Rock The Baby Yoga Pose
How to do this pose: sit in Dandasana (Staff Pose) on the mat with legs straight out in front of you. Bend both knees and bring feet together. Clasp hold of one calf and place the knee in the armpit of the elbow of the opposite arm. Rest the foot in the armpit of the lifting arm and cradle the lower leg like a baby. Gently rock the baby (leg) left, right a few times; lower the leg and repeat with the other leg. If you are flexible enough to hold the leg and press the palms together in prayer mudra do so. If holding the foot with the hand is more comfortable do that. In time, the hip can release and you may find it easier move to hold the leg at the elbows. The main purpose is to open and release the hip and to be aware of differences left to right side, day to day. Keep the spine straight and engage the back muscles and lift the chest. Feel the expansion horizontally across the chest.
Repeat 2-4 times each side regularly.
Benefits: liberates hip movement, engages the upper back muscles, opens the chest, activates the paraspinal muscles on both sides of the spine and raises awareness of subtle powers in these muscles, mobilizes the knee joints. Good prep pose for poses with lower body emphasis, or prep for seated lotus pose before meditation or breathing exercises.
Precautions: those with hip or knee injuries, recent hip or knee surgery should avoid this pose.
Alternative: try happy baby pose lying on the back.