Strengthen your core, free your hips, work on your balance and open your heart in this creative yoga sequence by Esther Ekhart
1) Child’s pose with extended arms
Come into Child’s pose, either with the knees together or a little apart. Rest your forehead on the ground or on a block and stretch out your arms. Take a few deep, centering breaths.
2) Downward facing dog
Press your palms into the floor, tuck your toes and press your hips up and back into Downward Facing Dog. If your hamstrings are tight, keep your knees bent and focus on lengthening the spine from the crown of your head to your tailbone.
3) Three legged downward dog
Lift the right leg slowly with the toes turned down. Try to lift from the inner thigh so that the hips stay level. Press evenly into both hands and press the top of the left thigh back.
4) Core plank
Come high onto the ball of your left foot and curl the right knee into the chest, drawing the belly towards the spine and rounding the back as you do so. Try and stay here for three breaths.
5) Crescent lunge
Step the right foot towards the right thumb and come into a Crescent lunge. Stack the right knee over the right ankle, draw the hips points up and lengthen the sides of the waist as you reach your arms up into the sky. Lift the sternum, soften the shoulders and press the left thigh up and back.
6) Lizard pose
Place both hands on the inside of the right foot and turn to the right, aiming your left ear to the ground and keeping the spine long. You can turn your right toes out a little if it helps create more space in the hips.
7) Open twist to right
Keep your left palm pressing down and take an open twist to the right, lifting the right arm as you do. Draw the right hip slightly back to prevent it from ‘winging’ out and keep length in both sides of the neck – particularly the left side as the left shoulder likes to creep up towards the ear!
8) Crescent lunge
Take the weight into the feet and return to Crescent lunge.
9) Twisted lunge
Bring your palms together at the chest and twist to the right, taking the left elbow to the outside of the right knee or placing it on top of the thigh above the knee. Again, draw the right hip slightly back and imagine you’re leaning back against a wall to keep space in the front of the chest.
10) Crescent lunge
Return to centre and lift arms above the head for another Crescent lunge.
11) Core plank
Frame the right foot with the hands and lift the right foot, keeping the knee close to the chest in Core plank.
12) Three legged hip opener
Raise the right leg upwards and keep lifting the leg until the right hip stacks over the left. Bend the knee and imagine you’re reaching the right heel towards your left shoulder. Try and keep the right shoulder level with the left. You could also try externally rotating the top of the left thigh to keep space in the hips.
13) Wild thing
Either stay where you are in Three Legged Downward Dog or take the right foot all the way over towards the ground. Land gently on the ball of your right foot and come into Wild Thing, pressing your hips up and opening the front of the body. You can place your right hand on your heart or stretch it out long, rotating the little finger inwards to retain more stability in the shoulder socket.
14) Downward facing dog
With control, take the right arm and leg back up and over and return to Downward Facing Dog.
15) Extended child’s pose
Rest in Child’s pose before repeating the whole sequence on the left.
Try it out!