Good Night Yoga Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 13

Release Your Hips for Rest

20 min - Practice


Dana guides us in a restorative practice at the wall (or in bed if you have a headboard or wall that can support you). We explore various postures to promote rest and relaxation and an opening in the hips and hamstrings.
What You'll Need: Mat, Wall, Blanket

About This Video


Read Full Transcript

Hi, and welcome back to your practice. For this practice, we're going to be using a wall, or you can also practice this in your bed if you have a reliable headrest or a wall behind your bed, okay? Ideally, you'll have one blanket in case you want it, and you'll fold up the blanket lengthwise so that you're creating a small bolster that's eight inches wide to a foot wide, somewhere around there, and then move it to the side for now. Now the trickiest part is maybe swinging your legs up the wall. You're going to want to be really close to the wall or to your headboard, and then roll onto your side.

Now allow yourself to feel a little ridiculous for this part. You roll onto your back and swing your legs up. And if your hamstrings are feeling pretty good tonight, you can have your seat close to the support of the wall, but if the hamstrings are tight, feel free to move your seat away and keep a little bend in the knees. We're going to start by just flopping the legs in and out, maybe a couple of sides, and try some ankle rolls, and roll the other way. Take any adjustments you need to feel your sacrum on the support below you.

And then begin to bend your knees and bring the soles of the feet together for a bound angle pose. The feet slide down the wall, and the knees come as open as they would like to be. For this more yin-like supported practice, I'm going to leave you a little bit of silence in space. Allow gravity to do the work for you, allowing the knees to move as far down as gravity wants them to go. Allow the awareness to travel to the belly, to the navel center, and observe with some interest the pace and the wave-like flow of your breath.

All right? If you need to stay, please stay. Trust that intuitive response. If it's time to move, please bring your hands towards your knees and manually draw the knees together and slide your legs up your wall again. Maybe flop the legs a little, left, right.

You can return to that bound-eagle pose with bent knees, or consider taking a straddle as I'm demonstrating here. Once you get the gist of things, settle back, allow your eyes to become heavy, following the wave of the breath, and with every exhale, allowing your legs to surrender more fully to gravity as you let go. Begin to deepen your breath a little bit. Guiding your hands to your thighs again, and use your hands to guide your legs back up the support of the wall or the headboard, and then just take a mini little jog, even paw the thighs, rotate the legs in their sockets. A little massage across the sides of the legs are nice, or the top of the legs where the quadriceps are.

You can even paw your hands close to where the thighs meet the hips, and just gently traction the legs away, making some space in the spine too. Now let's bend our knees, find your right leg, and see if the right shin wants to cross over the left thigh, much like a figure four. Begin to slide the left heel down the wall, coming into a deeper hip opener. Watch that shin, make sure it's a shin over a thigh, and that the foot isn't sickling in. Now here's some things that might happen in your practice.

The hips might come up off the earth, that's fine, more than fine. You need to weight them as time goes on. And also as time goes on, you might be able to slide the left heel down the wall more, which brings you deeper into the opening, and leave you to quietly explore, allowing gravity to take the legs a little deeper with every exhale. Thank you. Very nice.

Staying or going, follow your impulses. We'll slide the left heel up the wall just a smidge and begin to cross the legs, as if you were crossing the legs and sitting in a chair. I'm showing a simple variation with the right thigh over the left. You might need to adjust so this feels comfortable and the heel might start to come down. Another option is to move this far shin over to the side in a cow face pose.

As I look down through my eyelashes at the knees, I see that I've made a kind of pile of the knees with one knee on top of the other. If you're more flexible tonight, the hands can come to the shins, like two handlebars, and you can draw them wide. You might be able to walk your hands to your feet. The feet are flexed for that option and they become your handlebars. Even deeper still today or another day, you can play with slowly wagging the far foot.

This is the left foot on this side, you'll see it to the right side of your screen. I'm keeping the foot flexed and moving it up and down, getting deeper into the opening in the outer right glute and hip. As we move a little deeper into these joints with movement and time, you might visualize the breath moving down into the tight tissues. When we stretch, we bring oxygen into the tissues, keep the breath present, visualize it moving in and washing out any tightness, tension or holding. Lastly this whole shape can move back to the wall and without force, the feet might come towards the bottom of your wall and you can gently knee to that top thigh again.

Be a compassionate massage therapist here, just looking for where the touch needs to go. We'll slowly exit and untie our legs, bringing both legs up to the wall momentarily. Any flops or circles you need, then please bend both knees, slide the feet down the wall. Begin to drop your legs, let's go over to the left side and bring those feet down alongside your baseboard. If you've got the space, you can open the arms, right arm might want to come on your blanket.

