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 props. This pose can be done every single day, as a 5 minute beginner yoga practice, 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, privates or workshops who doesn’t exclaim a deep primal “Ohhggmmmnnuugghaaah!” when they do this pose correctly.
Ladies and gentlemen, behold the wondrous powers of Leg Stretch #3, the ultimate yoga pose.
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 (which can be substituted with 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. Both feet are planted on wall No. 2.
- Cross the left leg to firmly anchor into wall No. 1, and press right arm and brick into wall No. 1 as well.
- The sole of the right foot still presses against wall No. 2.
- The left arm and torso rotate 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, and 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.
Read about the most important part of a yoga pose.
Learn about Yoga Tune Up at home.
Find a Yoga Tune Up class or workshop near you.
[Reprinted with permission from Gaiam Life.]
J’ai hâte de partager cette pose avec mes élèves ?
This is great to hear this is the one for a quickie…. there are so many great poses in yoga tune up that it really is hard to decide what to do short on time. This stretches spinal muscles, hamstrings, hip rotators, chest, and back.
I love this pose, but in close chain is even better. It’s a good one for release and nervous system!
I have a ton of clients that never have time to stretch. ? I can’t wait to share this pose with them. Let’s see how many “anti-stretch” clients I can get to do this pose !
Absolutely golden role’The better your alignment, the better the results!’ Thanks!
My hamstrings are in need of a nice stretch now! This is great for right before bed to initiate relaxation. Maybe have a blanket on the abdomen and pelvis to encourage more stillness and comfort.
From my personal standpoint, one single pose is not enough. Twist, stretching, breathing awarenes helpful but not enough for a Yoga practice and 5 minutes neither. sorry but these can help for people who are in a pretty difficult situación as an illness matter but never as an excercise day routine. In japan some manufactures companies take 10 minutes for four or five times at day every journal work.
This is one of my favorite postures already! it gives a deep stretch, release and nervous system regulation. I agree, if i could do just one posture a day, would be this!
This is a favorite pose for me and has so many benefits . It’s easy for beginners as well as people with busy schedules
Hermosa postura, se siente tan profunda…intensa y suave a la vez, acompañando con la respiración. Maravilloso masaje para los órganos internos. Qué buena idea proponer a los alumnos, aunque sea una postura. Otorga la posibilidad de explorar y reconocer el propio cuerpo y sus posibilidades. Gracias por este artículo!
This closed chain variation of this pose is amazing!
I had never actually really liked this pose until I tried it this way 🙂
Really looking forward to trying this pose in a corner! The instructions are very clear and I love doing closed chain poses and teaching the variations to my students.
I like your explanations about all in one pose.
I am glad such a pose exist, will add it to my busy days and will challenge myself to do this pose regularly!
I just tryed this all in one pose, your explanations are very clear. I will challenge myself to do this pose every day during the next week to see the evolutio.
I do really love this pose! I was originally drawn to this blog article because of the title and I am not disappointed! Yes there is an OMG when you get this one right lol! Closing the chain against the wall is also a great idea! I have definitely won some ‘yogaphobes’ over with this too lol Thanks for sharing Jill!
I just tried this and it feels great! Can’t wait to make it a regular part of my daily practice so I can continue to see how it changes over time.
wow. wow. wow. i am going to commit to doing this daily and see what happens to my body. thank you.
I love this pose! “Leg stretch #3”
My favorite part comes when the pose is complete, I take a very big abdominal breath (or voluma breath/3 part breath) and as I exhale, I go into my twist a little deeper.
I do not have a lot of natural range of motion in my twists (tight torso) but this pose really help me to feel the twist I am unable to feel otherwise AND I LOVE THE CLOSED CHAINS at the corners!!
Thank you sharing thaïs pose. I will shore it. Great pose!
I share this article to my students right now!!
Wow, what a great pose! as said looks like it taking care of the whole body all at once. Looking forward to try it.
As mots of people are short of Time, this pose is definitly one I am going to recommand a lot ! Simple and effective are 2 important advantages for me.
Yes, I am always short on time so this is perfect on those nights when I don’t get home until very late. This will also serve my clients are similarly situated as myself. Thank you!
I love this pose and every student that I’ve taught it to has had that same primal reaction when they learn how to do it correctly.
I don’t often do it in a corner and this was the first time I tried closing the chain with the arm and a block at the wall. What a great way to include more upper body opening. Thank you! I’m now looking for more corners in my life.
I am gonna share this with my athletes. I am curious if this would be ok for someone with scoliosis. How it could be modified for them to be safe or if it a must be avoided. There seem to be different schools of thought regarding movements in the spine when scoliosis exists. I even think about what this would look like if x-rayed. Just my stream of consciousness!
This a great pose that you can feel stretching and strengthening throughout your entire engaged body. I also love that the back is supported by the floor making Leg Stretch 3 more accessible to all different kinds of flexibility.
