Floor Hip Stretch: Focusing on your hip flexors, this seated stretch begins to open your lower body. When you bend toward the floor, hold the pose once you feel a gentle stretch. Inhale as you raise your chest, then each time you exhale, fall deeper into a forward stretch to allow your body to slowly and steadily increase flexibility.
Crescent Pose: This is a flexy pose that allows for your hips to open and your hamstrings to lengthen smoothly. In a lunge position, lift your back heel off the mat. Your arms should be lifted above your head with palms facing in, then reach backward and lift your gaze to the ceiling. Because this is a less intense pose, you may deepen your lunge by bringing your back leg closer to the mat, helping you prepare to reach a split position.
Pigeon Pose: This pose offers a deep hip stretch and allows you to practice lifting up your chest and supporting your bodyweight with your hands. From the downward dog split position, swing your extended leg forward and settle it in front of you, bent and positioned near your wrist. If you feel comfortable, you may reach your hands in front of you for a forward fold, though you should only increase the intensity of the stretch until you feel a gentle pull of your muscles.
Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend: This is the final preparation stretch that will get you ready to master monkey pose. Place your legs straight out and widen them as far as they can go, pinning them downward to the floor and keeping your knees facing up. Lift your body slightly to slide your bottom forward, deepening the stretch. Once your legs are stretched as wide as you can, bend your chest toward the floor and touch your toes with your hands. Be careful not to bounce in this position; hold the stretch for a few breaths and lift up slowly.