If You Lift Weights, This Yoga Sequence Is a Must

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Whether you work out at a CrossFit box or you lift heavy at the gym, your tight muscles could use some extra love to not only prevent injury but to ease sore muscle pain as well. This 17-pose sequence will target all the major muscle groups, so your body feels more flexible and open.

Three-Legged Dog

  • From Downward Facing Dog, step the feet together so your big toes are touching. Keeping the left heel on the mat, inhale to raise your right leg in the air.
  • Hold here for five breaths with the shoulders parallel to the floor.

Arching Three-Legged Dog

  • From Three-Legged Dog, bend the right knee. Actively squeeze your right heel in toward your hip, lifting the knee high.
  • Lift your head up, and turn to look over your left shoulder, arching the spine.
  • Hold here for five breaths, keeping the belly still and breathing into the chest.

Low Crescent Lunge

  • From Arching Three-Legged Dog, step your right foot forward, lowering the left knee to the floor.
  • Inhale to raise the arms up, sinking the pelvis toward the floor to intensify the stretch in the hips.
  • Enjoy this pose for five breaths.

Open Lunge Twist

  • From Low Crescent Lunge, plant your left palm on the floor underneath your shoulder.
  • Raise your right arm into the air, and reach it behind you to open the chest and shoulders.
  • Hold here for five breaths.

Extended Side Angle

  • From Open Lunge Twist, lower your right palm to the little-toe side of your right foot.
  • Lift the back knee off the floor, and deepen the stretch on the left side of the body by extending your left arm over your ear, creating a straight line between the left toes and left fingertips.
  • Hold here for five breaths.

Half-Bound Squat Prep

  • From Extended Side Angle, step your left foot forward so you’re in a Wide Squat.
  • Lower your right shoulder as far as you can underneath your right shin, reaching your fingers out to the side.
  • Put some weight into your right palm, so you can shift weight back into your heels and balance equally on both feet.
  • Reach your left arm into the air, gazing toward your lifted hand to encourage your spine to twist a little more.
  • Stay like this for five deep breaths.

Tipover Tuck

  • From Half-Bound Squat Prep, release your left hand to the floor in front of you. Walk your feet in so they are hip distance apart.
  • Slowly straighten the legs, keeping the torso folded on the thighs.
  • Interlace your fingers behind you, pressing the heels of the palms together in a double fist. Actively pull your hands away from your shoulders to increase the stretch in your chest.
  • Lean your weight forward into the toes, holding for five breaths.

Toe Breaker Pose

  • From Tipover Tuck, release the hands and kneel on the floor with the toes tucked.
  • Slowly lower your pelvis to your heels. You can even lean back a little to increase the stretch in the quads.
  • Breathe deeply for five breaths. If this is too painful, put less weight on the heels by lifting the hips off the heels.

Camel

  • From Toe Breaker Pose, sit up so you’re standing on the shins with the toes pointing behind you.
  • Reach your right hand back toward your right heel, and then reach your left hand toward your left heel. Your hands are there for balancing support, so don’t lean all your weight into them.
  • Shift weight forward into your knees to increase the stretch in your quads, belly, and chest.
  • Lower your head behind you, and stay here for five breaths.

Butterfly

  • From Camel, sit on the ground, bending both knees and bringing your feet together.
  • Using your hands, open your feet up like a book. Rest your elbows against your inner thighs, or walk your hands out in front of you.
  • Enjoy this hip-opening stretch for five breaths.

Seated Forward Bend

  • From Butterfly, straighten the legs out in front of you.
  • Slowly hinge at your hips, lowering your torso toward your thighs. Maintain a straight back and fold as far as you need to feel a nice stretch in your lower back and hamstrings. Don’t worry about folding your body completely in half, unless this is comfortable for you.
  • Stay like this for five deep breaths.

Head to Knee

  • From Seated Forward Bend, bend your left knee, and pull the sole of your foot against your right inner thigh.
  • Sitting with a tall spine, reach both hands to your right leg or all the way to your toes if you can. Stack your torso on top of your right thigh, trying not to round your back.
  • Stay here for at least five breaths, relaxing your shoulders away from your ears.

Half Wheel

  • From Head to Knee, roll onto the back. Bend both knees, and plant the soles of the feet on the mat directly under the knees. Try to keep the feet parallel.
  • Interlace the hands in a double fist, and gently rock the upper torso from side to side to bring the shoulder blades closer together.
  • Actively press into the feet and head to lift the pelvis, holding here for five breaths.

Happy Baby Pose

  • From Half Wheel, release your hips to the floor.
  • Bend both knees and hold onto the outside edges of your flexed feet with your hands. Keep your arms on the outsides of your legs.
  • Gently use your upper-body strength to equally press both knees to the floor below your armpits. Try not to tense your shoulders or chest, but keep everything relaxed.
  • Stay like this for five deep breaths.

Seated Straddle

  • From Happy Baby Pose, rock yourself up and extend the legs wide in a straddle position.
  • Slowly hinge at your hips, lowering your torso toward the floor. Fold as far as you need to feel a nice stretch in your back and hamstrings. Don’t worry about folding your body completely in half, unless this is comfortable for you.
  • Stay like this for five deep breaths, resting the hands on the legs, toes, or floor in front of you.

Bow Pose

  • From Seated Straddle, come onto your belly. Bend your knees, and hold onto the inside or outside edges of your ankles.
  • Once you have a firm hold of each ankle, try to keep your toes together, either pointing or flexing your feet.
  • Lift your feet as high as you can, and shift weight forward, so you’re resting on your navel instead of on the pubic bone.
  • Hold for five deep breaths.

Extended Locust

  • From Bow Pose, release the ankles and extend the arms and legs, lifting your feet and hands as high as you can, breathing deeply for five breaths.
  • Lower the hands and feet, and work your way back to Down Dog, repeating this 17-pose sequence on the left side.

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