From table top pose, step right leg back with toes curled under. Press heel back keeping hip square (both hip bones point down). Keep back of the neck long (look straight down at the mat). Option to rock forward and back on the ball of foot. Stay here for a few breaths and then lift hips high to an easy down dog calf stretch. Continue to ground heel down.
This pose (Extended Puppy Pose) stretches spine and shoulders.
Begin in table top pose. Start to walk your hands out in front of you keeping your hips directly over your knees. Keep elbows lifted off the ground and try to bring forehead down to ground. Take five deep breaths here, and slowly walk hands back in to table top.
QUAD STRETCH WITH TWIST
From low lunge or lizard pose, start to bend back leg (place towel or blanket underneath knee for support). Opposite hand reaches for opposite foot (this is also a great chest opener and twist). Try to reach for outside edge of foot (you can also place foot in yoga strap). Bring foot in closer to body to intensify stretch. You can also drop down onto a block or your forearm. Continue to open chest and take deep breaths.
From table top pose, turn your hands around so that your fingers face your knees with wrists facing forward. Keep fingers spread evenly. Gaze is straight down (so back of the neck is long). Relax shoulders down away from ears keeping a soft bend in your elbows so you don’t hyperextend. Lean your weight back into hips if you need to feel this more.
Start on your belly with legs extended behind you, pressing tops of feet & hip bones down into mat. Bring forearms down to mat, elbows under shoulders, wrists in line with elbows. Press forearms down into ground and isometrically drag your wrists back to elbows (meaning, don’t actually drag them back but engage your muscles like you are). Rather than overarching low back (which is common for basketball players especially, emphasize lifting chest while keeping shoulders down.
benefits: strengthens the spine; opens chest & shoulders
HIP FLEXOR & QUAD STRETCH
From mountain pose at the top of your mat, take a big step back with you left foot. Bend front leg into a high lunge. Bring feet wider apart for more stability. Start to bend back leg slightly to feel this stretch in quad and hip flexor. Lean shoulders back so they are stacked over hips.
STANDING IT BAND STRETCH
From a forward fold, bring left hand underneath you (option to bring hand to block if hamstrings are tight. Bend left leg a lot, and straighten right leg. You can slightly shift weight forward without gripping toes. Right arm extends to sky for chest/pec stretch.
LOW BACK/HIP/GROIN STRETCH
From your back with feet grounded down, hug right knee into chest. Reach right arm on the inside of right leg reaching for outside of right foot. Left foot grounded down makes this pose more accessible for athletes. Sole of foot up to sky. Option to find a little movement, rocking back and forth.
From a lunge pose, pivot front toes in so feet are facing in same direction. Bring hands to the ground out in front of you and very carefully start to lower your body down, so inside of knees touch the ground. Option to place blanket under knees for extra support. To intensify this stretch, bring knees further apart. You can also sink hips back slightly.
From standing, bring feet wide apart and point toes out. Bend knees and keep knees tracing over toes (meaning, send knees and inner thighs back.) Chest leans forward to compensate, work to keep shoulders stacked over hips and knees back.