Sometimes in a yoga practice, we forget that Tree Pose is a hip opener because we are waaaay too busy just trying to stay upright. One of my favorite hip openers in my own practice is Reclining Tree Pose but this version has it beat. Let someone else do the work and learn how to let yourself open up and grow when you do get back to your own Balancing Tree Pose 🙂
How to do Thai Yoga Massage Reclining Tree Pose:
- Kneel facing your partner’s leg. Lift their heel, bend their knee. Step your top leg into a lunge and lay your partner’s leg down, knee bent, and sole of the foot to the inside of the extended leg.
- Face your work and fix their knee to the floor or a blanket with your outside hand.
- It is ok if their low back or opposite hip rises, as long as they are relaxed and feel no discomfort.
- With your inside hand, palm up and down the inner thigh.
Benefits: releases adductor tension, opens hips and low back, may cause your partner to yawn with relaxation 🙂
Cautions: inflexible hips – fix the knee to a firm surface (i.e. blanket) if it doesn’t comfortably and easily move to the floor.
–> Prep Pose: Any range of motion movement for the hip will be helpful.
–> Counterpose: After the intense external rotation of the hip here, a nice internal rotation can be helpful, as can a release for the low back – this makes the Transitional Twist a wonderful counterpose. The Foot-to-Thigh Hip Lift also feels amazing here!
Try a reclining tree pose on your own. Lengthen your body from that outstretched leg to the top of your head. Press your legs isometrically toward one another. Play with bringing that bent knee to the floor, just as your partner did when you were completely passive. Your opposite hip may lift as you bring the knee to the floor – notice how things feel different when you are engaged as the knee comes down. Use this sensation to create even more space and bring your hips equally weighted on the floor as you reach that bent knee downward. This will help to open more space in the low back, low belly and hip. Try a traditional tree now, balancing on one foot, applying the same principles. I’m betting you just went deeper into your hip-opening tree than usual ;’)
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