slowly roll up to standing, keeping the chin in as you feel the bones stack.

The spine, the heart, the shoulders and the head and bring your feet slightly wider. We'll inhale, draw the shoulders up around the ears and then exhale, drop the shoulders down the back. And inhale, roll the shoulders back and out, exhale and drop. And one more time drawing the shoulders up, and then exhale and drop. From here, bring your two blocks towards the top of your mat and we'll actually start with one block between the thighs.

So we're gonna find the action of utkatasana chair pose. So bring your block between your thighs like this. Okay, so we're find and activate the lines of the legs. So from here, press into the balls of your feet, lift your toes, spread your toes wide apart, and then release your feet, your toes down to the floor. Nice, arms along your sides.

Now lift from the inner arches of your feet, up through the spine, back of the neck lengthens, tail bone reaches towards your heels a bit. Release your arms along your sides. Inhale, reach your arms up, draw the shoulders down the back and then continue to reach the arms up over the top of your head. Now draw your inner thighs into the block a bit. Reach up through your fingers, let your rib cage soften in and let your tailbone descend a bit towards the heels.

Few full breaths into the side body, into the rib cage. From here, bend the knees a lot as if you were about to sit down into a chair. Keep squeezing the inner thighs into the block, soften the back of the neck, and begin to tilt forward a little bit. Coming into utkatasana chair pose. Strong and active through the legs, through the fingers, and then draw the belly towards the spine, lengthen from the sit bones to the fingers.

Breathe wide into your rib cage, so generating some heat here. One more inhale. On your exhale press down through your feet, rise up and lengthen. Reach from your heart into your hands and then exhale, release your arms down. It's quite a work out.

Okay, and then let's make our way towards the top of our mat. So the blocks are on either side of you here and then bring the hands together, take a few moments to spread the toes and can you feel the support of your block between the inner thighs here? We'll find three quarter sun salutations, just to begin to move with our breath. So hands together. As you're ready, we'll inhale.

Exhale and press the hands down towards the floor. On your inhale circle the arms up to the sky and reach and then exhale, hands come together at the heart so it's a three part breath. Two more times, inhale, exhale and press the hands to the floor. Inhale, circle the arms up and reach, and exhale hands together at the heart, one more time, inhale, exhale, press the hands. Inhale, circle the arms up, lengthen.

Exhale, hands together at the heart. Adding on towards warrior one. Together, breathing in. Exhale and press. Inhale, circle the arms up.

This time, bend the knees, and forward fold. Standing forward fold, release the head, and release the arms. Soften the knees. From here, bring your hands to your shins or your blocks, inhale half arch, lengthen your spine, exhale bend your knees, and step your right foot back into a lunge. As your left knee bends, and now toe heal your left foot slightly wider towards the left, pivot onto the outer right edge of your foot, strong active legs, back leg is strong, soften through the neck, let the hands get light, as you inhale rise up to warrior one.

Sink down onto your left hip, draw the left hip back the right hip forward, reaching from the heart into the hands breathing here. Good, inhale, exhale, release the hands to the block, spin onto the ball of your back foot, we're gonna rock and roll and step the right foot forward to meet the left. Bend the knees forward fold. From here, moving into chair pose utkatasana. So bring the feet about hip distance, spread the toes, bend your knees a lot, remember the block between the inner thighs, inhale, reach the arms up for utkatasana.

Again, drawing the naval towards the spine, breathe into the ribs and feel the work through the legs. Good, inhale, exhale, press down, rise up and lengthen. Exhale, release the arms, and just take a moment here to notice how you feel. You might feel the heat rise, the work through the legs, as you're ready bring your hands together, we'll find the second side. Breathing in.

Exhale and press the hands down. Inhale, circle the arms up, exhale, soften the knees forward fold, release the head and the arms, inhale, slide your arms up your shins or your blocks to lengthen your spine half arch. As you exhale, bend your knees, step your left foot back into a lunge, the right knee bends, and then toe heel your right foot slightly wider to find a wider stance. Pivot on the outer left edge of your foot. Take a moment here, feel your legs, relax through your neck, as you're ready let the hands get light and inhale rise up warrior one.

