Active Recovery Yoga Challenge Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 6

Day 3: Lateral Legs and Hips

35 min - Practice


In today's active recovery practice, we go deep into the lateral line of the legs and the outer hips to find release and spaciousness in these areas. This is a great practice for after a long day of standing or sitting, or when your legs and glutes are tight.
What You'll Need: Wooden Dowel, Mat, Tennis Ball, Blanket


Read Full Transcript

Chapter 1


Hello and welcome to day three. Today we'll be working on the lateral line of the leg and the outer hip. So why this practice is useful and the promise of this practice, why? A lot of us who spend time on our legs doing activities, I'm a climber so I definitely work with this external rotation of the leg a lot in a strength position and there are a lot of other sports and activities that involve that strength in the external rotators of the legs and the glutes and you'll know if you're really strong there if you tend to stand with your feet turned out and maybe even clench around the buttock a little bit. When you stretch the outside of the leg and the outer glute that might help you bring your feet more parallel and widen the back of the pelvis. So I'm just going to show you here if your feet turn out and there's a lot of tension in this area your glutes can clench together and then it kind of jams your sacrum up into your low back and that can create a compression or tension in your lower back and create some lower back discomfort. So we're hoping that if you do this practice enough times it will start to release and lengthen that area and make it more spacious. The first time you do this practice it might feel like a lot of sensation especially if you're particularly tight in that area. It does to me even though I've been doing these postures for 17 years so we're all in this together. It will be really helpful to do this practice more than once and you're on a seven-day challenge so you're on the right track but I always tell people to see that shift in the tissue. One, it's useful to hold the postures for a few more breaths than just three to five and also to practice at least four days a week for at least half an hour practice sessions so you're on the right track and then with the dowel when we in this practice we will be lying on our side and working pressure into the IT band so that's a thick band that is on the lateral line of the leg that attaches around the hip and the knee and it can be quite tender so I kind of rock right into it in the practice if that part is a lot of sensation for you you can blanket the dowel again so you can put a blanket over top of it make it softer and maybe I'll just show you that you can really lean back and out of it instead of putting all your body weight onto it so in the practice we go through it slowly enough that you'll get that but just know that you don't have to go all the way in and let ambition rule your experience so you can come out and just slowly ease into the pressure you've got lots of time to do these practices and they're a good length of time that you can fit them in and start to really see change they're in the tension that might be happening although some tension is healthy so well we will explore it together and I look forward to meeting you on the mat namaste hey yogis welcome to day three of our seven day challenge congratulations for making it

