The Vinyasa Show Artwork
Season 8 - Episode 9

Simple Stretch

20 min - Practice


Nicole guides us through a slow, relaxing floor practice. We find a gentle opening in the hips and legs. You will feel more calm and quiet within.
What You'll Need: Mat, Strap

About This Video


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(ocean waves) So welcome back. This is a short, simple floor sequence to be done at any time during the day when you want something a little bit gentler but to get all stretched out. So we're gonna begin lying down. We're gonna start in Shavasana and we're just gonna stretch our bodies out and take a nice deep breath in you can pull your shoulder blades down your back, pull your sacrum down getting it flattened out. A nice big full belly breath here.

To come a little deeper into your body, you're gonna bring your right hand to your navel and your left hand up towards your chest, but you wanna keep your arms so that your arms are relaxed and your elbows are on the ground. And you're gonna inhale into your bottom hand and exhale, feeling the belly drop, from your bottom hand, and then inhale into your top hand, and then exhale, feeling the chest drop, from your top hand. Let's do this breath, bottom hand alternating between bottom hand and top hand a few more times, so bottom hand, and top hand, and see if you can distinguish between the belly and the chest. Belly. Chest.

So now, with our next inhalation, we're gonna inhale into the chest, and let the belly follow with the inhalation. And then when you exhale it's gonna be belly releasing first and chest following. So chest first, belly follows with the inhale, and then belly releasing, chest releasing. Let's do two more of those breaths together and each time you exhale, letting the breath drain all the way down the legs and into the feet and toes. Beautiful breathing sequence.

So we're gonna do our best to take this breath with us into our movement. We're gonna bring our heels underneath our knees and do some pelvic rocks, tilting and tucking the pelvis and we'll take the arms overhead as well. So, when we do these movements, we wanna feel for that same arch and round extension, that we do when we do the cat-cows. So it's inhaling, the arms go over the head and we extend the pubic bone toward the feet arching our lower spine and then we exhale and the arms come back down beside our body and we tuck, and when we tuck, instead of clenching the buns, give the belly muscles a little squeeze and keep the bum relaxed. So inhaling, extension, stretching through the chest, and then exhaling, moving from the abdominal muscles, pressing the navel down into the spine.

Yeah. Couple more here. Inhaling. And exhaling. And inhaling.

Exhaling. We're gonna move into some bridge variations, strengthening our hamstrings, we're gonna inch our feet out further forward, so our heels are no longer underneath our knees but they're actually out in front of our knees a bit, just several inches will be enough. And then you're going to flip your hands over and push your elbows down and make little cages with your finger tips. We're gonna peel up onto our heels, stretch our toes and lift our trunk, our bum up off of the floor and take a few breaths here. Letting the inhale fill the chest entirely.

And give an extra little squeeze into the bottom of the bum right where the back of the thigh meets the bum crease, squeezing right in that spot. Exhale. And then as we exhale this next breath, we're gonna lower back down. Relax the feet and just stretch out the legs for a moment relax the arms and rotate the feet, in, out, in, out, in, out. Windshield wiping motion.

Yeah. And then one more bridge variation. With this one you can interlace the hands behind the back if you like. Getting a deeper shoulder and chest opener. So, we're gonna push into the feet, nice and rooted, the heels are back underneath the knees and we're gonna interlace our hands and then draw one shoulder under and then the other shoulder under.

So as a result you feel the spine completely draw up into the body off of the mat. Great big full body breaths. And then as we exhale this next breath we're gonna release the hands, undo the shoulders, come on down, lowering the hips and drawing the knees into the chest. You can give the knees a little hug. You can even curl your head towards the knees.

And then stretching the legs up into the sky. I'm just gonna give the legs a rest as we get this nice drain of blood coming down from the Feet into our hips and belly, and you can take a couple of nice deep breaths into your belly here. And then exhaling, relaxing the knees and we're gonna move into supta padangusthasana and so if you have a belt or a strap at home, you're gonna want to put it into a loop. So reclining big toe pose. If you don't have a belt don't worry, you can just do this pose by interlacing your hands around behind the back of your leg and stretching your leg against your hands.

So if you are working with a belt or strap, you're just gonna place it around the foot and you're gonna hang the hands inside the strap letting those elbows drop, pushing and kicking the foot up against the strap. Rather than using the arms to pull on the leg, kick the leg against the strap. And we'll take a few breaths here. Just breathing right into the opening of that right hamstring. And then we're gonna pass the strap into the right hand and, if you're not using a strap you would just rest the hand to the outside of the knee and rest on your elbow.

I'm gonna take a little bicep curl, getting that bicep strengthener as we open up the inner groin inside of the right thigh. Keep pressing through the foot keeping it nice and active. Practice getting a sense of feeling from your center out into all your limbs. Expanding out into the fingers and the toes. The arms and the legs.

And then inhale, kick the foot into the strap, come back to center, pass the strap into the left hand, open up the right arm. This time you're gonna turn your head over toward your right hand as you bring it across. And soften into it here. Let that left leg completely relax. Nice deep breaths.

So notice I'm not taking my leg all the way across my body, I'm keeping it high. So my right hip is actually heavy toward the mat rather than coming up over on top of my left hip. Yeah, and then so we'll inhale back to center and we're gonna change the leg. So you can just keep the right leg up in the sky if you're using the strap and slip the left foot up, removing the right foot and we'll resume that first position hanging our hands in the strap, kicking the foot firmly against the strap. Then just check softness around the ears and the shoulders, mouth, lips and cheeks, even you can let the eyes relax.

