If your hips and hamstrings are feeling tight, grab a chair! These poses, inspired by Adi Amar’s new class Forward Bends for Mental Health and Wellbeing, use a yoga chair to target tight hamstrings, stiff hips, anxiety & mental fatigue all at the same time.
To practice, you’ll need a few props: a folding chair and a couple of blocks or a stack of books. If you don’t have a folding chair you can still practice the first pose with any chair in your home or office!
Wide-legged Seated Forward Fold
This forward fold is a great way to leave your to-do list behind and drop into the sacred space of your yoga practice. You will notice your anxiety quieting right away, and the longer you hold the pose for, you’ll enjoy a deep hip opening, too!
To practice, sit with your bum to the back of the chair and your feet positioned on the floor, wider that hip distance. Line up your knees above your ankles and make sure your knees are pointing in the same direction as your toes. Then, fold forward, resting the crown of your head on a stack of blocks.
Forward Fold to Open the Psoas, Hips and Hamstrings
Your hips and hamstrings will thank you! When the psoas, a deep hip flexor, gets tight, the lower back can feel tight, too. Tightness in the legs can also contribute to low back pain. This forward fold targets all of these areas, resulting in more freedom in the spine.
To practice, fold your chair, facing the bottom of the seat away from you. Position the top of the chair’s headrest just below your frontal hip points. Check that your feet are hip distance apart and give a slight micro-bend to the knees. Then, fold forward, relaxing your head and neck but keeping your legs strong and alert.
Supported Pyramid Pose
This variation of pyramid pose will leave your hips and hamstrings feeling longer and more open than ever before! You will most likely feel a significant stretch in your hamstrings; the hip opener works more subtly within the deeper hip flexors.
To practice, align your legs for pyramid pose and position the top of the chair’s headrest just below your frontal hip points. Give a slight micro-bend to the knees. Then, fold forward, relaxing your head and neck but keeping your legs strong and alert. Hips should remain square towards the front of the mat.
Practice “Forward Bends for Mental Health and Wellbeing” on YogaToday. Your first two weeks are always free.