Thigh Opening | iHanuman


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Thigh Opening

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This practice opens the thighs in preparation for backbends.

by: Beth Cholette
In this 80-minute audio class, yoga instructor Matt Harris leads his students through a series of postures targeting the thighs. At times, the poses specifically stretch this area, but at other times, Harris simply emphasizes an increased awareness of movement in and alignment of the thighs during the asana practice. To open the session, Harris instructs his students to have a block and a yoga strap handy; the block is used throughout the class, but the strap is used for the opening sequence only.To begin, Harris has the group rest, lying back with the block in a low position supporting the sacrum. Keeping the block in this position, he leads the class through a leg stretch series with the strap—use of the block shifts the emphasis from the hamstrings to the fronts of the thighs here—and finishes with half-hero’s pose. Next is the first of many downward-facing dog poses in this practice. Harris spends significant time on the cuing for three-legged down dog, focusing on the spiraling of the lifted leg downward and the extension of the leg backward. This pose is used to transition between the standing postures, which include high and low lunge, warrior 3, and lunge twist; Harris also works in a few cobra and locust variations.Harris starts the floor series with upright pigeon prep, adding a thigh stretch to this posture. Continuing the backbending work, he first has his students perform bow pose, and he then begins a long series of variations on camel pose. Harris has the class use the block between their feet, and he cues different methods for coming into the posture. He concludes this sequence with a sort-of one-legged camel pose, after which he has his students stretch out their bent legs in both standing splits and standing forward bend.At this point (17 minutes left), Harris has the class set up for about 6 minutes of partner work. Unfortunately, this does not lend itself well to the audio format: not only are most people following this practice at home likely to be doing so solo, but also Harris’s descriptions are quite visual here. The relaxation begins at approximately the 9-minute mark. Harris instructs his students to create a thin blanket roll which is used to support the legs in reclined cobbler’s pose. After allowing the class to rest in this position for some time, Harris cues them to come into savasana, and he eventually finishes the practice by bringing the group back to seated.This is a nice focused class that would be best suited for experienced beginners and above. It might be especially useful for runners or others whose thigh muscles tend to become especially constricted and tight.
Thigh Opening
Album Runtime: 
80 minutes
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