If it feels good let them close. I'm using the breath to expand the whole body. Completely relax the whole body with the exhale. Let's move the leg out to the left side. So you're gonna put the strap into your left hand, opening up your right arm, taking that left leg over, landing on that elbow, reaching out through the right foot.

Making a nice and strong fist with that left hand, engaging that bicep again. So it's important not to strain. If the breath is straining then you've gone just a little too far into your stretch. You can back up a touch so that your breath can deepen. Yeah and then kick the foot into the strap to inhale back to center and we'll pass the strap into the right hand as we open up the left arm and rotate our head over to the left and kicking out through that left heel.

This sequence is so great for the back, the whole spine. It'll help to lengthen and open up the hamstrings and if you're recovering from back strain this is a really safe way to stretch the hamstrings without aggravating the back. Just two more full breaths here. And then inhaling, coming back to center. And we're gonna remove the strap.

Set if off to the side. And we're gonna come in to the happy baby straddle. And so you're pulling your knees back and we wanna do our best to keep the sacrum down on the floor and let the tail bone keep dropping to the floor rather then pulling on our knees that it curls up, curls the hips up. Keep letting them drop down. So you're feeling it deep in the inner groin, inner thighs.

And then we'll go into leg extensions. So you're gonna bring the hands around the underside and extend through one heel, breathing into it, and then extend through the other heel, breathing into it. Good, one more time each side. And then we're gonna pull back and come into our happy baby. And if happy baby is a hard grasp and you can't quite get the legs in that deep right angle, you could always let go of one hand while you work one leg into the right angle and relax the other leg.

'Cause sometimes one side is tighter than the other one. Wherever you are, whether you're doing both legs or one at a time, nice big breaths here. And exhaling. We're gonna bring the knees back together and move into our lying twist. So we'll drop the knees over to the right as we exhale.

Letting the whole body land. If you want you can apply a little extra pressure on that top knee, making the twist just a bit deeper here. Letting your head rotate away from the knees. And then inhaling, coming back to center and exhaling to the other side. Letting the head rotate away from the knees.

Letting your whole body sink into the ground, unwinding as we move towards Shavasana. If there's any last little bits of movement that you'd like to do here, maybe you'd like to take the knees in some circles, rolling out the pelvis. It's fun if you let it get wide. You can roll all the way into the fleshy edges of the sacrum out into the glutes. Giving a little self massage.

And then a final hug and squeeze. Then we'll stretch ourselves out. If you have a blanket at home feel free to roll it up and put it underneath your knees. And we're gonna do a mini yoga nidra practice. So as you exhale each area of the body that I say you're gonna consciously place your attention on that area and relax it.

Beginning with our head. Eyes, cheeks, mouth. Whole head. Moving down into our arms. Whole right arm Right hand.

Right fingers. Whole left arm. Left hand. Left fingers. Into the chest.

Letting the chest get heavy and the trunk. Down the belly. Whole spine. Whole pelvis. Whole pelvis, whole bum.

Whole trunk. Into the legs. Whole right leg. Right foot. Whole left leg.

Left foot. Whole body. Whole body. Sinking and dropping. Whole body.

Practicing floating in the sensation of your whole body. And to begin to come out of shavasana, you'll begin by wiggling the fingers and the toes. Moving the feet and the hands, wrists, rotations. Ankle rotations with the feet. You can take a yawney stretch, reaching through the whole body and then pulling the knees into the chest.

And rolling off to one side. When you're ready bringing yourself up to seated. Just taking a moment to sit tall and feeling refreshed and anchored. It's been an honor to share in this practice with you. Namaste.


Cheri Clampett C-IAYT
Hi Nicole, This was such a great short practice to rejuvenate my legs after a long hike this morning! I loved being with you, thank you! Love, Cheri
2 people like this.
@Cheri Cheri Clampett My beautiful friend and mentor! it touches me deeply to know you loved it! Thank you so much, I feel so honored!
Kate M
2 people like this.
I have a friend with MS that I practice yoga with every week... we tried this practice together and she really loved it! Thank you : )
Jennie W
1 person likes this.
I loved this practice! It was perfect after a day of sitting in meetings at work. I really like that the whole practice is on the ground. I felt tired and blah from work today and didn't really feel like practicing, but knew that I needed to. This video was absolutely what I was looking for: something slow and grounding. And the stretching took away all that blah and tiredness. Thank you so much for this :)
1 person likes this.
@Kate Kate that makes me sooooo happy, are you guys still practicing together every week!?
@Jennie Jennie I'm so happy you loved this, that it could bring you the refreshment you needed, thank you so much. Enjoy! And keep in touch
Glenford N
1 person likes this.
Thanks Nicole. This slow relaxing practice was just what the doctor ordered after a busy. My hips and hamstrings felt gently opened and loved. The breathing routine perfect for a good night's sleep.
Thank you Glenford, I'm so glad you enjoyed it
1 person likes this.
Julie P
I'm sleeping on a madrass on the floor right now and this practice helped me so much to stretch out my spine and hips and legs. Thank you so much for it! 
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