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.
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
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)
- Stay and breathe here. This is not a race to a finished pose and can be very intense on the inner thighs.
- Keeping the alignment with the lower body, you can lower onto the forearms.
- 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)
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.
- 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)
- 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)
- 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.
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)
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
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.
- Place finger tips (or onto blocks) either side of your front foot, and soften into gravity’s support. (Image E – above)
- 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)
- 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)
- You may also want to lift your back knee away from the mat (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!
***Update*** Here they are! Guest Post: 4 More Yoga Poses For Tight Hips
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p.s Safety always comes first. If you are new to exercise ensure you seek advice from your GP. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids, wear appropriate clothing and carry out drills in a suitable space. Technique is paramount, and nothing should hurt. Should you experience pain, discomfort, nausea, dizziness, chest pain, shortness of breath etc, STOP and consult your GP.