This is a basic sequence working on the spine, hips and legs in a balanced way. Proceed slowly and carefully, listening to your body as you come to an appropriate edge, where the stretch sensations are moderately stimulating and NOT a painful struggle. Be especially cautious with any sharp, burning and electric quality of pain near joints. For beginners, each pose can be held for up to 3 mins, gradually extending the time to 5 mins with regular practice. Coming out of the pose early or modifications may be necessary, and the guidance of a qualified yoga teacher is advisable.
From a seated position, bring the feet together and then slide them away from you until you form a diamond shape with your legs. Bend forwards from your hips and allow your spine to round, resting your forearms on the floor. Allow your head to hang down towards your feet arches.
Target areas: stretch to inner thighs, outer hips, and entire back.
Sit cross-legged then slowly bring the left knee on top of the left. When the left leg is on top, the weight will be shifted slightly more towards the right sitting bone. Try to ground through the entire pelvis as you round the spine forwards. Rest the hands or forearms on the floor in front of you. Remember to repeat the pose on the other side, with the right knee on top of the left.
Target areas: stretch to low back, outer hips and thighs, compression in groin region.
Lie on your belly and prop yourself up on your forearms with the elbows directly under or slightly forwards of your shoulders. Keep the chest slightly lifted and the chin slightly tucked in to lengthen the back of the neck. The legs are relaxed with the feet about hips-distance apart.
Target areas: mid to low back compression.
Sit with legs straight out with feet about hips-distance apart. Allow the knees to bend slightly (or supported on a bolster) as you round your spine forwards, bringing your front lower ribs as close to your thighs as possible. Relax your arms by your sides and keep the head and neck in line with your spine.
Target areas: stretch to entire back, hamstrings and calves.
5. Reclining Twist
Lie on your back with both knees bent. Shift your hips slightly to the right before lowering both knees to the left. Keep your right shoulder blade on the mat as you form a twist in your spine. Rest your right arm with the elbow bent at a right angle on the floor next to your head. Remember to repeat the pose on the other side.
Target areas: rotation stretch to mid and low back, stretch to right hip and right chest areas.
6. Legs Up The Wall
Sit up with the right hip against the wall then swivel to lie on your back, sliding both legs up the wall. Have the buttocks as close to the wall as possible with the sacrum resting on the mat. You may wish to add padding to the back of the head.
Target areas: Gentle stretch to back of legs while allowing the spine to be relaxed.
Finish the sequence by hugging the knees to your chest then turn to one side before sitting back up.