This is a great warmup to any kind of exercise because it gets blood gently pumping through your body.
Also, when you lift your legs higher than your heart, circulation to your brain increases, improving your concentration and mental endurance. Breathing deeply throughout the exercise will oxygenate your blood, reinforcing the effects of the pose.
- Lie on your back with your legs extended, arms at your sides, palms down.
- Press your lower back toward the floor, inhale, and raise your left leg as high as you can without bending your knee. Keep your chin down and relax your face, neck, and shoulders.
- Exhale and continue pressing your lower back toward the floor as you bring your leg down.
- Repeat with the right leg. Continue to alternate legs in time with your breath. Do 5 to 15 leg lifts on each side, then relax completely.
Try not to use your hands for support when raising your leg. This will work your leg and hip a little harder. If you like, intensify the hamstring stretch by flexing your foot.
Make It Easier
- If your abdominal muscles are weak, or if you have back problems, place your hands under your buttocks, palms down, for extra support.
- Bend the leg that’s on the floor, placing your foot flat on the ground.
- Loosens your hips
- Tones your abs and thighs
- Strengthens your back and pelvic muscles
- Helps relieve pain and pressure from varicose veins
- Improves circulation