Who can resist the lure of One Stop Shopping. This is such a favorite of mine that I rearranged my living room and threw out furniture just so I can do it!
I’m running off to the corner as I speak! Does it get any better than this?… The closed chains provided by the walls are ideal for deepening and enhancing the stretches and twist.. I particularly like the cue to relax the jaw and eyes and to move with mindful awareness in this pose.
Love all the closed chains in this pose.There are many people I know that don’t want to do a flow class or even a yoga class. It’s good to have poses like this that give results to coax people into practicing more.
I love the leg stretch 1,2 & 3! It has made a BIG difference in my hips and especially my IT bands ! This is such a wonderful and creative way to cover it all.
[…] Something to do with yoga leg pose #3: http://www.yogatuneup.com/blog/2010/10/22/ultimate-yoga-pose/ […]
I love this pose and I have never thought about it as an all-in-one pose. It is wonderful to know about so many benefits it gives! I am going to practise it as often as I can.
We explored this pose in the “Friday” restorative hips class of the YTU teacher training yesterday, and as I moved through the practice, I truly felt the whole body benefit of exploring this position at different heights (floor, block level 1, block level 2) and the rejuvenation of my low back and IT band from this supported version of Parivrtta Trikonasana. I really like this version that’s pictured with the corner, helping to close the chain, since most of us don’t have a partner to practice with. I found that I lose my axis when I roll over onto my side, and I believe that practicing this in a corner will allow me to hone my internal awareness to resolve that issue.
This is just what I was looking for… a great pose to ease back pressure with many additional benefits. Thank you!!
[…] as Leg Stretch #3) twist his pelvis away from the compressed lumbar spine. This is also my favorite All-In-One Pose that I recommend when you only have 5 minutes to […]
I have just come off a YTU Teacher’s training, I am teaching my second week after this intensive coarse and this is a pose I am adding to class tonight – I am thrilled to describe it as an all in one pose. I am suggesting leg strech 1 2 3 for all my runners. Looking forward to practising this with my fello yogi’s tonight.
[…] as Leg Stretch #3) twist his pelvis away from the compressed lumbar spine. This is also my favorite All-In-One Pose that I recommend when you only have 5 minutes to […]
I LOVE THIS!!!! I work in an office full of men and I decided to see if I could get one of these gym guys to do this. I did… and he LOVED it! I think this is a great option for people who are not into yoga or stretching. Even for someone like myself with a daily practice, its a great opportunity to get out of my chair and find a quite spot for a “time out”!
Thanks so much for posting!
Another great use of a wall – thanks!
Jill, you are right, this stretch felt great when we did it in Yoga Tune-Up last month in Chicago. I had totally forgotten about it and definitely plan to do this stretch when I’m out of town for work and don’t have a lot of time for yoga. Doing a few Sun A or B’s is another thing you can do when you’re short on time. It gets the heart rate up there and wakes you up in the morning.
Wow, this stretch is great. I have always loved a similar stretch for my tight IT bands, but this closed chain version with the walls is way better – gets to so many areas!
This pose feels amazing! Everyone, try it!
Thank you! What a fantastic stretch. I have tried it the last few days and last night my spouse (who does not practice yoga) came home to find me in it and wanted to learn it. Now I have to get him his own block!
I don’t see how anyone could be in a sour mood after sitting in this pose for a couple of minutes!
I really enjoyed trying this pose, I’m glad to read your comment, Jill, about the shoulder placement and the pelvis alignment. Dues to my scoliosis, it can be difficult to get both shoulders on the floor. Good to know that is not the ultimate goal here. Great stretch, thank you!
That’s a great idea Lisa, definitely make sure you have him use a belt or a strap when doing this pose. You should also have your husband try the YTU Therapy Balls, they will be a GODSEND for him as I am sure his pecs and traps (not to mention his hips & hamstring) are really tight. Those will help him tremendously!
My husband doesn’t feel like he can do yoga (just doesn’t want to go to a class). He is a weight lifter and soooo tight. I am going to try and get him to do this stretch at night. Thanks
I love this pose and think it’s a great suggestion to nudge people into a yoga pose that will make them feel instant love & hopefully promote a little curiousity about other poses.
What a great pose, thanks Jill. I’m trying to figure out how to do this in my office during the day!
Add a “Yummy” to the Oh-my-gah! This is a fabulous stretch, not to mention that taking poses to the wall (in addition to providing amazing support/resistance) can throw a little “Ooh-la-la” into an asana. Don’t get me wrong: I love the pattern and flow of asana. Admittedly though, doing the same pose again & again sometimes makes me crave variation. Working with the wall creatively spices up a practice; and it’s sort of like throwing a partner into your practice who can’t talk back!
As someone who suffers from ongoing tight hamstrings, glutes, IT bands, I will definitely add this to my repertoire…love that I can do this in my hotel room and it doesn’t take up a lot of space or time!
Thank you so much! It is hard to remember that just because you leave work late one day and can’t make it to class, that doesn’t mean that you’re doomed. Again, thank you for this lovely stretch.
