Yoga with GG
Yoga has many benefits, among them and perhaps the most useful is improving muscle agility. This is important in both preventative and restorative practices. One of the most requested areas of focus for my yoga sessions has consistently been the hips. The truth is, so much of yoga improves hip mobility because we have numerous muscles around the hip joints that several postures activate by lengthening and strengthening each one. (Hip Muscles range from the glutes/adductors to the abductors, psoas/hip flexors, piriformis/lateral rotators, & more).
Increased flexibility in the hips can help you advance in any posture where the pelvis is engaged (I.E. Backbending, Splits, and even Handstand pressing) or simply aid in bending forward. When we have tight hips, we tend to overuse the spine and this may result in experiencing lower back or perhaps knee pain, as well.
YOGA SEQUENCE FOR OPENING THE HIPS
For a deep hip opening session, I have tailored a specific flow to help stretch and open the hips. This sequence is designed to help relieve tension held in the hips, improve range of motion, improve circulation, and perhaps even provide an emotional release. In yoga, it is believed that we store emotions in our hips, so when we work on opening up the hips, we may also experience an energetic shift. Thus, opening the hips is said to be a freeing experience, that not only improves flexibility and eases discomfort, but also leads to new ways of expression, physically and emotionally.
Note: I recommend doing a short dynamic warm up before following along with this video (perhaps doing 3-5 Sun Salutations). Remember to practice deep breathing throughout this sequence. And always move according to your own comfort level, do not force anything, we always want to move with comfort and ease, letting the breath lead each posture.
Childs Pose or Balasana
( This is a resting pose or prepatory pose. Taking a wide legged childs pose will begin to gently stretch the hip flexors).
Benefits: stretches the hips, thighs, and ankles. Has a calming effect in the mind and relieve stress.
Downward Facing Dog or Adho Mukha Svasana
( This is the “base” pose or foundation of this sequence; It is an active resting posture used for transitioning.)
Benefits: Opens shoulders, stretches hamstrings, ankles, calves. Loosens up the body; good preparation for backbends and arm balances
Low Lunge or Anjaneyasana
Benefits: Stretches the Psoas/opens up hip flexors. Stretches the hamstrings, groin and quad, while strengthening your knee. Builds mental focus. Good posture to prepare for backbends and arm balances, and excellent split preparation.
Half Split or Arda Hanumanasana
(This pose will help you work toward getting full splits by stretching the hip flexors, psoas and hamstrings.)
Benefits: Stretches the psoas, thighs, and opens the hips. Deep calf and hamstring stretch when flexing through the extended leg.
*Rocking back and forth from Low Lunge to Half Split improves hip mobility by gradually loosening up the hip muscles.
Lizard Pose or Utthan Pristhasana
Benefits: Stretches the hip flexors, hamstrings, and the quads.
-opens the hips and groin, strengthen thighs. Improve hip flexibility by stretching ligaments while strengthening the muscles in your legs.
Pigeon Pose or Rajakapotasana
(Note: the front leg is working in external rotation while the back leg stretches the psoas. This pose helps relieve tension in the hips that naturally happens from sitting all day.)
Benefit: The external rotation and flexion that occur simultaneously in this pose helps the hips remain agile. Lengthens the hip flexors. Stretches the thighs, groin and psoas, also the abdomen, chest and shoulders, and neck when leaning back. Good prepatory pose for seated postures and backbends.
Bound Angle Pose or Baddha Konasana
Benefits: strengthens and improves flexibility in the inner thighs, groin, and knees. Opens the hips and the chest. Creates space/ lengthens the spine.
Double Pigeon or Agni Stambhasana
Benefits: Stretches the hips, thighs, knees, ankles and groin. When reclining forward, the spine and the abdomen are lengthened.