Some people have naturally open hips and, therefore, hip openers feel like heaven. For others who have tight hips, or hips that have been made tight by running or sports, hip openers can be the most dreaded form of stretching.
Whether we spend most of our time sitting down in an office chair or driving around all day, our hips are often resting closed. With this comes tightness, discomfort, a lack of lubrication to the joints and a big old bunch of mobility issues that will come back to bite us in the butt in later years (if they have not already!) Hip-opening yoga postures can help to prevent and reduce these sorts of issues and boost our overall health.
Toby decided to help me out with some of these poses.
1. Low Lunge with back knee down
Start kneeling on your right knee with your left foot flat on the ground. Slowly lean forwards keeping your spine upright (do not lean forwards). Feel the stretch in your right hip flexor, only go as far as you can easy keep breathing through. Breathe here for 5 deep breaths, then repeat on the other side.
2. Lizard pose
From low lunge, place both your hands on the floor on the inside of your front foot. You have a few different options here: 1. you can keep your back knee down on the ground (as in low lunge), and lower down onto your elbows. 2. you can keep your arms straight and straighten your back leg, lifting your knee off the floor. 3. you can straighten your back leg AND lower down onto your elbows (pictured above).
Only ever go as far as you can easily manage while still breathing deeply. Hang out here for 5 deep breaths, then repeat on the other side.
3. Cow Face pose (without the upper body bind)
Starting on your hands and knees, cross one leg over the other and gently sit back onto your hips, with your feet going out to the sides. Line your knees up on top of each other and make sure to sit evenly on both sitting bones. Breathe here for 5 deep breaths, then repeat on the other side.
Stand with your feet a little wider than your hips, toes pointing outward. Slowly bend your knees, lowering your hips toward the ground. Hover wherever it feels good, and where you can still keep your heels on the ground. Place your elbows inside of your thighs, lightly pressing them out, and place palms of hands together at the center of your chest. Try to keep spine long. Breathe here for 5 to 10 deep breaths.
NOTE: It is not unusual to feel a wide range of emotions when practicing hip openers. This is what yoga is all about, removing emotional obstacles and blockages, getting to know ourselves in a way that we haven’t before. And oftentimes with unlocking emotions, comes a wave of creativity as new parts of the mind are available to us. I strongly believe we all hold a lot of hidden happiness locked up in our hips, so give these hip openers a go, and try incorporate them into your daily routine. You’re body and soul will thank you!