Too Tight to Stretch Artwork
Season 3 - Episode 3

Relief from Sitting

20 min - Practice


Are you sitting too much at your desk, in your car, on your couch? Kari leads a class to open the muscles in the front of the hips which can become tight from our seated modern lifestyle. We explore Bananas and Lunges, and support the pelvis over a block to coax the hip flexors to release and elongate. You will feel soft and open.
What You'll Need: Mat, Blanket, Block (2)

About This Video

Apr 14, 2022
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Hello, friends. Thank you so much for joining me here. In this practice, we're going to focus on our iliopsoas. It's one of our main hip flexor muscles. It's one of the only muscles that connects our legs to our spine, our upper and our lower body. And when we sit for long periods of time, it shortens, so we're going to open up some space. So you're going to need two blocks and a blanket for this class. And we're just going to start off setting our two yoga blocks at the top of our mat. And we're going to bring them to medium height and you can adjust that determining how your arm length fits. And we're just going to start standing feet hip distance apart. And we're just going to bring some awareness to that connection between upper and lower body. So I invite you to bring your hands towards the top of your hips and just start to feel into the crest of the pelvis, down through the feet and begin to lift up through the front of the ribcage, closing the eyes as that feels comfortable and just take a moment to land. Take a deep inhale through the nose. Nice big exhale from the mouth with a sigh. And with the hands on the hips, just begin a little side to side sway. Just start to feel into the hips and the pelvis and that side body. And then we're going to take that side to side sway and we're just going to begin to make small gentle circles, almost like you're doing a slow motion hula hoop. And we'll go around both directions. And again, I invite you just to really focus on that connection between upper and lower body and the space between the top of the hips and that bottom rib. And after you go around a few times, both directions will land back at center. And then we're going to cross our legs. So if you look down at your feet, you're going to bring your right foot to center and then allow that left foot to cross over the right foot. Take a moment to find your stability and then we're going to bring the hands back to the hips, rooted through that right foot. Begin to gently lean your torso to the right side. And you probably already feel a little bit of awakening here in that space. So this may be plenty for you today just to stay right here. But to take it a little bit deeper, we can start to lift up through that left arm and reach up to expand the left side body, left side ribs, take full breaths here. And then perhaps to take it a little bit deeper, that right arm is going to come up and join the left arm, interlacing the fingers and then just give a little bit more of a lean as much as feels comfortable for you. Big breaths into that left side lung. Inhale, release and uncross the legs. And then we're just going to switch. So look down at the feet, get solid through the left foot. And then we'll take right foot over left. Take a moment to find your stability, feel nice and grounded through that left foot, you can always hold on to a chair or the wall as well if this feels unstable. Hands to the hips to begin. And we're going to slowly lean over to the left side. And just feel into that space, the opening of the ribs and the waist, maybe staying here, or maybe bringing that right arm up all the way to the sky a little bit across the body. And then who if you lose your balance again, you can use that wall we can bring the hands together and allow ourselves to open a little bit bigger. Full big breaths. Inhale, lift back up to center. And with our exhale, let the arms release. We're now going to come forward to the top of our mats. And we're going to take those blocks again, to whatever height feels correct for you. And we're just going to start to drop down towards the blocks, bringing the hands feel into that forward fold for a few breaths. And then we're going to begin to walk the feet forward or backwards rather. So as we find our way here towards the shape of a supported hand downward facing dog, start to feel rooted and grounded through that left foot. And then with an inhalation, we're going to lift up through that right leg. Feel into that extension. I'll invite you to press your heel back towards the wall behind you. And then with an in breath, we're going to bend the knee and start to lift that knee up and open to the sky. Get a little bit more space there again between the ribs and the pelvis. Breathe into the waist. Soften the jaw and the neck. We'll rotate those hips back nice and square and then start to step that right foot forward. Take as much time as you need. Sometimes you need to grab your hand and encourage that foot to come along. And then we're going to take our blanket fold and we're just going to slide it right underneath so that when we drop down through this left knee, we have a nice soft landing zone. Go ahead and rise up through the torso. Feel into this. Big full breath in. Exhale with a ha. As you press that left knee down into the blanket, we're going to look behind us to the left foot. Go ahead and drop the tops of the toes. And then we're going to angle the foot and shin about 45 degrees across your yoga mat to the right side. And as you do that, you're going to feel that opening through the hip flexors, the waist and the ribs. So take a moment to stabilize here. Press that left knee down into the squishiness of the blanket. And then with an inhale, we're going to lift up through that left arm, bring it up over and gently across the body towards the right side, taking this as far as it feels comfortable for you. Big breath in here to that left side rib, left side lung. And then with our exhale, release the arm. Allow the shin to come back behind the knee. And then we'll bring our hands back to our blocks, curling left toes under, step right foot back to join it back into that supported down dog. Take a moment to pedal it out, side to side. And then we'll root down through that right foot, nice and solid, feeling strong and supported on the hands. Inhale, left leg back and begin to press that heel behind you. Feel that elongation almost like a friend is helping you along and bringing that heel a little bit further back. Give a bend into the knee. And with an inhale, start to rotate the knee open. Three-legged dog. Breathe into that spaciousness.