Chapter 2


this far and today we're doing one of my favorites the lateral line of the leg and the outer hip so all those yummy hip openers that your body will hopefully enjoy and for this practice you will need a ball of some sort and a dowel and maybe a blanket for underneath your hips to elevate your hips and we'll start with the left leg in front of the right with the feet slightly flexed and we'll do some side bending so take your right hand out to the side let your left arm come up and keep your ribs down and just get in there with your breath and lengthen out the exhale you can pin down your left hip switch gears to come into your practice today you might look up you might look down meeting your body where it's at and we'll come on up and over to the other side maybe looking down maybe looking up just enjoying that side stretch the breath washing through your tissue on that side come on up and it's helpful to walk your butt back here and then lean forward so you can take your elbows onto your knees and make sure your feet are a little flexed to protect your knee joints you can also walk your hands as forward as you like any amount and remember as long as you're feeling a good stretch you're breathing deeply into that you're feeling the release feeling the relief this is a great practice for after a long day on your legs standing for a long period of time maybe sitting for a long period of time and then we'll walk our way up here and we're just going to switch the cross of the leg so the right leg is in front little flexion through the feet and lean over to the right and open up that side bend take a deep breath in there come on up and over to the left inhale your way up and walk forward so elbows on the knees lean in maybe hands come to the floor and front walk your sit bones back as you try to reach your belly button over your shins so it's much more interesting in a forward fold if you get along rather than round so if you're feeling the rounding pattern see if you can drag your belly button forwards deep breaths it doesn't matter how low down you go it's more interesting how much length and space you can get but at the bottom of your stretch here maybe you let your head go and then roll it up and if you're sitting on a prop move that back and away and take your your butt to the far back of the mat and widen your feet here and you can flex up through your feet and we'll do these windshield wipers in a seated position so you bring your knees down and your shins down to one side and then the other and one hip is going to come off of the mat and that's perfectly fine so your your SI joints have this potential for this up slip and down slip and you can move through your hips in this way lifting up through the knees and shifting over to the side this is a nice way to warm up your hips will land with your right leg and external rotation and your left leg and internal rotation and then turn yourself so both hands come on to your knee and your ankle and then align your sternum over the center like bisecting the lower leg and start to walk your hands forwards at first and then maybe your elbows can come down and you it's almost like you're reaching your belly button over your shin so if you've seen the classic pigeon pose that hip opener this is just a little bit more of a forgiving way of getting into it with this back hip a little bit elevated it also allows you to really target your right hip by keeping this foot flexed and this angle at about a 90 degree so hopefully you're feeling that there in your outer hip of course you can come as low as you like and then we'll walk up out of this and shift all the way over to the other side and you can use your hands for this or you can do it without the hands it's just an added challenge there then starting to shift it's okay if your right hip is off and walking forwards into this flex your left foot come as low down as you like and if you're feeling congestion in this left hip joint maybe walk your left hip out to the left so it's that same cue we've been working with is that your sitting bones are widening out to the side and that helps to create space in the hip joints come down as much as you like here take a few deep breaths if you've been on your legs all day likely this is a lot of sensation so you can always back off or go in as much as you need and that's really the biggest question do I back off or do I go in anytime you need to you can let your exhale out of your mouth for some of us that's really releasing it's almost like the biology of letting go exhale out the mouth so come on up we'll come back to center here and you can take your hands on your knees and just round back round to the side it doesn't matter which way you go do a few spinal rolls rolling on your sit bones and you can end up hanging off your hands here and rounding and also arching and bringing your torso through your inner legs and then we'll walk to a downward dog at the front of the mat and pedal out your feet there and then maybe have a nice stretch back through your hands into your hips saying hello to this shape for today bring your feet together at the back of the mat inhale your right leg up and back behind you exhale bend your knee into your chest take your shoulders over your wrists and plant your right foot on the inside of your right hand back foot on an angle turning in at about 45 degrees inhale your way up to warrior one so shoulders can be our hands can be shoulder distance apart and your hips sink and you're turning your left hip forwards if it feels okay on your neck hands together and look up exhale will open into warrior two here so i always shift my back foot back a little bit make sure my front knee is over the second toe and the hips are just gently opening to the left side of the mat and look over your right hand here left hand down your left leg flip your right palm up and really light pressure on your bottom hand so you're not collapsing in this reverse warrior take your right hand up and back you might turn your left hip forwards a little bit to allow some more space in the pelvis inhale your way up exhale your right elbow to the knee and sweep your left arm in front of the face and up so from here even pressure in both the feet sit bones wide tailbone down and lift your left waist up a little bit and turn your right lung up good we'll circle our left arm down so both hands frame the front foot turn your back foot onto a pivot so it's no longer on an angle and then let your right leg come across the body and so you might have it low with your knee bent you can play with it quite high that'll make it more flavorful in the outer hip wherever you choose maybe a little bend in the knee and then we're going to bend our back knee and press from your hands back into your hips so you should feel the outer line of your right leg here and maybe you feel it somewhere else and that's perfect as well as long as it's not pain in the outer knee if it is bend a little bit more in your knees and soften that pull great then from here we'll take our right knee towards our right wrist and align the top of the foot with the knee so drop the back knee top of the foot on the floor so you're coming into an elevated hip pigeon pose and you might come up onto your fingertips and have a nice open chest here and then we'll come forward so just checking in that this is a good place for your knee joint it's okay if your hips are quite elevated and if you have the flexibility you can slide your back foot back and drop your right hip and we'll take a few breaths into this maybe there's a leaning side to side here maybe there's a dropping of the head you can also use your arms to your advantage by pulling the mat towards you and lengthening your belly button over your shin okay we're gonna come on out just a shortish visit tuck the back toe lift hips up and back into downward dog elongate the spine by pressing into your hands feet together at the back of the mat inhale your left leg up exhale it on the inside of your left hand plant your back foot on an angle hips sink as you come up warrior one one ground your back foot sink your sit bones and maybe the arms can come in front and you look up so there shouldn't be too much tension around your neck here so if there is move your hands more forwards good exhale into warrior two widen your stance maybe heel to heel alignment a little bit more sink the tailbone you can even think about your pubic bone moving up the line of the front of the spine right hand back left palm flips up and there's very light pressure here on your bottom hand you might turn your right hip a little bit forwards and then we'll take the left elbow to the left knee and sweep the right arm in front and get a nice long line here ribs in lift the right side waist could spread the bones of the pelvis circle that right arm down hands frame the front foot come on to a pivot on the back foot so the heel is elevated and let the leg come across the body and it's up to you high low bent wherever you end up when you bend your back knee and you press back with this crisscross you're going to probably feel a nice long lateral leg stretch exhale your left knee towards the pigeon align the foot with the knee back knee comes down top of the foot down come up there's a little puffy pigeon chest here for you and then walk it forwards and you can keep the hips elevated it's a short visit so don't worry about propping up here and then slide back and see if there's a little bit more of a drop and you can get through the hips one more breath hands come back under your shoulders tuck the back toe lift the hips from the pressure of your periphery there hands and feet feet together at the back of the mat inhale your right leg up exhale it on the inside of your right hand back knee comes down and then exhale and kick your right toes up round your spine a little bit and