We live in a society that is moving quickly and we are always on the go, so this is a great stretch that benefits the hastrings, calves, IT bands, and lower back. I love twisting poses too so this is a great dynamic stretch that is easy to do in a short amount of time. It’s nice to try this restorative pose on the floor with support of the wall if Uttitha Hasta Padangustasana is a challenging pose for you.
I love this for my tight hamstrings and IT band
I love that this exercise is a closed chain exercise. It provides a safe, supportive stretch for those new to movement, exercise or those rehabing an injury since there is not any unwated stress on the joints and connective tissue.
I am a chronic stretch skipper, I practice yoga, but when I run the work out is over when I walk in the door. I did start doing this pose with a strap on the extended leg after runs. It is often the only stretch I do but it feels great, and its nice to know I picked a good one.
I LOVE this stretch! I recently started doing the Post Athletic Stretch routine after running, and this stretch is part of the sequence. The first time I did it I made some seriously ridiculous sounds of ohh, uhhh, awww, gawww, ahhh, with some giggles mixed in. My fiance came in from the other room b/c he couldnt figure out if I was being attacked, laughing hysterically at something, or in a state of bliss! It kind of feels like all of those in one! I look forward to exploring/analyzing this pose more indepthly as I continue to study YTU – and of course perfecting my sound effects. I agree with Christine’s comment – as some with fairly tight hamstrings, I dont feel as though I am grabbing in other areas. There is a feeling of ease and freedom while also feeling a profound stretch.
Clients of mine who have difficulty fully extending their legs due to tight hamstrings and IT bands love this stretch. It’s also allowed them to relax their shoulders, traps and move more fully into spinal rotation because they feel like they don’t have to “hold” a stretch like they do unassisted or even with a strap.
How did that go …..ohhggmmmnuugghaaaah! This really is a big bang for the buck pose.
This looks interestingly simple and I am sure the results are all what it is claiming. I can’t wait to try this one as soon as I can get into a corner
Thank you! I tried this one and it felt wonderful. Maybe I’ll try implementing into my morning routine. Brush teeth, wash face, leg stretch #3!
I have tried this and it was wonderful. Susan
I tried this and it is wonderful. Susan
This is great! It’s a really great stretch on my torso and hamstrings.
Wow- what a great pose. How nice to get into a deep spinal twist while working out tension in your gluts and hamstrings. Thanks for the tip.
Thanks for the great comments and questions!
Jad- the hips are not externally rotating here…they are adducted and internally rotated. This pose is most similar to a TWISTED TRIANGLE pose that has fallen over and been stuffed into a corner!
Donette…it is way more important that the two pelvic bones and sacrum are flush with each other, CONGRUENT, rather than trying to force the shoulder to the floor and distorting other joints.
With the feet against the wall it looks similar to a trikonasa or warrior 2. While in this position, do you recommend an external rotation of the thighs as we do in those poses?
Should the focus be equally on having the entire foot pushing (including the heel) as well as the right palm, or focus more on having the left shoulder touching the floor (if one has tight shoulders)?
Jill – You are so right! I’m glad to read your advice on stretching. I must admit that this is my area of weakness. I like your idea of doing at least one pose a day! I’ll try it! Thanks, Susan
It’s amazing how healing stretching muscles can become – static, facilitated or dynamic stretching all have benefits. This is a great example of faciliated stretching, which allows us to contract the muscle being stretched, triggering relaxation of the target muscle after the contraction is released. It’s great to see how with mindfulness we can enable this proprioceptive neuromuscular faciliation (PNF) – and we can all find time to fit that in.
I used to practice yoga 3 times a week, but started a new job in a new city and fell out of practice because I didn’t have the time to make it out to yoga classes. I often wondered to myself whether there was a pose that I could do reap some of the benefits of yoga.
It’s a nice and relaxing rotational pose. It gives more stability by using the wall. My trapezius & my lower back will be happy. Twisting of the upper spine stretching out the low torso internal & external obliques muscles will firm up my abdominal wall. It’s a keeper. :- )
I agree with your advice… the more you practice the stronger and better you get at your poses. I know from experience, I can only advise what I do in my own practice.
Just did the pose- feels great!! I’ll have to pass this one on to others.
This is a great stretch. Transverse rotation of the torso stretching the lateral obliques and associated muscles to the vertebrae. Flexion of the hip stretching out the hamstrings. Seems to have all the elements of Parivrtta Trikonasana without the worries of maintaining your balance while making sure of hip alignment.
This looks great – I love all twists and anything to help bring me to the mat EVERY day is great!
going to try this now!
I can really relate to this!
I love this–I always have problems finding time as well! I’ll start doing this so I can get my yoga time in.
Great pose, thanks.
Very helpful idea, thanks.
Great suggestion, thanks.
Getting started is the biggest hurdle of them all…its not about time, its about WILL POWER!
I have to try this one!