It is finally time to pull out our sunglasses and shorts and embrace the beautiful, spring weather that is arriving all over the country! We can even begin to think about going outside for a nice hike, walk or run. While it can be difficult to make time to get inside the studio right now, yoga—especially hip opening postures—can be a very important complement to other physical activities. Those of us who are active and spend a lot of time outside can hugely benefit from keeping our hips open and supple.
Yesterday’s blog discussed how to modify hip opening postures, so today, we’re going to dive deeper into hip opening postures to provide you with some new ideas.
To move into figure four, begin in chair pose. With your hands at hearts center, draw your weight into your left foot, and draw your right ankle on top of your left thigh. Melt your weight back into your left heel, and ease your right hip open while maintaining level hips. Squeeze your shoulder blades together to maintain a flat back in this posture. Hold this posture for about five breaths, and then switch sides. This pose gently helps open your hips, and it can help stretch you out after a long run.
To move into cow face, come to a seated position on your mat and gently press equal weight into both sits bones. Cross your right knee over your left and make sure your knees are stacked one on top of the other. Press into your feet to deepen the stretch. Breathe here for 7 – 10 breaths and then switch sides. This posture will help loosen your hips, and feels great after a tough workout.
Half Splits/Full Split
From down dog, inhale your right leg high and step through into a low lunge. Sink your hips back until they stack over your left heel. Flex your right foot so that your weight is in your right heel and your toes are pointing toward your right knee. Feel the stretch all along the backside of your right leg and into your hip. If you want to move into full splits, it can be helpful to have a block handy. Begin to slide your right heel forward, and straighten your back leg out behind you. The block can slide under the upper part of your right hamstring. There is no need to push full splits! Just work to find a place where you can feel a good stretch without any pain! Switch sides, and let your hips begin to open more and more.
From down dog, inhale to lift your right leg high and step through to a low lunge on your exhale. Begin to step your right foot out to the top right corner of your mat with your ankle extending past your knee. You can come down to your forearms if it’s comfortable, or you can stay on your palms. Stay balanced on the ball of your left foot for a more active posture, or you can come down to the top of your back foot to surrender more deeply into the posture. Let your head hang and breathe here for 5 – 10 breaths and switch sidesThis posture helps open your hips and feels great after a long hike, bike or run.
We hope these tips work for you! And remember, if you have any questions about these postures or any others, visit our Facebook page at 12:00pm MST every Wednesday for Ask-a-Yogi!