bow towards your front leg it's okay if your hips go a little bit behind your knee here come on forwards into your lunge and then back into this half splits pose and slide your heel forwards here keep a little bit of a bend in your knee a micro bend so that you're not overdoing it in the back of the leg and then try to slide your belly button long down your leg this might be enough for you or you could play with externally rotating this front leg a little bit turning the toes out or maybe a lot so as you can see i have a lot of mobility in this variation where i could put the outer foot to the floor but pause wherever you can and then forward fold a little bit i guarantee this will get easier with practice if you're feeling that pinching on the outer knee come up ease off you can also oscillate into it beautiful you can also walk your hands both hands on the outside of this leg but try not to kick your hips too far to the left oh that's really juicy right there okay we're gonna come forwards here cross your right leg in front of your left and walk your feet into a wide space away from each other so it's kind of like a triangle in between your knees and your toes and then we will shift back and forwards a little bit here so shifting back and forwards back and forwards maybe even circling through your hips sometimes i like to get an added stretch to the fascia of my hands and come up onto the knuckles like this i love this stretch press into the fingertips and get a bit more stretch through the hands as well and a bit more elevation with the hips all right so walk our hands we're gonna bring our feet a little closer so they're on the mat and tuck and come into a criss cross downward dog here this is so sweet i learned this from mary dana abbott and maybe start to straighten the legs yes uncross feet together at the back of the mat left leg up through back knee down and we'll oscillate back and forwards and back and forwards and then back and we will start to slide that left heel forwards i'm coming up onto my fingertips here to give me a little bit more space micro bend the knee it's almost like i'm digging my left heel down and dragging it towards me so there's a little bit of tone in the hamstring as i'm stretching it and then maybe play with that external rotation a little bit wow and then maybe a little bit of a fold lengthen lengthen lengthen the navel forwards try to keep the hips in their own corners so they're not shifting to the right and you can also walk your hands over and keep your sit bones nice and wide hands over and keep your sit bones nice and wide okay back to the center left leg in front feet wide creating that triangle back and forth you might try to take your knuckles to the floor and get that added hand stretch there might be a circle here for you some of you might even sit all the way down and you could stay there walk up forwards okay crisscross downward dog feet on the mat tuck toes reach back you might have your knees quite bent in your chest right on your thighs or it's possible to stretch back and ground the inner and outer of both of your feet so good there feet unwind and we'll come down onto the knees and just let the head hit the mat draining out through the head okay we're going to come on to our right side here and you'll need your ball and your dowel within your reach we're going to start with the dowel so coming onto your right side and you can prop yourself up on your elbow and then we'll take the dowel and lift up your knees and place it somewhere along the lateral line of your leg and just check out how much pressure you want to give that thick band of fascia there on your outer leg your IT band I'm rocking here which is a really nice way to get in there if this is too much already then you can place your left foot behind and rock with that one leg because it'll add a little bit of weight like this so rocking forwards and back and you can switch spots rocking forwards and back make sure your jaw is relaxed your pectorals are relaxed and the front of your hips are relaxed and I'm going to move it a little bit more down you could even out stretch all the way here that's really nice and restful and work into that thick band of connective tissue in my experience this pressure work works really well with fascia that's really thick so it's a different way sometimes it's hard to stretch this part especially around the hip and lower around the knee so I'm right up around the base of the hip now breathing in there you might find a sweet spot and stay and just like in any part of these practices you could hang out there for a while and just press pause but I am going to flip over and show the other side here okay so you might start with one foot behind rolling it to different spaces along the leg and if you find wow there's a really sweet spot then you might just hang out there out stretch your arm take a few releasing breaths elongated exhale letting go of some of that tension there and then when you come up and off there's that warm rush of fluid to that area hydrating the tissue so pick one more sweet spot I'm going to come a little higher up towards the hip breathe into that and then of course you can spend more time there but for now we'll roll onto our back and grab your ball so here take your right ankle in front and on top of your left knee and then draw that knee in towards you and if your head and your chin are tipping back and your chin is lifting and there's some tension in the upper back from this you can always put a prop underneath your head to elevate your head and I like that as well even though I might not need it as much it just feels so nice so then we'll draw the knee in and you can interlock behind the hamstring or on top of the shin and draw that leg complex in towards you one way I like doing this is opening up the angle of my left leg so it's a little bit more than a 90 degree and I feel like I can push my knee into my ankle a little bit better and actually actively use my left leg to support this stretch both hips are widening here and see if you can keep your sacrum the back of your pelvis plugged into the ground as you draw this knee in towards your chest then we'll drop the foot and lean over to the left side so you're exposing your right hip and then we'll take our ball and place it somewhere in the outer hip not on the bone of the sacrum but on the glute there on the outer glute and then lean over to that side and the external rotators are somewhere in there so you might find a pressure point right away or it might take you a little wiggling around to find a sweet spot and again when we're doing this pressure work see if it's possible to relax the muscles around where the ball is and it really helps to take a nice deep breath and exhale it all out some people will just want to stay here and then some people can rotate around the ball like this or even tip all the way over so that the left hip is lifted that's actually feels like it's too much for me but but maybe you might like it so I'm going to come back down with my left hip and just allow the weight of my body falling over to get a nice pressure in there nice deep breath see if you can stay with your breath and the sensations in your body rather than oh my gosh I definitely don't do this enough or my hips are so tight you're doing it we're going to come back up to center let that go feel that warm rush of fluid there straighten out your leg straighten out both your legs and just take a nice deep breath in there close your eyes exhale completely surrender and notice the difference on both sides and we'll move on to the other side so left ankle on top of the right knee draw it in flex the feet slightly interlock where you can maybe on top of the shin maybe you open up the angle of the right leg and use that pressure with your knee and if you're doing that you might not even have to grip with your hands and shoulders one more breath there relax your shoulders and then plant the right foot lean over to the right take the ball into a spot and lean back over so the ball on the other side is right in the tissue of the outer glute outer buttock find some sweet spots and just allow that to you just allow that sensation for you to be absorbed in that sensation what do you feel what do you hear what's happening right now now what a gift to be called into full presence here long exhales soften your jaw soften your fronts of your shoulders soften the fronts of your hips you can roll a little bit more over just to test it out if you like retreat or go back in circle remember if it's not pinpoint painful then and you're feeling that good itch sensation and you don't have to worry about getting it in the perfect spot so we'll release from that let the warm fluid rush back into that outer hip straighten out the leg just let yourself take up a lot of room nice deep breath in beautiful work exhale everything and we're ready for our final relaxation here so if you have a prop under your head you might want to keep it there or take it out dig your heels into the mat lift your pelvis drag your pelvis away from your head walk your shoulder blades a little bit in towards each other open your hands out stretch your legs let your pinky toe side of your foot get heavy let your thumb side of your hand get heavy deep breath in exhale everything and just land here noticing your body exactly as it is doesn't need to be fixed right now you don't need to be fixed or changed you don't need to be better you're just perfectly present with yourself attending to yourself for a few more breaths here take a big breath into your back exhale all the way out into your fingers and your toes reach your arms overhead stretch roll over onto one of your sides press your hands into the earth let yourself roll up to seated you did it day three so good so nice to be here with you see you tomorrow for day four namaste