You can take this as far as feels comfortable and safe. And then we'll unwind leveling out the hips, lifting the gaze and bring that left foot forward. Let that right knee land into the softness of the blanket and begin to slowly lift up. Take a moment to feel into your alignment. Start to ground that knee down into the blanket as we drop the toes. And then we're going to look back behind, bring that shin and the foot across the yoga mat. As we press the knee down into the blanket, start to rise up through the chest, lift up through the ribs, right arm comes out, up, and as far over as feels comfortable and yummy for you. Really feeling that sense of elongating in two different directions, knee to the earth, ribs to the sky. Take an inhale, let that arm rise up, and exhale. Allow the arm to drop, shin and foot come back. This time we're going to step our left knee back to meet our right knee. So both knees are on the blanket. We're just going to return to that little hips sway that we started our practice with. Just to give a little lubrication, those hula hoops again, big full breaths. And then from here start to bring the hands behind the back. And as we bring the hands behind the back, begin to open up through the heart, rise up through the gaze, supporting that lower back. And then with an exhale, softly starting to bend the knees, send the hips back. And we're just going to begin to land down towards the shape of child's pose. Maybe your shoulders want to round, maybe the hands want to come up to the blocks, perhaps stacking the hands under the forehead and just see what feels right for you. Take a moment here just to reconnect with your breath. Take a few more breaths here in child's pose just to land. And when you feel ready, begin to gently rise up. We're going to bring the knees off that blanket, take the blanket off to the side. And we're going to transition onto our back. So we're going to use one block for this. So your second block can come off to the side of your mat. And then we're going to grab the remaining block and we're going to let it rest on top of our tummies as we come into a supine position. So just allow yourself to land nice and gently into the floor. Let that block rest on top of the belly. Allow the arms to soften and just start to reconnect with that low belly diaphragmatic breath. So that as you take an in breath, the belly rises and the block lifts. And a nice slow deliberate exhale as the belly falls and block lowers. Keeping that connection with that low belly breath. We're going to start to transition into a supported bridge. So walking the heels in a little bit closer towards the buttocks. We're going to take that block from the tummy as we root through the feet, lift up through the hips and we're going to set that block underneath the sacrum. Bringing that block typically at this wide level gives us a nice solid base for the pelvis. But if you like it higher, feel free as long as that feels stable. So take a moment to just kind of wiggle down through the pelvis and sacrum, feel into that support. And we're going to lift up through the right knee, giving it a gentle hug. We'll take that right knee side to side and then some gentle circles. Again, just encouraging a little bit of internal WD-40 into the hip. And then I'm going to hold my right knee with my right hand and open it out just gently towards the right side. So I'm kind of hugging towards my shoulder area outside of the ribs. And then we'll bring the knee cross body, let the left hand take a hold of the right knee and bring it slightly across to the left side. But make sure you still have a nice solid connection with the block at the pelvis. Come back to center.

We'll hug the knee with both hands and start to take the left leg long. Now, as you slide this left heel forward, you may not get all the way to straight. So listen to your body. There's no goal here. It's just about how it feels. Coaxing the hip flexors a little bit longer and longer as far as it feels comfortable and safe. Press forward through that heel and breathe back into that low belly. Diaphragmatic breath. There's actually connective tissue that connects the psoas with the diaphragm. So sometimes you can even tune into the subtlety of as you take a deep belly breath, you feel just a little bit deeper stretch with the left foot still active. Begin to lift that heel up away from the floor to about the height of the hip, about the height of your block. And then we're going to lift up that left leg all the way to the ceiling. Heel to the sky. Nice long left leg. That block is still supporting us. Soften the shoulders, soften the jaw. We'll bend into that left knee. Allow the left foot to drop. Right foot is going to drop to join it. Let the arms release. Take a nice big inhale. Exhale everything. Left knee lifts up into the belly. We're going to give that left knee a hug. That side to side knee sway to open up the hip. Nice little circling of the knee. And then we'll hold the left knee with the left hand. Open it out towards the left side of the body to widen through the groin. Bring the knee back to center. Bring right hand up slightly cross body. Give it a little bit of a hug there. And then back to center hugging with both hands. Start to inch that right leg forward as far as it feels comfortable. And start to press with the heel as you breathe into your length. Start to rise up through that right heel to about the height of the hip. Press forward. Feel the length of the leg. And then let an in breath lift that right leg all the way up and open towards the sky. Still hugging that left knee towards the belly.

