Too Tight to Stretch Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 10

Easy Opening

30 min - Practice


Alana leads us through a gentle floor practice at the wall to help us feel better right away. We find spaciousness in the hips with a series of hip opening postures and close with a seated meditation to calm the mind. You will feel open and inspired.
What You'll Need: Mat, Wall, Blanket

About This Video

May 31, 2016
(Log In to track)


Read Full Transcript

Welcome back. Thank you for being here. This is a floor practice to just help us feel a bit better right away, right now. So we'll start on our backs, bringing our legs up a wall, and we'll find some easy hip opening and then close towards a seated meditation. So join me on your back.

And as we bring our legs up the wall, the further you are from the wall as you bring your legs up, it's going to give your hamstrings a bit more breathing room so to speak. So if you have stickier, tighter hamstrings, you might start further away from the wall. And I'll demonstrate. So come on to one side. And then lead with your top leg and then swing your bottom leg up.

And it's a bit of a shimmy, so you're shifting your hips. And ideally you'll want your tail bone and your spine to be one long line. So shimmying your hips a little bit. And you can get creative with bringing your legs up the wall. Now if you feel a really strong stretch in your hamstrings and the back of the legs, you might wiggle towards the top of your mat a little bit.

If you want to feel more of a stretch, you don't feel much, you can make your way towards the wall a little bit. Scooting your hips a little bit closer. Now we'll just spend a few moments here, hands might rest on your belly, or off to the side. Spend a few moments here, with your legs up the wall, to soften your eyes, just allowing your eyes to rest in the skull, in the head. Feel the back of your neck lengthen.

And then as the eyes soften, relaxing the jaw. And really here allow your legs to fall into the wall. So receiving the support of your wall, keeping it relaxed through your hips. So nice and soft through the top of the hips. And just giving your legs to the wall here.

So this is one of my favorite inversions. Right here. And then the blood is dripping from the feet down the legs, towards the heart, towards the brain. It can be quite a cooling posture as well as energizing. Especially if there's any kind of swelling in the feet or ankles.

If it's a hot day, or you're just feeling a bit tired, this is a really wonderful way. Kinda nourish yourself. Just a few more moments here. Bringing some attention towards your breath. (breathing) And notice the rise and fall of the breath in the body.

(breathing) And as you notice the rise and the fall of the breath, the movement in the body, without forcing the breath, notice that you can receive the breath with each inhale and then release the breath through the mouth. And you might notice it can take some time here. It's a process to really land and arrive in your practice. In your body. Last few moments here.

Notice where you can relax any effort. Whether it's in the mind, if there's a thought or worry or any sensation in the body. Like any tension or maybe holding or gripping. And just allowing your body to receive the support of the floor and the wall. Nice.

From here we'll move into a hip opener up the wall. So you'll bend your right knee, bring the foot on the wall. Draw your knee in towards your chest and then bring your right ankle across your left thigh. Good. As you inhale, draw the knee in towards your chest.

Draw that right knee in towards the chest, and then as you exhale, let your hip open and move towards your wall. Finding a stretch through the hip here. Again we'll inhale, rotate the knee towards your chest a bit. And then exhale, let the hip open, knee towards the wall. Go a few times like this.

So ideally you want your right ankle below your knee, like on your thighs. So if that's not happening you might make your way up a little bit. Like scootch up a little bit more to give your hips a bit more breathing room. Good. And then as you open, as you draw the knee towards the wall, pause here.

And right here might be a deep, strong enough stretch. You might stay here. As you want to feel more of a stretch, you'll slide the left heel down the wall and draw the left knee in towards the chest. And this is a really nice variation to Eye of the Needle, cause you don't need to use your hands or your shoulders. You can just simply let the wall support the opening and the stretch through the hip.

So notice what is happening in your face right now. Where can you soften and relax a bit? Nice, easy smooth breath. (inhaling and exhaling) Really breath into where you feel the stretch. You might imagine breathing right into your right hip.

Breathing into where you feel the stretch. And then exhale, relaxing the hip a bit more. Really easy through your eyes here. Just a few more moments. You're welcome to stay here.

As you're ready, slide the left heel, slide the left leg up the wall, free your right leg. You might shake it out a little bit with the legs and the feet. And just take a few moments to check in, see how you feel, check out the hips. Allow for an inhale, breath in. (inhaling) Full exhale, out the mouth.

(exhaling) And we'll find that on the second side. So sliding the left foot down the wall. Draw the left knee in towards your chest. And then bring the left ankle across your right thigh. Again, if your foot is around the ankle you'll want to slide the ankle down towards, the left ankle, towards your right thigh.

And because this side is different you might make your way closer or further away from the wall. As you inhale, rotate your left knee in towards your chest. And as you exhale, let the hip open, knee towards the wall. And again inhale, rotate the knee in. Exhale, let it open.

Just a few times like this. Bringing your attention in to your left hip joint. Initiating the movement from the hip. Good. As you let the knee open, pause, or let the hip open, pause here.

