Introduction to Windshield Wiper Legs
This very accessible asana is a great way to warm up the hip girdle for a yoga practice.
By creating internal rotation in one thigh and external rotation in the other, this simple shape warms up two sides of the same joint at once.
Also, by starting lying flat on your back, this yoga posture allows you to soften into the earth as you prepare for your practice while also gently stimulating your physical body. You can focus on establishing a consistency in your breath while you gently awaken and open your hips and lower back.
How to do Windshield Wiper Legs
- Start lying flat on your back.
- Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor roughly as wide as your yoga mat.
- Extend your arms out wide into a T-shape and soften the weight of your shoulders toward the floor.
- Take a full deep inhale and feel your lower back release toward the mat.
- As you exhale, slowly release both of your knees toward your left. You may wish to place yoga props underneath them for extra support.
- Pause and hold for as long as you’d like with your legs relaxing toward the ground.
- On an inhale, bring your legs back up to their starting position.
- On an exhale, release your knees in the opposite direction.
Feel free to use yoga props (such as blocks, a blanket, or a bolster) underneath your knees for support or for a more restorative opening.
Allow your hips to completely surrender to gravity in this yoga posture to fully let go of any excess tension that you may be holding there.
You may like the sensation in both of your legs, or you may find that either internal or external rotation feels more or less comfortable than the other. This could be due to tightness in your soft tissue, but it could also be due to your bone structure. So be gentle with this release and do not “push” yourself through any uncomfortable sensations.
This yoga posture is excellent to use to prepare the body for asanas that involve either internal or external rotation in the hips, like Warrior Poses, Hero’s Pose, Bound Angle Pose, and many, many more.
By inviting these movements into your body while lying on your back, it may help to prepare your muscle memory for similar shapes practiced with the force of gravity pressing down on you (i.e. in balances and standing postures).
This is a great shape to use at the very beginning of a yoga practice to ground and center the practitioner while also preparing the body for the physical practice to come.