Why You Need a Hip Opening Yoga Flow
Experiencing tight hips is one of the many symptoms of the desk-bound lifestyle that most of us lead. Quite frankly, we just sit way too much. This causes tightness in the hip flexors and rotators. This also causes the gluteal muscles to weaken. In other words, it causes some serious damage! These symptoms can cause negative impacts in how we walk, the ability to maintain proper posture, and can cause spinal issues. Yuck!
Hip tightness can express itself through lower back pain or muscle stiffness, especially in the hamstrings and inner thighs. In fact, tightness in the deeper hip muscles (glutes, piriformis, gemelli, etc.) can cause issues with the pelvis being able to tilt properly and is sometimes the main culprit for the inability to tight your toes, not always the hamstrings themselves.
There is good news! Stretching out your hips does not have to be hard. I actually practice the majority of my hip stretches in bed. The poses below are great stretches to add to your day.
Hip Opening Yoga Flow Sequence
Cobbler’s or Bound Angle Pose
Start from seated position with your legs out straight in front of you. Bend into the knees and bring the souls of the feet together, allowing the knees to fall out to each side. Pull the heels as close to the pelvis as comfortable, keeping the hands wrapped around the ankles and lift your chest forwards. Hold here for a couple breaths. Then walk the fingers forwards and allow the head to drop, rounding into the back.
Lord of the Fishes Pose
Seated with both legs directly in front of you, bend into the right knee and place the right heel as close to the sitting bone as possible. Optional: Cross the right foot over to the outside of the left leg only if the entire tailbone remains on the floor. Extending the spine by lifting through the crown of the head, begin twisting over to the right side, bringing the right fingertips behind you. Bringing the left elbow to the outside of the right knee will allow you to press deeper into the twist. Optional: Look back over your right shoulder. The spine should stay tall throughout the twist, not allowing the chest to “dump” forward. Repeat on the other side.
Half-Hero Pose, with Forward Fold
Half Hero: Start seated with both legs straight in front of you (staff pose). Bring one foot to the outside of the hip, allowing the top of the foot to rest on the floor and the knee on the floor. Forward Fold: Fold forward over the straight leg, trying to keep the belly button towards the center of that leg. Bring your hands to your foot or your calf to help gently pull yourself forward. Allow the head and the shoulder to relax into the posture.
Stand at the front of the mat with the feet about hip distance apart. Spread the toes wide and press all four corners of the feet into the mat. Activate the legs, tuck the pelvis slightly under, and pull the bellybutton in towards the spine. Arms should be by your sides, palms facing forwards, allowing the shoulder blades to pull down and back, expanding the chest. The top of the head presses up towards the ceiling as the feet press into the floor, lengthening the spine.
Standing Forward Fold with Shoulder Stretch
Start standing in tadasana, stepping the feet slightly wider than hip distance. Bring the hands behind the back and clasp the fingers together. On an exhale, hinge forward at the waist as you lift the hands towards the ceiling, continuing to bring the hands forward as much as it feels good. You can also keep a slight bend in the knee. Allow the head to relax and become heavy.