This exercise is intended to continue the process of opening up the hips. The ankle circles allow you to ease the front of the hips through several fascial planes at the top of the thigh
To do this exercise you will need a mat. Start by lying on your back with one leg hugged towards your chest and the opposite leg lengthened long along the floor. Begin breathing being sure that your heel is connected to the floor. Then as you continue breathing circle the ankle around the axis of the heel. Feel how the movement of the ankle can reverberate through the lower leg, the thigh, and into the hip joint. Do about five ankle circles in each direction and then switch legs. Keep your breath continuous and full.
Things to think about
As with all Pilates exercises it is important to be mindful of the breath in this exercise. Especially because the Psoas which runs along the front of the spine is connected fascially to the diaphragm and taking full deep breaths can aid in the success of the exercise.
Also keep the heel connected to the ground, You might even imagine that you are pressing the foot into the ground. This helps to engage the fibers of the hamstrings at the top of the thigh, which as antagonists to the hip flexors, will aid in the release.