Tight hips affect everything from getting into wheel pose to simply be able to pickup something from the floor. When your hips are tight, they increase the load and cause overuse of the spine. Opening your hips improves your range of motion and circulation. Additionally, you can enjoy a back pain-free life, as well as positive feelings and energy.
Yogic tradition holds the belief that hips are a storage ground of negative feelings and pent-up emotions, especially the ones that control our lives. Hip opening helps you to create space for the birth of new ideas and new pathways. Opening your hips allows access to freedom of the body and your unique expression.
Just like your shoulder, your hip is a ball and socket joint that is much more stable. Your hip is one of the biggest as well as a major weight-bearing joint. A healthy hip can support your weight and allow you to walk free without pain.
Hip Opening Yoga Sequence
Tutorial:Di Turo Productions
Start by kneeling, bring your right heel to your outer right buttock in half hero’s pose. Lift your left knee externally. Gently rotate in the left hip. Place the left heel into your right hip flexor. Twist to your left keeping your right hand outside of your left knee. Sit tall, breathe and turn to the left, looking over the left shoulder. Inhale and come back to the center slowly. Repeat on the other side.
Bound Angle Pose
Begin the bound angle pose by sitting on the front edge of the folded blanket. Gently bend your knees and place the bottom of your feet together. Slowly bring your heels close to your pubic boneand press your fingertips into the floor next to your hips.
Lengthen your hips to the crown of your head. Press your heels together, separate the top edges of your feet. Draw your ab muscles towards your spine. Initiate forward bend.
Cow Face Pose
Stretch your legs straight and sit on a mat. Slowly bend your knees drawing your feet up closer, to your body.Gracefully slide your right leg under your left foot. Bring your right foot back to your left hip.
Bring your left foot to your right hip. Stack your left knee directly on top of your knee. You can also tuck your feet under your butt. Lift your left arm into the air, bending it down at your elbow, as you reach behind your head along with your back.
Simultaneously reach behind your right arm and bend it up at the elbow. Interlock the fingers of your right hand with those of your left hand. Breathe naturally in an upright position. Bend forward. Hold the pose as long as you are comfortable. Release the pose and repeat it on the other side.
Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Place your arms at your sides.Exhale, slowly bend your right knee and bring it up to your chest. Put the middle and index fingers of your right hand around the big toe on your right foot.
Place your hand on your hip and remain balanced this way for several breaths. Inhale and slowly extend your right leg keeping your fingers entwined with your toe. Lift your head straight up towards the ceiling. Hold the pose. Come back to starting position and repeat on another side.
Open up your chest. Take your right arm underneath your left arm and wrap up your elbows. Then wrap up your wrist. If you can’t do the second wrap, just hold on to your shoulders. Come into the chair pose curling your tailbone forward.
Put all the weight on your left foot. Come on the tippy toes of the right foot. Squeeze your knee towards your chest. The higher the knee towards your chest, the easier it is for you to wrap. Wrap a second time and sit down low. Another variation is that you can do a sleeping eagle. For this bow over your legs and come down. Slowly unwind arms and legs and relax.
Half Lord of the Fishes Pose
Tutorial: Yoga Journal
Sit with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Slide your left heel in front of your right sitting bone. Align your right thigh so that your knee faces forward. Step your right foot over your left knee and place it on the floor. Raise your left arm up towards the ceiling and thoroughly elongate your spine. Initiate your twist by wrapping left arm around the front of your right knee and spiral your torso clockwise.
Place your right fingertips behind you on the blanket. Slowly inhale and exhale and turn your spine until you feel a deep rotation. Deepen the pose by sliding your left elbow to the outside of your right knee. Press the elbow gently against your outer knee.
Refine your posture by drawing the outside of your right hip crease towards the floor.Lift the left side of your lower back and broaden your chest. Gaze over your right shoulder with soft, relaxed eyes. Release the pose and repeat on the other side.
Benefits of Flexible Hamstrings
If you stretch and strengthen your hamstring muscles as part of your exercise routine, you can achieve healthy, limber thighs that will support the rest of muscle groups, prevent injuries and improve your physical abilities. If you have tight hamstrings, it reduces the mobility of your pelvis which in turn increases strain and pressure on your lower back.
Vigorous and flexible hamstring muscles support your body during exercise. It helps to prevent injury, especially during running. If you have flexible hamstring muscle, it improves your performance in various sports especially tennis.
