22 October 2014

Guest Post: 4 Yoga Poses For Tight Hips

After Adrianna's last Guest Post - 6 Yoga Poses For Tight Shoulders, I had to get her back again! I use the poses she shared with us to warm myself up before teaching, after cycling and generally when I can feel the tension building up in my shoulders. I had a long, hard think about what other areas in my body could benefit from loosening and the first to come to mind were the hips. Running, crossfit, cycling...life in general all play a part in building tightness in our hips so I know no matter what activity you take part in, you too can benefit from this! 

Our hips demonstrate our ability to carry our body in perfect balance, and is our major thrust in moving forwards both physically and emotionally in our lives.

Hip injury or tension represents a fear of moving forward in major decisions and letting go of the past and concerns about the unknown future.

Therefore it is crucial to restore and create balance in this area of the body. The hips also take time to release and open, and so it is always recommended to hold such poses over a longer period of time, and where possible in a yin fashion to allow the release to emerge and dissolve. Anatomically, the pelvis and hip joints, are covered by a vast amount of layers; skin, fat, muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments and before arriving at the bones. At first it is common to feel the sensations, and this changes over time, but I advise that you allow your breath to flow as naturally as you can. It is a beautiful tool to discover what your body is trying to tell you. 

The more you breathe consciously into the sensations, the more it dissolves and shifts. 

Inner Thighs

Ananda Balasana: Happy Baby 

Come to lie down on your back. Draw your knees towards your chest and feel your lower back connect down to the mat, in particular, your sacrum. Then take your knees towards your armpits and the soles of your feet to the sky (like you are leaving imaginary footprints on the ceiling) 

Being to reach for the outer edges of your feet by taking the hands to the inside of the thighs and then the hands to the blades of the feet. 

You can also do this pose with straps, or Half Happy Baby, 
Continue to gently pull the feet and therefore knees towards the armpits, and simultaneously the feet towards the sky. 

Slowly, release the feet, letting them fall and taking the knees together and towards the chest. You an hold here or come to lay down in Pentacle Pose.

Hold - 1 – 2 minutes

Inner Thighs

Mandukasana: Frog Pose

Start on all fours.

Begin to separate the knees as wide as you can take them whilst maintaining alignment with your hips. Then bring the ankles in line with the knees with the feet flexed (sole of the foot facing behind you)

  1. Stay and breathe here. This is not a race to a finished pose and can be very intense on the inner thighs.
  2. Keeping the alignment with the lower body, you can lower onto the forearms.
  3. Explore the sensation. After a few cycles or breath, you may choose to explore other/ deeper ways to feel sensation. You can try shifting your body weight forwards (hips beyond the knees) or backwards (knees beyond the hips) as this alters where you feel the sensation in your inner groin. 
Slowly, mindfully beginning to shift the weight back to centre and draw the knees closer together, until you reach a traditional Child’s Pose (Balasana) before shifting to laying down on your back for Pentacle Pose.

Hold: 1 - 2 minutes

Outer Hips - ITB

Gomukhasana (legs) or Shoelace (Yin Name)

Image A

Right Side: 

Start by sitting down and feeling both of your sitting bones grounding down to the earth, with both legs extended out in front of you. 

Cross your right leg over left at the knee. Then swing your right heal towards the outer edge of your left hip. Feel your right sitting bone still connecting to the ground.

  1. If you have lost the connection with your right sitting bone to the ground, stay here (with left leg extended out in front Image A - above) 
  2. If your right sitting bone is connected, you may choose to bend your left knee and take the left heal towards the outer edge of your right hip. (Image B - below) 
  3. To feel both sitting bones connecting, take your hands behind your hips coming on the fingers tips lift your hips off the ground and over the right. 
Image B

Both knees stacked, you can breathe here with your hands just behind your hips, or you can begin to shift your weight forwards - draping your torso over your folded legs (Image C/ D - below)

Image C

Image D

To exit the pose, lean back into the support of your hands and slowly unfold your legs and lay back into Pentacle Pose. (1 - 2 minutes) 

I recommend staying in stillness but if you need to move your legs a little, give yourself permission to do so.

Repeat on the left side.

Hold:  1 minute 30 seconds - 2 minutes


Anjaneyasana: Low Lunge 

Image E

Left Side:

Start in Downward Facing Dog then step your right foot between your hands. 
Lower your back knee down onto the mat. (You can double over your mat or place a blanket beneath your knee. 

  1. Place finger tips (or onto blocks) either side of your front foot, and soften into gravity’s support. (Image E - above)
  2. If it feels good to you, take your right hand onto your right thigh, and then the left hand to join and feel the sensation move more towards the left side waist, where your Psoas muscle (one of the main hip flexors) attaches to the spine. (Image F)
  3. If you still want more, on the next inhale lift the arms to the sky. Energise the fingertips and take the hand slightly wider than the shoulders, then feel the tips of the shoulder blades coming together behind the heart and offer the heart to the sky. (Image G)
  4. You may also want to lift your back knee away from the mat (Image H)
Image F
Image G

Image H

To come out of the pose, lower your hands either side of the front foot, and step back to downward dog.

Repeat on the left side.

Hold: 1 - 2 minutes total.

...and don't go anywhere because we have some more yoga poses to share with you for tight hips! 