Again this might be strong enough, you might begin to slide your right heel down the wall, drawing the right knee in towards your chest. And pause when you first feel a stretch. Allow for an inhale. Exhale, and relax the shoulders and the face. Again most likely, this side feels different.

Maybe this is your tighter side or more open side. Notice where you can relax a bit more. If this feels quite intense, like its too much, you can always back it out. You can always slide the right leg up the wall. Or you can always draw that right knee in a bit closer.

Last few moments here, breathing. (Deep breathing) Good. One more inhale. As you're ready, exhale. Slide the right leg up the wall, free the left leg. It might feel good to shake it out a little bit.

Good. Then as you're ready, bend the knees, bring both feet on the wall. And then reach one arm over head, roll to that side. You might pause on your side. And press your way up.

Now we're going to stay on our back. If you have a blanket underneath you, just slide your blanket on the center of your mat. And then roll onto your back. And nice and easy, as we usually do, moving into windshield wipers. So reaching the arms over head, allow for an inhale.

Exhale let the knees fall to one side. Just opening, waking up the hips. Inhale, let the knees come back up. Exhale, over to the other side. Continue moving with your breath, inhale knees up, exhale to the side.

And inhale knees up, exhale over to the other side. A few more times with your breath. Letting your head move with your knees or away from your knees. And really allowing your breath to inspire or guide the movement. Good.

As the knees come over to the right, pause with the knees to the right and then get long with the left side of your body. Like really grow long here. Lengthen all the way up through the fingers. Now bring your attention in to your left side body. And take a full breath into the rib cage.

Nice and wide here. (Deep breath) And exhale. Few full breaths into the left side. Back of the neck is long, face is soft. And can you feel that stretch, that length all the way down through the left side, down through the thigh towards the knee. Good.

As you're ready inhale the knees back up. Exhale the knees over to your left. Get long and lengthen through your right side. Reach all the way up through your fingers, get nice and long lengthen. Lengthen down through the right thigh.

Bring your attention to the right rib cage, the right side body. You might bring your left hand across and find the rib cage. And a few full breaths, right into the rib cage. Again here, we're not forcing the breath. But rather receiving the breath into the rib cage, with the help of our attention.

We're inviting the breath into the rib cage, into the side body. Good. As you're ready inhale the knees back up. And just side to side a few more times. Letting the head move.

Feeling the spine move. Nice. From here bring your feet under your hips. Heels in line with your sit bones, arms along your sides. And then draw your right knee into your chest, and extend your right leg up towards the sky.

Feel and find the external rotation. So from your right hip, that external rotation. Again we're going to bring the right ankle across the left thigh like we did at the wall. Bring the arms up to the side, and this time we're going to rock from side to side. So we're rocking onto the inner and outer edge of the left foot.

The left foot is on the floor. Keep sending that right knee away as the hip opens. And then allow your spine, your head, to move side to side. Nice and easy here. Little flex to that right ankle.

Now you might continue this movement. You might take it all the way over to your left. So that right foot is coming towards the floor, towards. And if it touches, pause. And then send the knee away, towards your wall.

Let the hip open. And what can feel really nice is to reach your right arm at like a diagonal from you. So out to the side or over head. Feel that length on the right side again. Breathing.

Now as you send that right knee away, the hip opens, you might explore reaching the breath into the back. So breathing into the mid back, softening the face. A few more moments here. And feel the back of your neck long, your fingers nice and long. This is a nice dynamic stretch through the hip.

Good. On your inhale, drop back up to center. Good. And then simply release the right leg. Feet on the floor.

Allow for an inhale. Exhale everything. Beautiful. From here draw your left knee in, extend your leg up. Find the hamstrings.

Feel and find the external rotation, so the foot turns out like a duck. And the left ankle across your right thigh, let the hip open, send the knee away. So right, this is a familiar shape. Reach the arms out to the side, and the begin to rock it from side to side. So we're just rocking onto the inner and outer edge of the right foot.

Just waking up the hips, waking up the spine. Your head might move along. Nice, easy, flow of breath here. You might continue this side to side movement here. This might feel really nice on your spine, in your hips, your back.

You might choose, you might play with taking it over to your right. And that left foot may or may not touch the floor. And then feel that nice long dynamic stretch through the left arm. You can reach it either over the head or maybe at a diagonal. And then the play here is to let the left hip open, so you're reaching it towards the wall, away from the arms.

And then bring your attention to the left side body again. Feel the breath full, wide. Yes. Softer through the face and the jaw. (Deep breathing) Good.

On your inhale, bring the shape back up to center. Arms along your sides. And then simply release your left leg to the floor. Left foot to the floor. And then clearing breath, inahale.

Exhale. Let the breath release. From here now, moving into a rolling bridge. So if you have your feet on the blanket, I would suggest bringing your feet on your sticky mat, so that they don't slide. And then bringing your heels in line with your sit bones, spreading your toes.

Draw your attention into your tail bone, so the very tip of your spine. Arms along your side, inhale. As you inhale, press down through the feet. Let the arms begin to life, and reach over the top of your head. Hips lifting, spine lengthening, neck is long and soft.

