Keepin' it Real Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 6

Strong Legs, Open Hips

25 min - Practice


Build a solid and spacious foundation. Robert guides us in a dynamic and accessible practice that targets the hips, hamstrings, and groins. We move progressively faster, incorporating lazy pigeon, deep lunges, Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior 2), and sumo squats to promote increased strength, stability, flexibility, and inner focus.
What You'll Need: Mat

About This Video


Read Full Transcript

(ocean waves hitting the shore) Hey, there, how you doin'? This is Robert Sidoti. Welcome to Yoga Anytime. This is a 30-minute sequence that will incorporate some warrior poses, some deep lunging, a little bit of pigeon. It's basically geared to get into your hips, groin area, stretch your hamstrings out, and probably a lot of other things, but that's what we'll call it.

Let's call it hips, hamstrings, and groin. Alright, so what I'd like you to do is start by... This is what we call Lazy Pigeon, okay. So it's not the full version. What I'd like you to do is start like so.

Alright. If you start like so, feet pretty wide. This is hip width. Go like six inches at least on each side. Hands back behind you.

Set this up. It's important because I think ideally sets you up for the pose that we're heading into first, okay? Try this. Simply going like so, okay? Now, bring it back up.

Try the other side. Here, breathe in. Bring the breath into play, right? So you breathe in. Breathe out.

Breathe in. Breathe out. You got that going on. Try this. It becomes a little bit more of like you have to kind of brace your core to do it.

Arms up, exhale. Inhale to center. Exhale, get it? Inhale and exhale. If it's too difficult to do that, keep your hands back behind you and kind of flow back and forth like so.

And you know, there's all sorts of variations you can take. This is the first, this is kind of like the warm up so if there's like some arm variations you'd like, go for it. But what we're doing here is setting up for what's called Lazy Pigeon. So here, hone, breathe in, breathe out, okay? Left leg is bent.

Maybe it's a right angle, maybe a little less of a degree here, maybe that's at 45 degrees. Now take your back leg, your right leg and bring it back just a little bit, okay. Check in, how does that feel? It's not gonna get any better from here so make sure that you're all right here, alright? Now here, what feels good, the first stretch, you could do a couple different ones but let's stick to simple here.

Lift the chest to breathe in, and then as you breathe out, fold the front side of your body over your inner left thigh. Keep the left foot active. Check in with the knee, make sure it feels all right. Now here, you might want to stack your fists. Rest your head.

With the body over the inner thigh, most likely you might be feeling it, outer edge of the left thigh, glute, IT band, okay, similar to pigeon. Now if you take yourself up out of the pose, this is where I want you to explore, and then we'll spend five breaths in your choice, space. You move your body over a little bit. Hold over your calf or ankle. That's going to be a completely different sensation.

(exhale) Now begin to bring the breath into play. This is 30 minutes, so I want you to, right now, begin to really cultivate that attention to the breath and how it works in each, every posture. I prefer the first one, let's go a couple breaths. If you don't feel it, if you don't really understand what's going on, figure it out. Rule out, be curious.

Curiosity in your own self-practice is money. It really does help. Come back up and ideally, you shoot back, situate the legs like you had it before, and come over to the other side. Exhale, fold the body over the inner thigh. Find your choice spot.

It could be more over the calf or ankle. It could be over the inner thigh. Set yourself up, rest your head. Take a few very deliberate stilled breaths. Breathing in through your nose.

Breathing out through your nose. I usually like to keep the breath really simple, right? Inhalation through the nose. Exhale through the nose, or the mouth. Alright, come back up.

Keep in mind, right, this whole practice, this 30 minute practice is really about trying to get to the point of flow. So when I'm doing this on my own, it's here and then I come back over, and then I go here, alright. I just kinda like work and feel my way through each and every pose, and you'll see how this is integrated into the latter part of the sequence, okay? Here ya go, that's that. Now you come up.

Start with the left, okay? Go ahead and make your way back over. Send that right leg back and prop yourself up. Set yourself up for that left leg to come forward. We want to kinda get warmed up in the hips, get that deep, low lunge happening.