If the body is resisting, it might be a little friendlier and sweeter to begin to lengthen the legs and they need not be in any precise shape. Begin to the way it feels, reading your own book and responding to that. Every exhale sinking the body down into the earth, as if our feet were slowly sinking in the sand of a beach, leaving a body impression down into the support below you. When and if you feel prepared to move, start to bend your knees and swing your legs up the wall. You can press the heels into the wall just to adjust your seat and we'll start to bend the knees a little bit and find the other leg.

This will be your left leg and cross your low shin across the top of the thigh. In your own time, begin to slide the right heel down the wall, coming a little deeper into this hip opening figure four stretch. Remember it's fine for the hips to come up, but on every exhale the entire body becomes a little heavier, the entire body sinks down into the earth. That's fine for the hips to come up, but on every exhale the entire body becomes a little heavier. Always free to stay.

If it's time to move, we'll begin to slide the legs a little longer and cross the legs with the left thigh over the right and it's just like you're crossing your legs sitting in a chair. This is our first step. Another variation is to wing that far shin out to the left, creating a cow face pose. If you look down through your eyelashes, you'll see those feet moving out left and right, kind of like I suppose the ears of a cow. You might consider bringing your hands to your shins like handlebars.

Perhaps hands out to the feet, the feet remain flexed for the safety of the low joints. Be heavier with every exhale, option to slowly wag that far foot, deepening the opening and stretching the outer left hip and glute. If you still want to travel down this little path, the pose, the legs can come towards the wall and the hands can just gently, investigatively, paw that top thigh, even press just below the crease of the hip. And after a nice sweet sigh, start to unravel your legs, bring them up, your support again and then begin to bend the knees. Both knees come in towards the chest.

We're rolling over now, bringing the legs out to the side, okay? The other side. Now keeping the feet on the baseboards gets it really nice and deep into your low back. If that's too much on your body today, remember to be sweet and to find any shape as lazy as it feels, the lazier the better, where the legs might stretch out a bit and you can let go in the upper back, the lower back, the left arm coming to the floor or to a blanket if you prefer, as you let go. You're always welcome to stay, be at home here or if it's time to move, slide the legs up the wall again for our final pose, the burrita carrani or legs up the wall.

One option is to press your heels into the wall and lift your seat, sliding that folded blanket underneath your seat. You might want to play with it, see if it's right for your body. A lot of people find that it releases their low back and brings them just a sweet, sweet form of energy. Whenever your choice and joy allow the body to melt more fully down into the earth. With every exhale, the body makes a body shaped indentation down into the molecules below it as you let go.

Thank you. Thank you. If this feels like home, please stay, take your time, even snooze away. If instead your intuition is telling you to move, then bend your knees and slide your knees down into your chest, pressing the feet on the wall, lifting the seat and removing your blanket. Rolling to your right side, here in the studio, I'll just turn to the left so I can see you.

You can see me. Bend your time, press your hands down to the ground. No rush, nothing to do, nowhere to go for a while. As you sit, you can play with sitting against the wall and let your back now receive this support. Hand on the belly or palms down.

We'll end our practice, once again observing the breath of the belly with some fascination and interest, and even as we sit on every exhale, feeling the weight of the body return to the earth. I leave you to your practice. I hope you sleep quite well tonight. Thanks for joining me. Namaste.


Christel B
That was lovely just before sleep!
Dana Slamp
2 people like this.
Lovely - just what we were sequencing for! 🌙 
Darryl H
1 person likes this.
Oh wow, I am going to do this one every day
Dana Slamp
Brilliant!  They’re delicious- enjoy.
Darryl H
1 person likes this.
Ive been doing this one most days now and my back is a lot better... !
Dana Slamp
2 people like this.
Darryl - so happy to hear it! Sounds like your legs and low back needed some space, too. Let us know how it progresses!  Warmly, Dana
Kirk M
1 person likes this.
This is so very helpful .  Feeling great relief from sciatic pain.  Your  gentle approach is encouraging .  
Dana Slamp
1 person likes this.
I’m relieved to just hear about it, Kirk!  Thanks for the great feedback.  Keep practicing, Dana
Darryl H
What is a complementary exercise to go along with this one? can you suggest a video?
Dana Slamp
I’d try “Wring out your Day” or “Unwind from Work” from this same series.  They’re short but still movement-oriented.  You can skip the final resting pose & replace it with this hip series at the wall. Lmk how it goes! Warmly, Dana
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