pilates inspired practice.
This series is designed to bring some awareness to the buttock/side leg area. Specifically the deep rotators and gluteus medius. Please, be patient! I often find that when we practice on our own we don't give ourselves enough time - the first few runs through the series will take a bit of time but eventually it can become a nice flow. Maybe you start with one or two of the exercises and gradually add more. Or perhaps one of them resonates with you more than another? Enjoy the process of learning what your body needs today!
standing breath with active feet
Begin standing with the feet in parallel. You could have a block or book between the feet as long as it puts the feet hip-width apart or just a bit less.
knee circles on all fours
Begin on All Fours. Breath is flowing throughout.
Repeat 5 times with the left knee circling. Then repeat on the right side.
You may feel some effort building in the buttocks as the knee circles. Move slowly and feel how the femur bone is rolling in the hip joint. If you aren’t able to come onto All Fours, play with a version of this action standing with the hands resting on the wall.
side-lying leg press
Lie down on the right side with the head resting in the bottom arm, knees bent, heels in line with the sitz bones. To find the starting position, stretch the top leg long and move it behind you on the floor. As the leg moves backwards, allow the top hip and upper body to roll forward so that the top hip points downwards and the top leg is internally rotated (toes point downwards). Feel both space and length between the top ribs and the top hip. Keep this space throughout.
Notice the upper leg bone rolling in the hip joint and keep the low back long. The focus is on the glute medius which will contract in the middle of the top butt cheek and is closer to the sacrum than outer hip. TIP: If you're not sure what's working to lift the leg, use the top hand on the buttocks to feel what area is contracting.
Stand on the right leg and use both hands to hold the left knee so the left leg is mostly relaxed into the hands and the arms are working to support the weight of the leg. The focus is on the right leg. Breath is flowing throughout.
Repeat at least three times and then change to the other side.
This is of course a balance challenge! Stay playful and notice the effort building in the standing leg - in the buttocks, perhaps also in the leg and/or calf.
To increase the difficulty, tip the pelvis further so that eventually you could look between the legs to the wall behind you!
tennis ball release
Try to stay on each side for at least 2 minutes. The breath should be full on the inhalation and soft on the exhalation.
time to stretch!
Take one of the two stretches below and repeat on both sides. Stay at least 10 deep breathes in each position.Try to feel even on the back of the pelvis and gently press the sacrum down towards the mat for a more intense stretch. Finally, check that the neck feels comfortable. Ideally the eyes are pointing towards the ceiling - it could be helpful and nice to rest the head on a cushion.
optional: repeat knee circles on all fours
Repeating the knee circles on all fours can give you feedback about how the exercises influenced your mobility. Perhaps it feels more fluid now, or the range has changed, or.....
Congratulations! You made it all the way through!