Both hands on the inside of the left foot, send that back knee back. Open up the left knee, find more space. Come down to the forearms. What I encourage you to do is close your eyes, move around, and explore. If you find one spot that feels good, stay there.

Usually the spot that seems a little angry or tense might deserve a little bit extra attention. Finish off there. Come back up. Go ahead now, right, begin to lift. Curl the back toes, lift that back knee.

Go ahad and just travel all the way back over to the other side. So right foot forward, knee up over the ankle, left knee back. Open the knee. Find the left forearm down possibly, maybe the right, and just stack your fists. Sway side to side.

Keep the breath flowing, and notice, too, right, it's really important as you're moving in and out of these poses that really present a lot of tension that you don't tighten up completely. (exhales) Really do what you can. Do everything you can to only, right, engage where you need to engage. Let go of all the other tension. Okay, we're pretty skilled at that, usually as people these days, I think.

Okay so you've got the lunge, right? Now we're gonna do it on the other side one more time. Basically what you want to do is curl the back toes. Bring that right knee in, lift the left knee. Walk it over.

Bring the knee down. Curl, lift. Drop. Here. Drop.

See how sometimes I'm uncurling. Sometimes I'm keeping the back toes curled. It's up to you. Here, lift the back knee. Keep your spine long, you can look up.

I'm looking right at you. Bring it over, set it down. Okay. Now lift the back knee. We'll set it up, right.

It's important that we set it up kinda meticulously. Let's start on this side. We want to make sure that your right knee during this movement, and your left when we're on this side, doesn't cave in, doesn't flare out too far, and it doesn't go too far forward and your heel lifting. Keep the bottoms of your feet firmly grounded down, like you're building anything, you wanna build it from the ground up. Start like so.

You can even put it at a little angle, a good sized angle actually on that right foot now. The back foot is like a Warrior Two. Come up onto your fingertips. Deep stretch inner thigh, inner left thigh. Abductor region.

Your right thigh is working hard right now. Feel that stretch around the knee, right, quads. Now here, cruise on over and set it up on this side. So now you've got that back foot grounded down, the outer edge of that foot firmly grounded. A little bit of an angle on that left foot.

Now here, hands free. Here, switch the feet. Exhale. Now you breathe in, and as I'm breathing in, I'm kinda moving and shifting my feet, and as I exhale. Breathe in, stay low, and breathe out.

Now we're gonna transition into Warrior Two so come back over. Get your set up, okay. Heel, front heel to the back heel, pretty safe. Front heel to the back arch, safe. You check it out.

You can go a little wider, see how that feels. We're all built differently. It's really hard to say it's one way or the other, okay. But what is important, feet buried. Knee, guide it toward the left pinky toe.

Now we've been in this lunge for awhile. What I want you to do now is straighten that left leg for a moment. Give it a little relief. Take a breath in and now a nice long exhale to help kinda ground you into Warrior Two. Let the arms spread out.

Bend your back knee a little bit. This will help free up your pelvis just a little bit. So many times we get locked up here and then the pelvis is tipping forward and your belly's tipping forward and then there's this action. Bend it quite a bit and extend that tailbone down. That way you keep tight here.

Keep controlled, tight, use your power here, okay? Strong. Exhale. Arms up. Turn the palms up.

Pull the shoulder blades toward one another so your back is strong, back is engaged fully. Turn the palms back over (deeply exhales) Now it's a strong, very powerful pose. I'm gonna have you hold it for just a few more breaths. See about not grunting and gripping in every part of your body. Where can you actually, right now, keep this pose, keep it as strong as you can, yet, it looks effortless, try that.

Like if you imagine first off if you took a snapshot of your face right now, what does it look like? Check in with that. Inhale, bring the arms up, straighten that front leg, and as you exhale, back foot, ah 90 degrees, I guess. Turn the front foot, get the set up and exhale. Now we have to hold this for a little while, right?

Let's stay five or six breaths. Knee over to the right, strong grounding, like ground down, you can even close your eyes. This is where you start to gain that skill I keep talking about. Close your eyes and go inward, explore from the inside out where your feet are, what's engaged, What can be released. Remember that back knee, tailbone, core braced.

