This week the theme was happy quads. As we strengthened and stretched the quadricep muscles this week, the hope was to release the hips and make them happy, too.
We explored poses to strengthen the quads which in turn helped us feel safe and contained and supported and strong! Stretching the quads helped relieve tightness and bring in a spacious, more open feeling. Tightness in the low back or IT bands is often caused by quad tightness. When we stretch the quads, it helps us feel calm and stabilized in the mind, body and nervous system. This class focused on support and release for the quads, in addition to some twists, balancing poses, partner squats and backbends.
We started in hero pose (virasana). This kneeling pose is a light stretch for the quads and students often sit on a block or blanket to find a comfortable range of stretch. After establishing ujjayi breath and thoughtful intentions, we joined in one big Om to open class. Warming and strengthening sun salutes led us into quad strengthening standing poses. Chapasana was added to half moon pose. Students bravely held “Z” pose for a full minute of deep strength.
We took to the wall for “King Arthur” pose. This pose gets deeper into your Vastus Lateralis, the largest and most powerful muscle that forms the quadriceps and is often the cause of IT band tightness. King Arthur is an awkward pose to get into, but once you’re there, you may find it stretches deeper into the quad than many other poses. Everyone was game and found their place at the wall and used blocks under their hands when needed. Kapingalasana was our apex challenge. Students went into side plank and attempted to catch their top foot, look down, press their hips forward and balance on one arm while doing a thigh stretch. Playfulness balanced out desperation :) Students rested in childs pose when they needed and took extra vinyasas when they needed more fire. We finished with bow pose on our belly. A pose that frees the quads and opens the back. A deep, quiet savasana sealed in the practice. On a personal note, I was very sore after teaching this class for 3 days in a row. I took a day off and then my quads felt very open. So, short term soreness will turn into long term freedom. Namaste, Lynn