How does the word ‘hips’ make you feel? If you’re a guy or a woman confident in her curves you might love it! Maybe it’s a sore subject and you wish that word never existed; either way we’re going to talk about putting some stretchy yoga goodness into them.
In combination with your actual hip, it’s extremely important to open your hip flexors as well. This is the spot at the top of your leg in the crease, right under your hipbone. As I describe in my classes as “the little ticklish spot”.
Lets face it; we are a culture of sitters. What are you doing right now? Sitting. Driving, on the computer, watching TV, reading, even when riding a bike we’re sitting. And with any muscle that isn’t stretched it shortens and we become tight and less mobile. The issue with our hip flexors is when they get tight; they rotate our pelvis under causing all kinds of problems, including numbing pain.
This is the same for our glutes. Without stretching these large muscles (this is an ok time to have large glutes) they become tight and cause us to moan and groan when bringing ourselves to standing. The earlier in life we start to make our bodies flexible, the more graceful we shall age! Most back problems that gradually get worse and aren’t the product of an accident are caused by being tight somewhere in the body throwing the pelvis out of wack. The good news is you can naturally treat your chronic back pain yourself and use yoga as a preventative medicine.
If that wasn’t enough encouragement to get down and dirty into our hips, Ill give you more. Emotion and stress. We hold a lot of emotions in our hips, so going into these poses will release stress and calm you naturally. It’s a beautiful thing….
Here is a short hip opening sequence for you to begin exploring the wonderful world of our hips. (I use the mat as a guide of measurement; if you don’t have one, imagine the size of a beach towel under you.)
Start standing at the top of your mat in a forward fold. Lock your legs, shifting your kneecaps up, but let the upper half of your body hang limp – arms, head, face relaxed.
Bring your hands to frame your feet, even if you have to bend your knees, have your hands touch the ground and send your right leg all the way to the back of your mat for runners lunge. Right leg is straight, left knee is directly over ankle sitting low in your left hip. You should feel the right hip flexor get its first bit of stretch here.
Drop the right knee, keeping the left foot where it is, sat up with a tall back. So you are now on one knee like a man about to propose. Bring both hands to your left knee and shift your hips forward, again, getting into the right hip flexor for kneeling Crescent lunge.
Lift it up and bring your left foot back to meet the right for downward facing dog. Tail bone up towards the sky, pushing your chest towards your thighs.
Kick your right leg all the way up to the sky and rotate your hip open. Put a bend in that knee and set the knee in between your hands for pigeon pose. Make sure to keep hips level to the mat, not rock over to either side, and not to have the foot directly underneath you. Hold this pose – the longer the better.
Return to downward facing dog.
Repeat all this love on the other side. Take a few minutes laying down on your back with your eyes closed, deepen your breath and notice how you feel- inside and out.
– Michelle Walsh
After studying under Shri Yogi Hari at the Sampoorna Yoga Ashram in Miramar, FL, Michelle is certified in Yoga Thai Massage and teaches Yoga in South Florida, continuously raising the bar for both herself and her students.
Visit Michelle’s website at http://www.michelleannyoga.com/