Get back in the saddle with seated straddles

Tensions finds its way into your lower back and legs from stress, periods of extended sitting, exercise or injury — and some people will tell you it’s just part of aging.

Whether it is or not, you don’t have to let it slow you down.

Tension in your legs can be uncomfortable and may even lead to restless legs syndrome. And if you don’t work it out of your lower back and legs, the issue can become chronic and lead to referred pain and tightness and, eventually, limited range of motion of that keeps you from being active and enjoying life.

In today’s video, Wendy Krauss Talis teaches a great series of seated straddles and twists to help release the lower back and legs. Let’s have a look.

Butterfly groin opener

Bend your knees and bring your feet together in front of you for a butterfly stretch. Hold your feet with both hands.

Inhale; on the exhale lift your chest and place your forearms on the outside of your shins, and bend forward. Just bend as you are able, to feel a stretch in your groin area and across the lower back.

Hold this position for a couple of breaths then slowly sit upright.  Repeat as many times as you like.

Double leg straddles

Next, separate your legs out to their sides as wide as you are able, toes pointed upward. Put your hands behind your back and use fingertips to lift you up and press you forward a bit. This will straighten your spine and help you better rotate forward.

Lift tall and rotate forward a few times to help slowly open up your hip flexors before bending forward.

Next, bring your hands in front and slide forward, moving your chest toward the floor. You can use a block or elevation if that works better for you. See video for example.

Hold this position for at least a few breaths, or as long as you like, and repeat as many times as you like or feel you need.

Single leg stretch

Slowly sit up and fold in your left leg to assume a right leg straddle. Raise your arms above your head, inhale and exhale as you bend and reach for your toes.

You can use your hands or a strap or towel, to wrap behind your foot to help you bend your chest forward toward your right knee.

Hold the position for a few breaths and repeat as needed.

Side twist

Next, move your right hand to your left knee, right toes pointed up. Place your left hand behind your back. Press your left hand down to raise up your spine, exhale and twist to the left.

If you need support under your knee, you can use a yoga block, hardcover book or dense pillow.

Repeat and finish

Repeat the two-leg straddle and then the single leg stretch and side twist on the opposite side.

After repeating the series on the left, return again to the open straddle and then slowly bring legs together in front. Alternately bend your knees to release any locked in tension or tightness and then return to your relaxed seated position before concluding the session.

Dr. Mark Wiley

By Dr. Mark Wiley

Dr. Mark Wiley is an internationally renowned mind-body health practitioner, author, motivational speaker and teacher. He holds doctorates in both Oriental and alternative medicine, has done research in eight countries and has developed a model of health and wellness grounded in a self-directed, self-cure approach. Dr. Wiley has written 14 books and more than 500 articles. He serves on the Health Advisory Boards of several wellness centers and associations while focusing his attention on helping people achieve healthy and balanced lives through his work with Easy Health Options® and his company, Tambuli Media.