Follow my adventure 

20 October 2014

Elle About Town, October 2014

Lots has been going on during the past month...outside of the blogging domain for me! It's meant that I haven't done a lot of exciting stuff and have been sticking mostly to my routine. But there are a couple little tidbits I would love to share with you...

Classes: Edge Bootcamp 

I finally made it down to the newly opened studio, Edge Cycle. I booked in for one of their Bootcamp classes...a mix of spin and circuit training. Class was 45 minutes long with what felt like an even mix on the bike and the floor.

The music was interesting...I actually felt like I was in carnival / Rio de Janeiro for the most of the time! The instructor was just pumped with energy too!

I totally enjoyed the class and would go back again. I'd love for the floor work to be a little more creative rather than just the regular lunges, push ups and squats. There is minimal space to be creative but as a Personal Trainer myself, I know it can be done!

The studio was amazing though; fresh and clean. Luckily the class wasn't packed so I managed to jump in a shower quickly post class. Shoe hire is also included in your class fee which is an added bonus these days.

Events: PhD Woman Greens & Berries 

A couple weeks ago I attended an event hosted by PhD Woman to launch their new Greens & Berries - a combination of greens, fruit extracts and vegetable extracts alongside a specific blend of vitamins and minerals, tailored just for women.

After a short Hatha Yoga class, we got to indulge in smoothies made with the Greens & Berries. You can have up to two servings per day to help assist with a healthy balanced diet. The powder can also just be mixed with fruit juice, water or a protein shake. Check it out at  http://www.phd-woman.co.uk/

Classes: Adult Gymnastics  

Who doesn't wanna feel like a kid again?! Flick flacking all over the place?!

I hit up to introductory session at my crossfit box in SE11 to see what was going down! It was a fun session with a great bunch of guys and gals. In that particular session we worked on bridge and walk overs - something I have always dreamed of doing!

Check out this short video...

It was good fun, but tough work! I'm booked to go back again next week and am looking forward to it so much!

Meet: Harriet Humbug 

You might already know, but I finally have a new bike! Her name is Harriet Humbug - another customer in Cycle Surgery Waterloo Bridge helped me to name her!

I'm not taking any risks this time and will be insuring her! I also have her labeled up and registered with QR codes via Bike Shepherd. I still have my previous top notch D lock as well as a new chain lock I have purchased.

I also backed a project on kickstarter for a brand new quick release wheel lock which I should be receiving in January 2015!

Coming Up....

Acroyoga at Gymbox Farringdon... 
I'll be popping along to this new class to check it out for the GymBox blog! Keep an eye out on Facebook where I share my guest post when it goes like!

London Winter Run
Still time to join us AND get a little money off your entry!

Join our Facebook event page too to be kept up to date with all that is going on!

Women's Autumn Duathlon at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park...
In just a few weeks, I will be completing my second ever duathlon! This one is a little less serious than the London Duathlon and I'll also have a few friends there to keep me company. I'm looking forward to testing out my new wheels on the smooth outdoor cycling tack! Stay tuned to hear how I get one!

What's coming up for you in the next month?! 

Elle :) x

17 October 2014

simpElle Book Review: Yoga for Fitness Professionals

Being a Fitness Professional who also loves to dabble in yoga, when I came across this book it was as if it was meant for me. After taking the Supple Strength course with the YMCAfit last year, a blend of yoga and Pilates, this book was the perfect resource for me.

In two parts, this book covers the history of yoga, philosophy and Hatha Yoga - then applying the principles of yoga to modern living.

Part one delves into the origins of yoga with descriptions and explanations of everything related such as the schools of yoga, the four sects then into the eight limbs of yoga (also known as ashtanga yoga). It's fascinating to see the meaning of many words I have come across in the yoga world and get a deeper understanding of where it all started.

Did You Know:
The Asana's - physical postures - are just one limb of yoga? For many, this is the starting point in yoga.

The book goes on to talk about the body and mind according to yoga. Om an it's significance is something that is covered and highly interesting to me.

"Om is a sacred sound in Hinduism. It is composed of three syllables - A-U-M - which merge into each other. It is a syllable that represents every sound ever uttered and everything that exists: it is the essence of the Universe."

The final section of part one covers Hatha Yoga. I had never tried Hatha yoga until just a week ago. It was a less intense, less vigorous form of yoga than I have gotten used to. It was the perfect class after Crossfit and other workouts I have done recently.

Did You Know:
In a Hatha yoga session, all asana practice is structured as:
  • preperation for the full pose 
  • full or main pose 
  • counterpose 

Did You Know:
Drishti - is a focusing technique that assists with looking inwards, towards the self. 

The book then covers the asana's of Hatha Yoga including (but not limited to) variations, benefits, precautions, teaching points and modification. The images are presented in colour which is something I love. The asana's are a large proportion of the book which then talks about breath work / regulation and control. Before wrapping up, session structure, general flow sequence, health and yoga philosophy in modern living are covered in part two.

Written by Debbie Lawrence and Conrad Paul, the book is a great resource for fitness professionals. Its given me a place to reference when wanting to include a relevant posture in my classes to aid stretching, strength or flexibility. I've also used the asanas as a starting point for "creating" different functional drills based on the asana.

Are you a fitness professional with a passion for yoga?! 

Do you like fitness classes with yoga fusions?! 

Elle :) 

This book is published by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc 


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