MAKING STRIDES WITH LEG STRETCHES
In these leg stretches the entire leg is extended As you practice and gain more flexibility, you will be able to eventually grasp hold of your lifted foot and maintain the full extension of your leg without bending your knee. Until then, the use of a yoga strap allows for the full extension of the leg without compromising with the need to bend your knee. I recommend that you always begin with the strap. I also recommend that you have the opposite floor leg foot against a wall as a reference point for keeping that leg working as well.
This practice may be done in a continuous flow with one side going through all variations or take each variation from left to right or right to left.
The use of a Yoga strap (any soft belt will do, even a towel works) around your foot until you eventually can grab your foot while keeping your knee straight.
Do this series near a wall where you can keep your floor leg extended with continuous contact with your foot to the wall.
Begin on your back. Bend your right knee keeping your right foot on floor close to the back of the right thigh. Lift your left leg as high as possible making sure to keep the knee straight or use a yoga strap around your left foot if you are unable to grab your foot without bending your knee. Don’t strain but feel the stretch of the back of your leg from the hamstring, back of knee, calve and Achilles. Maintain the length of your spine to the floor as you breathe slowly and deeply. Hold for one minute
Keeping your left leg lifted, knee straight, extend your right leg out in front of you and press your right foot into a wall (I prefer to have a wall to press my right foot against maintaining the awareness of that leg). Keep your left leg lifted and straight.
In this variation, you may need to adjust the strap of your lifted leg to keep the knee straight. Breathe… hold for one minute.
Take the foot (or strap) in your left hand; exhale as you take your left leg towards the floor on the left side, keeping the right side of sacrum down… Your left leg is still pressing against the wall. Hold for one minute.
On an inhalation, lift your leg and switch hands, now you are holding your left foot (or strap) with your right hand. Keeping your left sacrum on the floor take the left leg towards the right. This stretch is felt deep inside the left hip. Your left leg won’t go that far, but as long as the left sacrum is down you will be doing this correctly. Both knees are straight… hold for one minute.
Come back with your left leg to center and then bend the left knee into the chest, wrap your arms around your knees and hold for one minute. Extend your tailbone and the base your skull to the floor, breathe freely. Hold for one minute…
Stretch your legs out in front and bring your ankles together… Wow! Now you can really feel how your leg is longer than the other. You can also feel the warmth of energy flowing through one side different than the other.
Change and repeat on the other leg holding each variation for one minute….
Now you have a 10-minute yoga session that will give you the benefits of opening the energy of your entire body. In these asanas the pathway of energy that you are opening is the Bladder meridian. This Bladder meridian represents your “push” through life. It is the longest meridian in the body traveling down your back along both sides of your spine and down the back of both legs.
This sequence of postures can easily be practiced every day since we are constantly “moving ahead” and “pushing” through life.
@Shelley Piser 2007