Hip Opening

In this hip opening sequence, you’ll gradually deepen your range of motion and sensation in the hip joint. These poses both strengthen and lengthen the largest muscles in your body, all of which connect around the joint where your femur and pelvis articulate. Freedom in these muscles and movements helps us literally and figuratively move through life with ease and grace.

Things you might want to have handy: Yoga Mat, Bolster, Blankets, Block

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

 

Step 1: Starting Position, Child’s Pose
Duration: 5 breaths
Pose Review:

Toward the back of your mat, lower yourself to a tabletop position and then lower your hips to your heels. It’s okay if they don’t meet, just place a blanket between your shins and thighs. Exhaling, extend your arms out in front of you, allow your forehead to rest on the mat and allow yourself to be breathed by the universe. Relinquish control of your breath and become its witness, feeling your back rise on the inhale, and your belly contract with each exhalation.


Step 2: Low Lunge
Duration: 3-5 breaths
Pose Review:

Walking your hands back onto your knees, lift your hips and step your right foot forward, resting your hands on your right knee. Step far enough forward that you feel a stretch across the front of your left thigh. Before you deepen the stretch, lift your pelvic floor, draw your belly button in and up, and draw your shoulder blades together on your back. Then shift your weight gently forward, deepening the sensation across your left thigh.


Step 3-4
Repeat on other side, beginning from Child’s Pose

 
Step 5: Garland
Duration: 3-5 breaths
Pose Review:

Step back to a tabletop position, then turn your toes under and walk your hands back to your feet as you drop your hips, until you are in a low squatting position. You may use blankets, blocks or even a chair to support yourself until you’ve created the ease to sink into this pose. Place your palms together and press your elbows into your inner knees and your inner knees back into your elbows. Feel how this helps you broaden your chest and lift your heart, even as you draw your shoulder blades together. Lift your pelvic floor. Feeling intensity in the muscles around the hip? Breathing through your nose, relax your face and pay close attention to the sensations, just as you would to your favorite sports match in the final moments. Be curious, drop the story and breathe.


Step 6: Warrior I
Duration: 3-5 breaths
Pose Review:

Reach forward to a table top position and inhale once into cat and exhale into cow, before stepping your right foot forward into a lunge. This time we’re lifting the back knee, so it’s important that your front knee stays over the ankle and doesn’t drift out in front - that would strain the ligaments around the knee. If you notice that happening, just scoot your foot forward so that your ankle is directly under your knee. Bring your hands to your hips.

Turn your left toes under, draw your tailbone down towards the ground and lift your left knee from the ground. Your right thigh will be nearly parallel to the ground. Turning your left foot about 45 degrees, bring the outer edge of your left foot to the floor. Inhaling, draw up through the center of your body and bring your hands together in front of your heart or reach them energetically up to the sky.


Step 7: Tree Pose

Duration 3-5 breaths
Pose Review:

Bring your hands down in front of your heart as you inhale and lean your torso forward, transferring your weight to your right leg. Engage your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles toward your spine as you gently push off your left foot and swing your left knee up in front of your left hip as you balance on your right leg.  If this is your edge today, stay right here, breathing and hugging your muscles to midline.

Turn your left out to the left side and bring your left foot to the inside of your right leg, either at your ankle, shin or inner thigh - never over your inner knee. Press your foot into your leg and equally press your leg into your foot. Level your hips and feel the stability of your hip complementing the opening of your left.  


Step 8-9
Repeat 6-7 on the other side

    
Step 10: Wide Legged Forward Bend
Duration: 3-5 breaths
Pose Review:

Step your bent leg back on the mat about 4 or 5 feet and turn to face the long edge of your mat. Turn your toes slightly inward, pigeon toed, and lift your inner thighs. Press the outer edges of your feet into the mat.

With your hands on your hips or joined behind you and extended, lift your heart and support your spine with your core as you rotate your pelvis forward over your hips. Your low back should remain aligned just as it is when standing, and your belly drawn around it for support. Draw your hips back as you rotate forward into your forward bend, so that your weight stays over your heels.

At the point your head reaches the floor or your low back begins the tiniest bit of rounding, you’ve reached your edge. Back off just a bit, and breathe. You may rest your hands on the ground or on blocks if appropriate.


Step 11: Triangle, right side
Duration: 5 breaths
Pose Review:

Bending your knees slightly, engage your core, place your hands on your hips and lift your heart to come back up to standing. Turn your right toes to the short edge of your mat, with your hips facing the long edge. Shift your hips slightly to the left as you dip your pelvis to the right over your extended leg, like a teapot. Your core remains engaged and your spine aligned, with the sides of your body long. When you’ve reached your point of maximum extension over the right leg, extend your right arm down to the mat or a block and reach the left arm to the sky. Lift the kneecap of your right leg, and engage the hamstrings to keep the leg from hyperextending. You may look forward, or if you’re feeling exuberant up toward your left thumb.


Step 12-13
Repeat 10 & 11 on the other side


Step 14: Downward Facing Dog
Duration: 5 breaths
Pose Review:

Looking at the ground, lift the heel of your back foot, bend your forward knee and place your hands on the ground on either side of your forward foot. Step back and lift your sitting bones back and up to Downward Facing Dog. Press your legs back, engage the pelvic floor and enjoy the spinal stretch.


Step 15: Happy Baby Pose
Duration: 5-10 breaths
Pose Review:


Bringing your knees to the ground, swing your feet out in front of you as you mindfully lower yourself to your back on the mat. Draw your knees into your chest and rock from side to side for a moment, feeling the lower body release.

Separate your knees and wrap your hands around your upper shins or the outside of your feet. Draw your knees back toward your armpits, and if you are holding the outsides of your feet, bring your shins perpendicular to the floor so the soles of your feet are facing the ceiling. Rock gently from side to side and breathe deeply, allowing your belly to expand and soften.


Step 16: Goddess
Duration: 15 breaths
Pose Review:

Bring your feet together as you exhale, lowering your legs to the ground, knees out the sides. If your knees don’t come to the ground, support your thighs with blankets, bolsters or blocks so that you can completely surrender and absorb the benefits of your practice and your breath.

 

Perform the relaxation sequence to complete this routine.


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