Shoulders up over the hips. Powerful, yet relaxed. Okay. Traditionally in Warrior Two, well, not traditionally, but commonly, you'll hear "gaze over the right middle finger." That's very accurate also. Okay, so you can take that gaze.

One more big breath, one more humongous, nutritious breath. Now inhale and we'll transition two or three times, Warrior Two. (exhales) That's the exhale. Inhale and exhale. (exhales) Breath in (inhales) and breathe out (exhales). One more time, breathe in (inhales) and (exhales) all right.

Bring those arms up, straighten the front leg. Point your toes toward that way, whichever way that way is for you, alright. Take a breath here, that's a lot on the legs. My legs are shaking a little bit. Here's the movement, come along with me.

So you're gonna take the feel like you would in Warrior Two, but maybe minimize it just a little bit. Okay, now open the toes out wide. Not too crazy wide, but just a little bit. Now the knees, as you begin to drop your seat down, take the knees wide, okay, keep those knees wide toward the pinkies on each side. Now extend your tailbone down.

What I don't want to see is this. What we want to work on is almost as if your back body was sliding down a wall, okay? Knees wide, feet grounded, tailbone extended down, core alive, okay? Now come on down, just come forward, or up and down a couple times. Warm up for the movement.

Okay (exhale). Alright, so the movement is like this. Take the arms up. Keep that foot placement. Inhale, now exhale, palms to the chest.

Squat down as deep as it makes sense for you. Right around here probably feels good for me. Okay, knees wide, knees wide, knees wide. Healthy knees. That's the exhale, alright.

Inhale, stay low, fingers spread wide. Now turn the palms up. Make a fist and create your resistance on the exhale. Pull (exhales), that's the exhale. You're creating resistance.

Make a fist, flex the biceps, brace your core. Be strong here, okay. Now inhale, come up. Exhale, palms to the chest. Sit in squat, stay here, inhale, exhale.

Three more rounds. Inhale, exhale (exhales). Inhale, exhale (exhales). Inhale, exhale. Two more.

Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in, and breathe out. One more time. Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in and slow exhale.

Breathe in and stay tall. Palms to the chest, exhale. (exhales) Good job. Bring your feet, keep 'em wide. Heel toe them just a little bit more narrow. Softly bend the knees.

That's a lot of squats. So now we're gonna fall forward and get a little relief. Stretch the hamstrings down a little bit. Soft on the knees here. Exhale forward.

Move side to side. Keep the breath super open. It's the time now to kind of restore. Even though that's slow and deliberate, it's really asking a lot of you, or a lot from you you. Keep the focus, keep that attention to engage in areas where you may not be used to.

Use muscles that you may not be used to. Okay, stay low, right. You don't want to just come right up. You may pass out. Bring the feet in a little closer.

Now open up the feet and press for a little deep squat. Malasana action here. Press the elbows into the knees. Press the knees out wide. Keep the chest up.

An option here that's really helpful is if you have a rolled up mat or a blanket or something that will life your heels up, you can press your heels down, it will definitely make this pose a little bit more available. What you want to make sure also is that you... If you have your heels lifted and just spaced, like so, right, it's going to be a lot harder. Look how much I'm shaking, right, so find a stable environment for your heels and drop down. (deep exhale) A couple breaths. (inhale and exhale) Keep the spine long.

Keep pressing the elbows into the knees to keep them out and open over the pinky toes as much as you can. Smile (laughs). Sometimes we come into this pose and it just presents so much tension in that I can just grit everywhere. I'm feeling it right now. I'm doing everything I can also to like (exhales) soften and relax into those areas where it's just not necessary.

It's not going to help you squeeze, right? Let it go. (deep exhale) Right now, you're like, "How much longer are we holding this?" Probably three breaths. Take one more deep breath in. Hold it for a moment and let a big exhale out.

(deeply exhales) Alright. Let's do this. Go ahead, bring your hands down. Oh, oh, oh, oh. Come down to your knees for a moment.

Okay, so now that we've come out, wow. That's a lot, right? It's a short period of time, but we're working really deep on hips. It's a lot of movement and it's also a lot of strength you're using to hold yourself up, to move skillfully side to side, so take a few moments and move into Tabletop, okay? Hands and knees.

