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).

Leg Stretch #3 can be your new best friend.

  • 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.]

Jill Miller

Jill Miller, C-IAYT, ERYT is the co-founder of Tune Up Fitness Worldwide and creator of the self-care fitness formats Yoga Tune Up® and The Roll Model® Method. With more than 30 years of study in anatomy and movement, she is a pioneer in forging relevant links between the worlds of fitness, yoga, massage, athletics and pain management. She is known as the Teacher’s Teacher and has trained thousands of movement educators, clinicians, and manual therapists to incorporate her paradigm shifting self-care fitness programming into athletic and medical facility programs internationally. She has crafted original programs for 24 Hour Fitness, Equinox, YogaWorks, and numerous professional sports teams. She and her team of 500+ trainers help you to live better in your body with an emphasis on proprioception, mobility, breath mechanics and recovery. She has presented case studies at the Fascia Research Congress and International Association of Yoga Therapy conferences. She has the rare ability to translate complex physiological and biomechanical information into accessible, relevant moves that help her students transform pain, dysfunction and injury into robust fitness. Jill is the anatomy columnist for Yoga Journal Magazine and has been featured in Shape, Men’s Journal, Good Housekeeping, Women’s Health, Yoga Journal, Self, and on the Today Show and Good Morning America. Jill is regularly featured on the Oprah Winfrey Network. She is the creator of dozens of DVD’s including Treat While You Train with Kelly Starrett DPT and is the author of the internationally bestselling book The Roll Model: A Step by Step Guide to Erase Pain, Improve Mobility and Live Better in your Body. Based in Los Angeles, CA, she is a wife and mother of two small children and is currently writing her second book.

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CHRISTINA

nice stretch.

Ariel Marcoux

Another great use of a wall – thanks!

Becky G

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.

Elizabeth E

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!

Jaime S

This pose feels amazing! Everyone, try it!

Felicia

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!

Laura H.

I don’t see how anyone could be in a sour mood after sitting in this pose for a couple of minutes!

Cathy

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!

Jill

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!

lisa Moontague

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

Kristen

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.

Pam_SF

What a great pose, thanks Jill. I’m trying to figure out how to do this in my office during the day!

Elizabeth S.

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!

Anita

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!

Lauren Iden

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.

Alexandra

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.

Amber

I love this for my tight hamstrings and IT band

Jamie

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.

bo

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.

Jill D

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 –… Read more »

Christine

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.

Bonnie Zammarieh

How did that go …..ohhggmmmnuugghaaaah! This really is a big bang for the buck pose.

Susan McGurn

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

Tamara Z

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!

Susan Stansbury

I have tried this and it was wonderful. Susan

Susan Stansbury

I tried this and it is wonderful. Susan

Greta

This is great! It’s a really great stretch on my torso and hamstrings.

Rima

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.

Peter

Very interesting!

Jill Miller

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.

Jad Santos

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?

Donette K

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)?

Susan Cooper

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

Anne

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.

CSK

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.

Nui K

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. :- )

taryn

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.

Shilpa

Just did the pose- feels great!! I’ll have to pass this one on to others.

Ko

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.

Karen

This looks great – I love all twists and anything to help bring me to the mat EVERY day is great!

scott

going to try this now!

Sabena

I can really relate to this!

Sharon

I love this–I always have problems finding time as well! I’ll start doing this so I can get my yoga time in.

Steve

great pose

Steve Anderson

Great pose, thanks.

Steve Anderson

Very helpful idea, thanks.

Steve Anderson

Great suggestion, thanks.

Juliana Salas

Getting started is the biggest hurdle of them all…its not about time, its about WILL POWER!

Joe Matson

I have to try this one!

Trish

Great advice!