in depth


Sultans of Swing

Big Leg Swings

When you are healthy, your body is both flexible and strong. The core area of your lower back and belly (or ‘hara’) should be strong, but not rigid, and the sides of your body soft and supple. If your core is not strong enough to hold you up you rely on the sides of your body to hold you up. This can make you rigid, inflexible physically, emotionally and mentally, as well as make you cranky! This exercise disperses tension in the lower back, legs and sides of the body helping to relieve neck and shoulder problems and give you a great sense of being able to ‘let go.'

  • Lie on your back with your arms stretched out to the side and your palms pressed down.
  • Tuck your chin to lengthen the back of your neck and press your lower back into the ground. Inhale.
  • Exhale and lift your right leg up to 90˚. Hold it there, pull back on the toes and straighten the back of the knee. Inhale.
  • Exhale and take your leg across your body to stretch the outside of the thigh and buttock. Keep the leg on the ground pressing down and try not to let your foot roll.
  • Inhale and bring your back leg back to center.
  • Exhale as you swing your leg out the opposite way to open the inside of the leg and groin. Press the opposite hip down towards the ground.
  • Inhale and bring the leg back to the center.
  • Repeat for 10 swings.
  • Inhale back to the center and exhale your leg back down to the ground.
  • Pause for a moment noticing how different the right side of the body feels compared to the left. You might notice it feels longer and lighter on that side.
  • Repeat on the left leg. Then rest for a few breaths in the corpse pose afterwards.

Kris McIntyre
Host of Australia’s YOGA TV
Here's one of my favorite books: Yoga and the Quest for the True Self by Stephen Cope


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