For optimal hamstring health, you have to concentrate on strengthening and lengthening your hamstrings. If your hamstrings do not have a lot of movement, it’s essential to gain flexibility. It can keep your knees, hips, and legs healthy. If your hamstrings are hyper-lax controlling their range of movements will help you to stay injury-free.
Yoga Sequence for Flexible Hamstrings
Big Toe Pose
Stand straight and tall with your feet about six inches apart. Keep your legs straight extend and bend forward from your hip joints. Move your torso and head as one unit. Slide the index and middle fingers of each hand between the big toe and the middle toe. Grip your toes firmly.
Inhale and lift your torso and straighten your elbows. On your next exhale and try to lift your front torso. Gently lift your sitting bones. Release your hamstrings. Hollow your lower belly and lightly lift it to the back of your pelvis. Gently lift the top of your sternum as high as you can. Keep your forehead relaxed.
Bend your elbows out to your side,pull up on your toes.Lengthen the front and sides of your torso and gently lower into the forward bend.
From table position, press your hands and begin to lift your hips towards the ceiling. Keep your fingers wide apart and your palms shoulder-width apart. Press your fingers and hands. Press your hips up and back. Reach the chest towards the thighs.Lift up to the tailbone and keep your spine straight and long.
Keep your feet hip-width apart with toes facing forward. Press your heels into the floor. Breathe and hold for 4-8 breaths. To release the pose bend your knees and lower your hips back to table position or come all the way down to child’s pose.
Extended Triangle Pose
Stand comfortably with your feet about two and a half feet apart. Place your arms parallel to the ground and keep your palms down. Turn your right foot 90 degrees to your right. Now turn your left foot about 45 degrees toward your right.
Shift your hips a little in the direction of the left as your arms and chest turn slightly to the right. Bend at the hips, lower your torso to the right, so your left facing up. Place your right hand on the mat outside of the right foot.
Stretch your left arm toward the ceiling. Place your palms forward. Keep your head in the neutral position or if your neck feels ok, turn your face up to look at your left hand. Make sure your chest is facing forward. Press the outer portion of your left foot and the heel of your right foot into the ground.
Slowly you lift your inner arches of your feet. Hold the place for several breaths. Inhale and lift your torso up to a standing position.Turn your feet to the left.Repeat the pose on the left side. Inhale and release the pose.
Head to Forward Knee Bend
Tutorial: All you can yoga
Sit down with a long spine. Extend your tailbone forward towards the top heel. Relax the shoulders away from your ears. Make sure that your knee is pointing to the side of your mat. Keep your other foot extended and flexed. Take your arms up to the sky as you inhale. Exhale gently and fold forward.
Keep on pushing the sole of your foot towards the inner thigh to get a little bit more of length. Be cautious not to round your upper back. Send your shoulders back away from the ears towards the hip bones keep melting the hips and sitting bones low. This exercise not only stretches your hamstrings but also calms your mind.
Tutorial: Chakra Boosters
Stand on your knees in the middle of the mat. Extend your right leg to your side, and your foot parallels to the edge of the mat. Check to see that your left knee is right under your left hip for stability. Reach up lengthening your torso, without shortening your torso take up your right hand down to your right leg.
Lift your left arm over your head, gently stretching your whole left side pull in once again from your foot and your knee into your pelvis.Radiate the pose outward, come up and do it on the other side.
Tutorial: Ekhart Yoga
Sit with your legs stretched in front of you. Fold your left foot in, next to the left hip. Once you’re comfortable, sit up straight bend your right knee in.
Grab your right foot, your calf and extend your right leg up. Hold onto the foot. If this feels comfortable, you can even hold onto your wrist.Locking your palms and pull up. Bring your head close to your leg. Stay in that position for a few seconds. Gently release the position and repeat on the other side.
If you suffer from hip and thigh pain, exercise might be the last thing you want to try. Pushing yourself too hard will make any pain even worse. But if you sit around all day, it will increase muscle tension and weakness, leading to more pain. So consult your doctor before you begin any yoga routine especially if you have any pain or injury.
Yogic movements help improve your range of motion and alleviate tension in your pain, hip, and thighs. If you’re new to yoga, you can try a beginner yoga class or yoga DVD. Apart from the moves we’ve discussed here, you can also try happy baby, fire log, full boat yogic poses to loosen your hips without any particular skill.
Experts recommend that you need to focus on proper alignment in yogic postures. Otherwise, it puts more strain on other muscles. So always remember to adhere to the yogic principle which aims to align your body with your mind, through fluid movement and controlled breathing.
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