Jenny S
4 people like this.
“WOW” is right! This one really hit the spot(s)! I’m just so grateful to Yoga Anytime for these constant gifts...and thank you, Lydia, you really know your craft 🙏🏻❤️
Lydia Zamorano
So happy Jenny! 
Love that you're doing this with me. 
Joan J
3 people like this.
Love the hip stretches, especially with the ball and  dowel.  Still having issues with the video stopping, but got through the entire session.  These are wonderful practices🏵🌾🌸
Christel B
Great 7 day series!  Getting into some nitty gritty areas of the body releasing tension; invigorating fasciae.
Lydia Zamorano
Christel Thank you so much for your feedback. Wishing you the best! 
Glenford N
1 person likes this.
Really enjoyed working with the ball on my glutes and experiencing the sweet spot. Wow.  I could feel everything. First time doing a cross legged downward dog. How inventive. You can teach an old dog new tricks. Thanks Lydia.  Namaste. 
Lydia Zamorano
Glenford Hi! I love the cross legged dog too! Namaste. Lydia 
Shaz D
1 person likes this.
Just popping in to say thank you. I've neglected practice (and me) for a while and have been training hard for a backpacking trip. I love, love, love the new tools and extra little tweaks I can add to my stretching toolkit and have enjoyed the videos so far.
Lydia Zamorano
Shaz so happy some of my road trip tools have supported you! Hope your back packing trip is full of freedom and adventure. Stay in touch! 
Catriona M
Hi Lydia - am loving this challenge! It’s very timely as I’ve just started hill training (in the sleet and rain) after 2 years away from running. So nice to come in from the cold and do these practices! I just completed this session straight after a run and it really helped a lot. My right hip often causes me problems so the ball is my new friend. Cross legged dog - who knew? Thanks so much, Cat
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