Take another inhale. And exhale will soften the right knee. Let the foot return to the earth and then allow the left foot to join it. Pause back in our supported bridge allowing the palms to open. Feel into the effects. Tune into that low belly breath. And then we'll experiment. Keyword here is experiment with creeping both the legs long. At any point in time if this starts to feel punchy please come back to those bent knees. We never ever want to go into pain. So as we slowly creep both those legs forward feeling into that nice big spacious pelvis and belly. Go ahead and let the feet relax, the jaw relax. This may be plenty but as it feels safe and welcome maybe your arms are coming into play with a little bit of a cactus arm. Or maybe even stretching your arms back behind the head. Slow deliberate belly breaths. Feel into the supported back bend. Stay as long as you'd like. And then when you're ready arms are going to come back. Hands are going to come back towards the block on the floor. Feet walk back, knees bend. So we're going to start to come out of the bridge by walking the heels in a little closer. Root through the feet. Rise up. Go ahead and slide that block out and away. And then slowly lower the spinal column upper body. Mid back, low back, pelvis and lastly sacrum and tailbone. Opening the feet a little bit wider. Just a little toe heel of the feet out towards the edges of your yoga mat or maybe even beyond. See what feels good for your joints. And then allow the inner thighs and knees to come together to create this tent like shape through the legs. From here we're just going to let the left knee fall inward and downward towards the yoga mat. Let that left knee just gently fall open towards the earth. And then inhale back to center. We're going to let that right knee fall inward and downward towards the yoga mat and the left knee fall open towards the earth. And just take this a few times side to side. HUD can roll naturally and intuitively. Start to release anything that that's so as may still be holding. As we take it over to the right side this next time we're going to stay in the shape. This may be plenty of a stretch but to take it a little bit deeper if you want a little bit more sensation you're going to lift that left or that right ankle rather up on top of the left thigh and knee. And you're just going to use it like a little sandbag to deepen this opening through the left side waist, left side so as. We'll release the heel, inhale back to center and we'll take it over to the left side. Both knees dropping left. Staying here or lifting that left heel and letting that left heel and ankle come on top of the right thigh and knee to feel into that space. Releasing the heel, inhale back to center. Nice big open mouth exhale everything. Working our way towards Shavasana. Let the legs go long. I'll invite you to give a little bit of space here. Letting the feet open a little bit wider to just really encourage that sense of surrender, palms to the sky. Finding a little bit more spaciousness in the mouth as you gap through your molars. Heavy through the tongue. Allowing yourself to drop to stillness. Resting here as long as your day will allow. And to come out we'll start to wiggle our fingers and toes, start to step those feet slowly back to the mat. We'll roll gently to our side. And in your own time rising up towards the seat. And as we rise up towards the seat, take a moment to allow yourself to land. Bring the hands to the heart. And I invite you to call to mind something you're grateful for in this moment. And I am grateful to all of you for joining me today. Namaste.


Gwen H
2 people like this.
Hi Kari, so great to be practicing again with you on YogaAnytime!  This simple relief from sitting practice is perfect after long work days sitting at the computer. I will return to it many times in the future. 
Kari Sims Anthon
Gwen H thank you so much Gwen! So happy you found some relief. I am honored to practice with you! 
Lea M
2 people like this.
This practice was just what I needed today.  My hips are saying thank you!
Kari Sims Anthon
Lea M your hips are thanking you for showing up! Hope to practice again with you soon :) 
Sandra Židan
I am grateful for this beautiful practice! Thanks, Kari! Namaste! 💖🌺🌼
Kari Sims Anthon
Sandra Židan I hope it brought you some relief! Namaste
Rachel H
1 person likes this.
Thank you so much... amazing practice  x
Kari Sims Anthon
Rachel H Thanks so much for joining me! Hope to practice with you again soon!
Fernanda O
1 person likes this.
Great practice, I am felling the relief in my bottom. That’s what I was looking for. Thank you
Rosanna S
2 people like this.
That was absolutely wonderful. The perfect amount of gentleness and movement for someone recovering from illness! I'm grateful to you!
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