With all the lunging and all the deep squatting, let's open it up now into Downward Dog. Okay, let's take five breaths in Downward Dog. So curl the toes under. Lift up, and get the hips side to side bringing a little bit more stretch and length to the back of the legs. Bend the knees and exhale.

Straighten until it feels all right. Breathe in, breathe out (exhales). Set the knees down. Try bringing the knees about as wide as the mat to start. We'll do two different versions of Child's Pose, and I'll tell you why.

So bring the toes to touch, seat back, and rest your head either on the mat. Stack your palms. Stack fists. Take a few quiet breaths. It's rare that we're able to, or that we're disciplined enough to, to take time out during the day for quiet, when we're not looking at a screen.

We're not feeling like we have to do something. We always feel like we've got to do, do, do, so if you can just even take these next few breaths to appreciate not doing much, really. Stay here or we'll switch it up just a little bit. Try and bring... Come out of the pose and bring your knees closer together.

This will immediately bring a little, it's a little more difficult for your stomach to expand, right, so your breath may be compromised a little bit, but it may feel really good for some. And the other thing that it does, we haven't done any major deep, deep extension work in the spine, but it does help to provide a sense of flexion, which might feel good. Hold on to your heels and draw the forehead down with the shoulders. If that doesn't feel good, find some way to release the tension in the shoulders. Stay there as long as you'd like or come on out into a seated position.

Can't really do enough Child's Pose, or too much Child's Pose. I mean, you could do too much if that's all you did all day long, and then you wouldn't get anything done. There's no balance there. What you'd like to do now is up to you. Stay in Child's Pose or join me here to close out.

Come to a seated position. Sit up nice and tall. Take a few moments to possibly feel grateful for your health. Even if you didn't feel great during these movements, right, you felt kind of terrible even doing some of them, and you're angry because you're injured or you can't do something, can you actually, can you just switch that for just a moment, switch that, you know, where we're so easily, to go down that negative spiral. Can you actually turn it around, make it a little bit more positive.

End on a positive. I'm healthy enough to be here on my mat doing whatever you were able to do today. Just try it, I know it's hard. Good, lengthen your spine. Again, gratitude.

Your breath, your body, the TV you have in front of you, or your computer screen, all of the things you have, not what you don't have. That's it, just take a moment. Exhale everything out. (deep exhale) Thank you. Until next time, have an awesome day, evening, wherever you are. See ya next time, peace.


Samantha F
3 people like this.
Very nice practice, clear instructions and a good pace, enjoyed very much. Thank you.
Heidi K
2 people like this.
I really liked this sequence ! Thank you .
Lianne M
3 people like this.
thank you I really enjoy your instructions as they are so clear and easy to follow.
Joe M
2 people like this.
loved it! cheers heaps mate, look forward to continuing this, an awesome way to start and/or finish the day! thanks so much!!!
Frederic M
1 person likes this.
Great flow, thanks Robert!
Aditi M
1 person likes this.
You really kept it real and simple, yet, a strong practice! Loved it!
Heike S
1 person likes this.
Thank you for your Instructions.
It makes me easier to understand how men work in a yoga class and how they feel their hips
Dawn A
2 people like this.
This was a great way to start my day. I have bad knees and  practicing this routine will be a great way to strengthen them. If you have any other suggested videos for knee opening and strengthening, please let me know. Thank you! BE LOVE
2 people like this.
Hi Dawn ! Ashley here from Yoga Anytime, we definitely have a few classes with that focus — I'll send you a private message with some suggestions!
Robert Sidoti
Hey there Dawn ! I'm so happy you joined me here and that you feel it was helpful for you! I hear you on the knee situation - from the many years playing lot's of sports, I feel the knees crying out at times :) When you say 'bad knees', I'm not really sure how best to prescribe best practices for you. I can say from experience in taking care of my own knees (and body), building strength around the joint is key! I do a lot of work in strengthening my quads, hamstrings and glutes, this has been a game changer in staying fit and pain free. I hope this and what Ashley-Marie Olgado offered you is helpful in moving forward! Have a beautiful day! Robert
1-10 of 17

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