Draw the right hip back, the left hip forward. Relaxing the shoulders down the back. And breathing here. Good, one more inhale. Exhale, release the hands, and onto the ball of your back foot, rock and roll, and with momentum step the left foot forward to meet the right, bend the knees forward fold, let the head dangle, and then spread the toes, bend the knees, for chair pose.

Inhale, reach the arms up. Breathe into the rib cage. Good, inhale exhale, press down, press down, lengthen, reach and then release your arms. Again, take a moment to pause and notice what you feel. Good, and from here you can bring your blocks off to the side, we're gonna bring the legs wide for warrior two.

Bring the left foot and the right foot out. Right heel in line with your left inner arch, reach the arms out to the side and then bend your right knee. And as I say, see what happens when you bend your right knee and can you feel that work opening through your right hip? Reaching the arms out sink down. Inhale, bring the shoulders up around the ears, exhale, release the shoulders down the back, and then rotate the palms up.

Soften through the neck, feel the work through the legs. From here, we'll move in and out together. As you're ready, inhale, press into the ball of your right foot, reach the arms up. Exhale, bend your right knee in open warrior two. Four more times.

Inhale, rise up. Exhale... Three more. Inhale. Exhale.

Inhale. Exhale. Last one. Exhale this time we'll hold. Soften the shoulders, relax the neck and face.

Inhale and then extend the right leg. Turn the right foot and the left food out. Left heel in line with your right inner arch about. And then bend the left knee again, see what happens. Feel that opening through your hip as you sink down arms out.

Most likely, this side feels a bit different. Inhale, draw the shoulders up, exhale, relax the shoulders, rotate the palms up, feel that reach from the heart into the hands, it's a big dynamic stretch here. Breathe. Moving in and out together. Inhale, press into the ball of your left foot.

Reach the arms up, exhale, and open. Inhale. Exhale. And four more together. Inhale.

Exhale. Inhale, feel that work through the legs and a bit more ease and movement up through the spine and the shoulders. Out through the arms, two more. Exhale and open. Last one, inhale, circle the arms up, exhale, open land, pause for a few breaths, soften what you can, feel that work through the legs, relax through the jaw.

Inhale, come all the way back up, good. And then bring the toe heel to feet underneath your hips. Make the journey back, take a moment and then just pause and feel in neutral, spreading the toes, let the palms open. Soften the shoulders down the back. You might feel some fire in your legs.

Okay, and then join me at the top of your mat. Making our way down to the floor with a sun salutation, let's see how it goes, spreading the toes. Inhale, and exhale at the breath release. Moving with our breath, inhale. Exhale we'll press the hands down to the floor.

Inhale, circle the arms up. Exhale, bends the knees forward fold, nice and easy, releasing the head, and then plant your hands on the ground, and step your feet back into downward dog. Just nice and easy, finding your dog, and we'll take about at least three breaths here. So spreading your fingers, and you might bend one knee and then bend the other, walking it off and cooling down. And then from downward dog, lower the knees, we'll take a moment to press back into child's pose, drawing the hips towards the heels.

Your knees might be slightly wider, and then resting the forehead, softening the face. And then sliding the palms underneath you, chin into your chest, gently roll that for a moment, and then we'll find our way onto our back. Coming onto your back, draw your knees into your chest. Allow for an exhale as you draw the knees in. From here, setting up for a bridge, bridge pose, bring the feet to the floor, spread your toes wide apart and feel your feet on the ground.

Bring your heels in line with your sit bones, about hip distance, bring your attention down towards you tailbone, arms along your sides, feel the rise of your inhale. As you exhale begin to curl your tailbone under, press down through your feet, and lift your hips. Nice and easy, as you press down through the feet, feel the front line of your body lengthen, the back line of your body lengthen, the mid back, the upper back might be lifting, let your neck be long, your face soft and relaxed, your hands might reach towards your ankles. You might choose to tuck your shoulders under. Lifting up and lengthening.

