Hip Opening

Although our hips can move in nearly every plane and direction, we spend most of our lives moving them in just one plane, from sitting to standing. All the muscles involved in stabilizing that movement become more rigid when deprived of their natural ranges and since muscles store sensation, and sensation stores memory, we end up with a rich collection of stories and emotions living in our hips. By freeing those muscles, we release attachment to things not present in our lives and free up valuable energy for living the life we have created.

The beautiful thing about standing poses is that they build flexibility simultaneously with strength. The marvelous angles and spirals of the thighs in Warriors and Triangles calls for 360 degree engagement that wakes up the deepest parts of these muscles.

With the blood pumping, warming, nourishing and flushing these powerhouses, we can take our poses to greater depths and emphasize flexibility in this advanced hip class. As always, remain mindful of your breath and your edge and respect your body by feeling the pose from the inside and allowing the final posture to emerge as a reflection of the present moment.

Things you might want to have handy: Yoga Mat, Yoga Towel or Blanket, Yoga Strap, Yoga Blocks

It is recommended to perform the warm-up before starting this routine.


Step 1: Mountain

Duration: 12 breaths
Pose Review: Mountain Pose

Stand so that your weight is distributed equally over both your feet. Distribute your sensation evenly through your body. Breathe evenly and easily.


Step 2: Warrior 2

Duration: 5-12 breaths
Pose Review: Warrior 2

Step back deeply and face the long edge of your mat. Bend your forward knee and lift your fingertips to shoulder height. Sink down while maintaining engagement, particularly in the inner thighs.


Step 3: Extended Side Angle Pose
Duration: 5-12 breaths
Pose Review: Extended Side Angle Pose

Maintaining a long spine, reach your forward arm down inside your forward calf and arch your top arm along your ear. Alternatively, you may bind.


Step 4: Triangle

Duration: 5-12 breaths
Pose Review: Triangle Pose

Drawing back up through your core, straighten your forward knee and tilt your pelvis so that your supported, long spine reaches out over your forward leg with your arms perpendicular to the floor.


Step 5: Repeat Steps 2-4 on the other side.


Step 6: Garland Pose
Duration: 12 breaths
Pose Review: Garland Pose

Step back forward to Mountain and separate your feet a little wider than hip width. Lower your hips, bending your knees and bring your elbows inside your knees.

    
Step 7: Camel Pose
Duration: 12 breaths
Pose Review: Camel Pose

Come to your knees and lift your hips over your knees. You may turn your toes under for stability or place the tops of your feet on the ground. Draw your core in around your low back, engage the pelvic floor to draw your tailbone down and lift your sternum to begin your backbend. Reach your hands to your heels. Keep your neck in a comfortable position.


Step 8: One-Legged King Pigeon
Duration: 12 breaths
Pose Review: One-Legged King Pigeon

Start in Child’s Pose and reach your right leg back, allowing your left shin to become parallel to the short edge of your mat. Keep your hips level, lifting through your pelvic floor, and both legs engaged. Melt your heart forward. When you are ready, walk your fingers back and lift your heart. You may bend your back knee and reach both arms back to the foot for extra opening in the front of the body.


Step 9: Repeat on the other side.


Step 10: Little Thunderbolt

Duration: 12 breaths
Pose Review: Little Thunderbolt

Lower your knees and lift your hips over your knees. With your hands resting on your thighs, lengthen your spine and press your legs forward as you lift your sternum and reach your head back toward your feet. Once your head is on the ground you may bring your hands to your knees.

Come out by engaging your core, and rest in Child’s Pose until your breath stabilizes.


Step 11: Rotated Head to Knee Pose
Duration: 12 breaths
Pose Review: Rotated Head to Knee Pose

Extend your legs in front of you for Staff Pose and bend your right knee, bringing your foot high inside your left thigh. With your heart facing your knee, reach your left hand down along the inside of your left leg, maintaining a long spine and open heart. Reach your right hand overhead and grasp your left foot.


Step 12: Repeat on the other side.


Step 13: Monkey Pose

Duration: 12 breaths
Pose Review: Monkey Pose

Come to a lunge and drop your back knee, moving your hips back and extending your front leg strongly with hands on either side of your extended leg. Maintain an engaged core so that your spine is long and heart open. Begin to move your front foot forward, extending your back leg and lowering your pelvis to or toward the ground. Walk your fingertips back to either side of your pelvis and keep your hips level. You may use blocks for your hands if you’re not on the floor.

Come out by pressing into your hands and bending your knees. Rest in Child’s Pose.


Step 14: Fire Log Square Pose
Duration: 12 breaths
Pose Review: Fire Log Square Pose

Come to Easy Pose, perhaps with your hips elevated on a blanket. Move your right foot forward until your shin is parallel to the short edge of your mat. Place your left foot on your right knee, shins stacked. Use blankets or blocks for support if your knees are not supported by ground or body parts. Reach the spine forward, finally folding over your fire log square.


Step 15: Repeat on other side.


Step 16: Seated Wide Legged Straddle Pose
Duration: 12 breaths
Pose Review: Seated Wide Legged Straddle Pose

Come back to Staff Pose and then separate your legs wide, maintaining muscular engagement. Walk your fingers forward, lengthening your spine and offering your heart, finally folding forward between your legs.


Step 17: Shoulder Stand
Duration: 5-25 breaths
Pose Review: Shoulder Stand

From a supine position, press your elbows into the ground, draw your knees in and extend your legs up and overhead. Bring your hands to your low back and support it until your breath stabilizes. Reaching up through your toes, slowly bring your hips over your shoulders until your shoulders, hips and toes are in a line perpendicular to the ground. Breathe with your chest, keeping your core muscles fully engaged.


Step 18: Plow
Duration: 5-25 breaths
Pose Review: Plow Pose

Lower your feet behind your head without lowering your hips toward your chest. Maintain long side bodies. Reach your hands behind you and bring your hand together with straight arms.

    
Step 19: Fish
Duration 5 breaths
Pose Review: Fish Pose

Unfurl through your core until your hips are on the ground. Bend your knees and bring your toes to the ground. Pressing your elbows into the ground, lift your heart up until you are balanced on your sitting bones and sacrum and reach the top of your head back to the ground. Reach your arms up.


Perform the relaxation sequence to complete this routine.


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