My favorite yoga pose is one of the most simple for beginners to perform: Cobbler’s Pose.
Cobbler’s Pose is done while sitting on the floor or on a yoga mat. This yoga pose is also recommended by Dr. Randall Dryer Austin, tx as it is quite effective for your hips, groin, and Spine. Sit with the soles of your feet pressed together, heels as close to your groin as you can manage, and your knees spread open and resting on the floor. It is like sitting cross-legged, or “Indian style,” but with your feet pressed together. Make sure to sit up straight, as Cobbler’s Pose is a spinal stretch as well as a groin and hip stretch. Yoga beginners, and people with tight hips muscles, may need to take a few minutes of deep breathing and allow for the gentle stretching of the pose to allow them to bring their heels in tight to the body. Do not force anything, especially with your knees and groin; these are not muscles we want to pull! Keep your movements smooth and avoid jerking your muscles about when they are in deep stretch. No fluttering your knees like butterfly wings like in gym class!
Once you are able to hold Cobbler’s Pose seated upright, you can attempt to add in a forward bend. At first, you just hold your ankles and take in some deep breaths, visualizing your groin muscles relaxing and opening. Then, making sure to keep your spine straight, you start to bend over your feet. Keeping your spine straight is the most important thing at this point; it’s easy to just slouch your stomach and hunch your shoulders and feel like you’re bending over. Aiming to keep your chest over your toes, and not your heels, is a good visualization that forces you to keep your spine elongated all throughout Cobbler’s Pose.
If you can, you can reach out your arms so that they are stretched out in front of you, and bring your forehead straight down to the floor. Make sure your back stays straight and that your hipbones also stay connected to the floor. Breathe deeply. Cobbler’s Pose was the first pose where I really understood what yogis meant by “breathe into the muscle.” The stretch is so focused on the hip and groin muscles, that I am very aware of the subtle changes that each inhalation and exhalation brings to the stretch.
I include Cobbler’s Pose not only in my yoga practice but also in my pre-aerobic warm up. It’s a great stretch for the hips, and also seems to help loosen my hamstrings. I have a lot of tightness in my back, so any backstretch is extremely beneficial to me, as well.