So I’m back from vacation, and none too happy about it. As soon as I got back to DC, my sinuses immediately revolted and my eyes started to itch like crazy. My stomach has been bothering me since yesterday and then I couldn’t sleep. Meh. So, right now, all I’d like to do is go back to bed.
However, once my body stops yelling at me for having the audacity to come back from vacation (kind of like how the cats knocked over an entire bag of dry food in protest), I know I’ll want some serious opening poses. My hips, hamstrings and back are all bunched up from traveling. Therefore, I present to you: Standing Split at the Wall. I can promise you that I will be busting this out later as soon as I stop feeling sorry for myself.
You’ll want to start a comfortable distance from the wall in a short-ish downward dog shape. What this means is that you should be able to comfortably touch the wall with your foot in three-legged dog (downward dog with one leg raised and your hips square). You want to ease into this. I have pretty long hamstrings so I can start quite close to the wall. However, busted hamstrings take forever to heal, so you want to err on the side of caution.
Make sure your hands are planted firmly on the mat or the floor in front of you. You can bend your knees if you need to. Then raise one leg up and place the ball of your foot on the wall. You may need to adjust your standing leg and hands here to find a doable position.
Work on straightening both your standing leg and the leg on the wall – play with squaring your hips forward and opening your hip – always moving slowly and mindfully. This is a powerful pose and if you get into it too quickly, you will be a very unhappy yogi.
Once your legs are straight, you can work on bringing the torso closer into the leg and relaxing the head down.
I didn’t get a picture of this, but as an extra bonus, you can work on bringing your standing leg closer into the baseboard of the wall. To accomplish this, you will need to shift your weight into your hands (and maybe walk them out a bit in front of you) and then push strongly into the wall with your raised leg. You should be able to then pick your standing foot off the floor a few inches (flexing it helps) and to move it closer into the wall. You can then readjust your hands and torso accordingly. This little trick builds strength for inversions too.
I like doing standing split at the wall because I get a lot more stretch than I would in the middle of the room. Legs are heavy and I can never hold mine up high enough to feel anything. That being said, you don’t get nearly as much leg strengthening in the wall version, so it is also important to practice standing split away from the wall.
What do you do to unwind from traveling? Let me know if the comments!