Breathing. As you're ready to release, come high up onto the balls of your feet, reach your arms up towards the sky, get round through your upper back and then slowly releasing down, feeling your mid back, your lower back, your pelvis, release your arms, and the knees might rest together, so soles of the feet wide, knees resting together, you might prefer bringing the soles of your feet together knees wide, maybe one of those, or just extending your legs towards straight. We'll find one more round. Setting up your feet, spreading your toes, arms along your sides. Again, feel the inhale.

Exhale, curl the tailbone under, press down through the feet, lift your hips, feel the back body lift the front of your body lengthen. Relax through the face and the neck. See if you can relax some of the grip through the butt, and feel the work in the legs. Hands might reach towards your ankles, you might roll and tuck the shoulders under and if the hands are right there, perhaps you might interlace the fingers. Can you remember the feeling of a block between your inner thighs?

Feeling that support between the inner thighs drawing them towards each other. Breathing. Good, as you're ready, again come high up onto the balls of your feet, reach your arms up towards the sky, get round through your upper back, let that lower, and then slowly release down. Exhale. And hug your knees into your chest.

And we'll close with a spinal twist over to the right, bringing the knees over to the right. Let's roll onto our right side, and then reach the left arm up, and left shoulder towards the floor. Now for an inhale. Exhale, relax through the belly. And notice what you choose to do with your head and your neck.

Breathe into where you feel the stretch. So you might notice a strong stretch through your shoulder, maybe it's your ribs or down through your left hip. As you're ready, lead with the top leg, come all the way back up. And then rolling over to your left, stacking your shoulder and your hips, and then reach the right arm up, and shoulder towards the floor. Allow for an inhale, exhale, relax through the belly.

And find a place where the neck and head feel comfortable. Breathe into where you feel any sensation. And notice where you can relax a bit more in the shape. When you feel ready inhale, come all the way back up, last time draw the knees into the chest, let yourself rock a little from side to side. And then extend the legs, relaxing for a few moments.

Relaxing any effort in the body. You're welcome to stay here as long as you like. When you feel ready to transition, inviting movement back into the body, knees into chest, and then rolling to your side, take a moment to pause. And then making your way up towards a seat. And joining the hands together, and namaste.


Katherine F
Nice even pace, felt relaxed and fluid after practice.
Alana Mitnick
Hi Katherine, I am so glad to hear that you felt relaxed and fluid after your's working! :) Best wishes, A
Simon ?
Nice calm opening for a warm, spacey Monday. Blessings Alana.
Alana Mitnick
Happy Monday, Simon! Blessings.
Vita A
Alana, I am so grateful for your calm, clear instruction in the stretching and strengthening videos! Thank you! Pat
Alana Mitnick
Vita, I am delighted to know that we are practicing together. Thank you for being here! I hope these practices help to inspire more freedom and ease. Keep me posted on your findings.
Tesa Urbonaite Dunn
Ahhh! So relaxing! Thank you. Love the pace!
Alana Mitnick
Hi Tesa! So glad you enjoyed the practice. I love this pace, too! Best wishes. xoA
Joan J
Alana I so enjoy your sessions. Your gentle tone helps ease me into each pose. I have very tight hips, hamstrings, a tight low back, and poor balance due to fallen arches. This is such a wonderful way to slowly awaken the body. I found using the block for chair pose so helpful for grounding and balance. Grateful for your practices.
Alana Mitnick
Wonderful, Joan! I am so delighted that you found these techniques helpful for grounding and balance. Stay with it! xoA
1-10 of 22

You need to be a subscriber to post a comment.

Please Log In or Create an Account to start your free trial.

Footer Yoga Anytime Logo

Just Show Up

Over 2,900 yoga and meditation practices to bring you Home.

15-Day Free Trial