Short on Time? Try This All-in-One Yoga Pose!

Jill Miller by Jill Miller | September 21st, 2011 | 22 Comments
topic: Fitness, Yoga

All-In-One Yoga Pose: Leg Stretch #3

I have been teaching yoga for 17 years, and one of the most frequent complaints I hear from students and yogaphobes alike is that they don’t have enough time for practice, so they avoid it altogether.

Avoiding a regular practice of stretching will never get you the healing benefits that come with the work. Even if you only do one pose a day, you will make a huge difference in your body, brain and well-being.

So I am here to entice you to try ONE pose — just this one. You don’t need to memorize a sequence. You won’t even need a lot of space or yoga props. This pose can be done every single day, and it will decompress your back and lengthen your hamstrings, IT band and calves. It also strengthens your abdominals and back while stretching the chest, and, for an added bonus, massages your internal organs!

This too-good-to-be-true pose is my absolute favorite pose, and I have yet to meet a student in my Yoga Tune Up® classes, private sessions or workshops who doesn’t let out a deep primal “Ohhggmmmnnuugghaaah!” when they do this pose correctly.

Ladies and gentlemen, behold the wondrous powers of Leg Stretch #3.

How to do this all-in-one yoga pose

To get the maximum benefit out of this pose, attempt to follow the directions precisely. The better your alignment, the better the results! Position yourself on your back, in a corner by two walls. You will need to have a yoga brick, or substitute a book or even a water bottle.

  • Lay on your right side facing wall No. 1 with your outstretched right arm plus the brick touching wall No. 1 and both feet planted on wall No. 2.
  • Cross the left leg to firmly anchor into wall No. 1, pressing the right arm and brick into wall No. 1 as well.
  • Keep pressing the sole of the right foot against wall No. 2.
  • Rotate the left arm and torso away from wall No. 1 to induce a deep spinal twist.
  • Increase the stretch in the outer left buttocks, hamstrings and IT band by shifting the left sit bone and buttock toward wall No. 2.
  • Increase the stretch through the upper back and chest by firmly pressing your right arm into the brick. Feel the stretch thread through the collar bones as you increase your twist.
  • Occasionally emphasize the twist by compressing the abdominals.
  • Be patient and breathe deeply into the abdomen and lower back.
  • Do not tense the jaw or eyes. Do not be aggressive or put your leg into intolerable pain. Move progressively and with awareness.
  • After 90 seconds to two minutes, switch sides

Historically, being “put in a corner” means “time out.” After practicing this pose once or twice, you will be running to a corner to make your own “time out.”

Empower yourself. Practice your new all-in-one-pose yoga practice and feel the instant transformation.

For another variation of this pose on video, click here. Work out with Jill on our streaming video site, Gaiam TV!

Photo: Karen Kirkland Photography

Comments

  1. Works wonderfully! Not a substitute for vinyasas but great when I have a few minutes and want to reset and energize :)

    Ken | November 9th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  2. Looks easy for me! I’ll try this at home. I don’t really have that much perseverance in yoga but I think this will work! Thanks!

    Mary | November 10th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  3. ?? I love it. ?? It’s is the all-in-one asana. Thanks for the well written instructions and the little tips too.
    Namaste

    timethief | November 12th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  4. well this is a good stretching yogasana.
    I am from india and i feel this posture will atleast help people from becoming 100% sedantry.
    beautifully explained. :)
    good job!

    Rohit | November 15th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  5. Amazing post!

    I just started yoga and I love it. Thanks for sharing such a simple and concise exercise routine.

    I subscribed to your RSS feed

    Peace

    Jonathan

    Jonathan | November 15th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  6. is there a name for this pose? or is this your own creation?

    Maria | November 16th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  7. Thanks for all your feedback, I am so happy that you are trying the pose and find it as satisfying as I and my Yoga Tune Up® students! I do have a name for this pose…it is quite long considering how wonderfully condensed the actual pose is! “Leg Stretch #3 in a Corner with a Brick.”
    Blessings!
    Jill

    Jill Miller | November 16th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  8. It looks wonderful and I’ve done this stretch without benefit of the walls many times. I can see that my house has a problem: there are no empty corners. Time to start purging….stuff……
    Also I’ve had a yoga teacher swear that if you do only one pose, it should be the pigeon pose….no corner needed! Similar intensive stretch for hamstring, gluts….but it doesn’t have the twist. I’d be interested to hear what others have heard about the one-pose solution to our time/commitment woes.

    One thing about doing one pose; it often leads to another, and another.

    Emily O | November 27th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  9. Jill,

    Thank you for this excellent set of instructions. It’s just the thing to get me started doing yoga again or at the very least, stretching. Posting it to my FB page for others to see.

    Beth

    Beth Lambert | August 18th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  10. This is the perfect pose! I’m always traveling and don’t have as much time as I’d like to put into yoga. This will be my morning pose from now on. Thank you!

    Lacey | August 23rd, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  11. Hmmm…leg #3 in a corner with a brick. Been doing it w/o the corner or the brick but I can see how much better it could be. Not sure about that person who was doing pigeon as her one pose. I think I’d feel really undone only doing that as my one. But I know we are all different. Sometimes I just do some spinal or sufi rolls to loosen up and it always leads to a few more.

    Lynnie G | February 4th, 2011 | Comment Permalink
  12. That looks like it feels soo good :) i wish i could just do it at my job. we should be allowed to stretch and relax for a few minutes without being penalized for being weird.

    Bikram Miami | April 21st, 2011 | Comment Permalink
  13. Nice, I am also having a lot of luck with doing seated twist on a blanket for low back pain. That and Saddle pose have given me so much relief. Namaste!

    kimberly | May 19th, 2011 | Comment Permalink
  14. love this pose! very glad to see it’s actually as good as it’s felt to me all this time ;-)

    your bullet point detailed instructions are great, thank you!

    adan | September 22nd, 2011 | Comment Permalink
  15. Can I do any of this with prolapsed vertebral discs as long as I’m not in pain ?

    UMi | September 26th, 2011 | Comment Permalink
  16. I would recommend showing the pose to your MD or physical therapist first before I would give the go-ahead on the pose…that being said, I have many students with bulging discs that do this pose regularly with the embodied understanding that they must continue to stabilize the spine and create a sense of traction in the lumbar region as they perform the pose.

    Jill Miller | September 26th, 2011 | Comment Permalink
  17. This lengthening, derotating, and core strengthening pose is a longtime favorite of mine for scoliosis! Thanks for sharing with everyone!

    Katherine Florentine | October 4th, 2011 | Comment Permalink
  18. This is the first pose that I do when I wake up in the morning. Love it.

    Scott | July 24th, 2012 | Comment Permalink
  19. Wow-this looks a great body exercise. Simple but meaningful!

    Kristine | September 19th, 2012 | Comment Permalink
  20. lol, I sleep in that pose every night .

    Anurag | February 18th, 2013 | Comment Permalink
  21. Your hip-helpers DVD is helping my hips sooo much! I’m an editor and I sit at a desk for hours at a time every day. I’ve been doing a rotation of neck & shoulders quick fixes, core integration, and hip helpers > 1 DVD practice per day. Thanks for the help – seriously.

    ONEWEIRDWORD | March 14th, 2013 | Comment Permalink
  22. Plus that quad/psoas stretch at the end of the hip helpers, you know, the one where you hop your back foot forward – OOOOoh my gherd, my quads have never been stretched like that before.

    ONEWEIRDWORD | March 14th, 2013 | Comment Permalink

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