Front of the body is lengthening. Thighs drawing towards each other. And on your exhale slow, rolling down. Feel the upper back, mid back, your low back and your arms along side the body. And continue on your inhale, curl the tail bone under, press down through your feet, arms rise up and over the top of your head.

Lengthen here. Long through the neck, long through the thighs. Spreading the toes. A little softer through the butt here. Good. Exhale slow.

Releasing the spine. Nice and easy. Mid back, lower back, arms releasing down. Let's find that three more times. Inhale, rise up, press down through the feet, feel the back lift, the front of the body lengthen, thighs lifting up, hips lifting, long through the neck, soft for the face.

Exhale slowly release. Feeling the mid back, lower back, and arms. And inhale rise up. Pause here. Nice soft breath, lengthening.

On your exhale, slow and release. Feeling the upper back, middle back, low back. And last time, when you're ready. On your inhale rise up, lift the hips, lift the arms, finding this rolling bridge. Top of the bridge, pause.

Soft easy breath as you lengthen. And then on your exhale, slow release. Releasing the arms, navel towards your spine and pause. Hug your knees into your chest and rock a bit from side to side. From here it may or may not feel nice to curl up.

So you might stay here, you might draw your head to your chest, forehead towards your knees, curl up for a moment and get round. Stretching the back of the neck. And then slowly release the spine and the head. From here, roll to one side. And then use your arms to press yourself up.

And let's come onto all fours here. So just come onto your hands and knees. And we'll find just some cat cow. Kinda wake up the spine. And counter pose the bridge towards childs pose.

So spreading the fingers wide apart. Shoulders over the wrist. Allow for an inhale, lengthen your spine. Exhale, curl and get round. Draw the navel up, release the head, round through your back.

And then inhale, rolling the pelvis forward, arching and lengthening. A few times like this. Exhale, draw the belly button up, release the head, get round through the back. And on your inhale rolling the pelvis forward, arching, find that length through the spine without pinching your neck. So wide through the base of your skull there.

A few more rounds. Exhale, curl and get round. Here you might play with tucking your toes under and like slowly drawing your hips back towards your heels. This can feel like a really nice, wide stretch through your mid and lower back here. Let the head fully release.

Inhale, roll the pelvis forward. Lead with the heart. Arching the back. Wide through your collar bones. And then last time, exhale, curl and get round.

And then pressing back towards childs pose. You might bring your knees wide or towards each other, drawing your hips back and then walking your arms out in front of you. Just take a few moments here, pausing, letting the head soften towards the floor. Your arms might be over head or resting along side the body. And maybe there's a little wobble from side to side if that feels nice.

Really allow for a full exhalation. (Deep breathing) And then when you're ready, palms underneath you, chin into your chest, and roll on up for a moment. And then we're going to set up at the wall for a sit. So a stack of blankets, or if you have two blankets, bring them right up against the wall. We'll close with a sit.

Setting yourself up for success, which might mean lifting your hips a little higher with a couple of cushions or pillows or blankets. And then coming into a comfortable seat. We have the wall here, supporting us. You can lean into it as you lengthen up through the spine, and just relaxing the shoulders down the back, feel the support between the shoulder blades, relaxing through the jaw and hips. The hips should be nice and stretched here by now.

Letting the arms settle, face soft. (Deep breathing) Feeling the eyes softening into the body, into the head. And just a few more moments here. Notice what might have your attention in this moment, and draw your attention towards your breath. Noticing the rise of the inhale, the fall of the exhale.

Offering gratitude for this body that holds us, and supports us and carries us through our day. Namaste.


Simon ?
Thank you Alana. You are a wonderful teacher. All blessings to you. Holly
Alana Mitnick
Hi Holly, Thank you for being here! I am so happy to know that we are practicing together. Come visit us in Ojai! Blessings, Alana
Maria K
It was such a good class. Thank you. I wondered why i liked it and i can not separate the program that you designed from the way you presented it. You are a beautiful person, it was a joy to see you.
Alana Mitnick
Hi Maria, I'm so delighted that you are here! Thank you for your kind words. I love sharing the teachings and techniques of yoga. So happy to be in this together. xoA
Chrys M
Thanks Alana. I really needed that practice for my sticky hips and feel much better now. I've done a number of your classes and always really enjoy your teaching. Thank you so much.
Alana Mitnick
Hi Chrys! I'm so glad to hear from you. With love, Alana
Sandra Židan
Hi, Alana! In the last few days I had problem with the pain in my low back but this practice helped me to feel better! Thanks and kind regards!
Alana Mitnick
Hi Sandra Židan! I'm so sorry to hear about your low back pain. Nice job moving slow and listening to your body. So glad that this gentle floor practice at the wall helped. Have you discovered the The Happy Back Show with Kira and Arturo? Let us know how we can support you. Love, Alana 
Sandra Židan
Yes, I discovered The Happy Back Show with Kira and Arthuro and I'll also do some of their practices in these days! Thanks for your care, Alana! Kind regards!
Alana Mitnick
Sandra Židan, So glad you found their practices. We are here for you! Take good care love. XoA
1-10 of 11

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