Yoga is what you make of it. You can relax in the pose of a child and make leisurely twists after a long day to relax, or you can take a series of balancing sessions to test leg and core strength and neuromuscular coordination.
The goal of this Vinyasa River from LA- Found Yogi Claire Grieve stretches and strengthens your legs with a series of poses that require endurance and flexibility from your lower half. Bonus: It also helps to align your spine, says Grieve.
Follow in the video above with Grieve or work through the steps below. You will run the river once on each side. For a longer yoga workout, repeat on each side again or hold each pose for more breaths. (If this sounds too tricky, try this Novice Yoga River instead.)
Yoga River to Stretch and Strengthen Your Legs
Chair pose: Stand in a mountain pose. Inhale and raise your arms to the sky, shoulders away from your ears. Exhale and bend your knees to lower your hips as if you were sitting in a chair. Shift the weight into the heels while extending the lower back and lifting it through the chest.
Forward Creases: Breathe out of the chair and fold your legs slowly forward on your hips. Keep yourself flat until you can not bend anymore, then relax in the forward crease.
Chaturanga with Leg Extended: Lay the palms of your hands flat on the ground in front of your feet. Kick your left foot about a foot away from your hands. Then kick your right leg into the back corner of the room, bounce the other foot off the ground, land on a plank, and bend your elbows immediately to Chaturanga, with your right leg still outstretched. Inhale to roll your toes into an upright dog, with your arms straight, chest raised, and legs and hips floating from the ground.
Descending Dog: From the upward dog, exhale and pull over the hips up and back into the downhill dog. Extend the spine, press the heels against the floor and relax the head and neck.
Triangle: Extend your left leg from bottom to bottom, keeping your hips upright. Step forward between your hands and enter the Warrior II (the front leg is bent in a lunge, the back leg is straight, the toes are pointing to the right and the arms are stretched forward and backwards on the mat) , Straighten the front leg and open the hips and torso to the side. Extend your left arm forward and place it on the left tibia, a yoga block or the floor. Grasp the sky with your right arm and look up to your fingertips.
Crescent Pose: Look from the triangle pose forward onto the mat and place your left fingertips on the floor or a few-inch-tall yoga block in front of your left foot. Lift and stretch your right leg in line with your hip, stretch the standing leg and bend your right foot. Open your hips, torso, and shoulders to the right, keep your spine aligned, and stretch your right arm into the sky. If possible, look up in the direction of your fingertips.
Standing Crevasse: Starting at Crescent, place the fingertips on both sides of the forefoot on the ground. Stretch the back leg as high as possible into the sky, keeping your hips perpendicular to the front of the mat. Relax your head towards the floor or shin.
Standing Squats: Bend both knees from the right knee behind the left ankle and lower the hips to the floor. Extend your right leg and stretch your left leg to return to the standing gap. Repeat 5 times. (See also: Is it bad to do yoga inversions in your period?) [1
Dancer pose: From the tree pose, grasp the left tibia or the left foot with your left hand. Slowly stretch your left leg behind you, lift your chest and heart to the ceiling, then forward and step back through your left foot. Bring your right arm forward to level the position. (Focus on one point in front of you to keep your balance.) Slowly reverse the position to return to the mountain position. Then repeat the river on the other side. (Next: The yoga flow that every weightlifter should add to his routine)