I want to share some of my favorite yoga poses for stretching out tight and sore hips. Like many people in our culture, I spend waaaaay too much time sitting in a chair and driving. The result? Super-sore hips and glutes.
I used to teach yoga and still love sharing the therapeutic, relaxing and balancing poses and sequences that have become my favorite. If you are new to yoga, I can’t emphasize the importance of taking classes with a highly qualified teacher. They can teach you the basics – how to breath with the poses (seems simple but can be challenging!), how to place you hands and feet and protect your neck and low back, ect… Be smart and be careful. Go slow. Follow your gut and your body. You are the expert of you.
Stay in each pose for 3-5 full breaths. Breath in your nose, hold for a moment, exhale out your nose and hold for a moment then, too. When you breathe in, feel your abdomen expand like a balloon being filled up when you inhale. During the exhale, feel your abdomen deflate like a balloon loosing air as your belly button presses close to your spine. Keep the chest still, if you can on each part of the breath.
I like to start my yoga practice by setting an intention. Why do I want to do yoga today? To relax, stretch my body, relieve stress, align body and mind through the breath? The I take 10 breaths and start with 3 rounds of both Sun Salutations A and B, Warrior poses and Triangle poses. These poses warm up the body and joints so I can go deeper into the following poses.
The following poses have been some of my go-t0 poses for years and never cease to feel amazing.
1. Lunge. Start in a lunge with the left foot forward. Keep the ankle directly under the knee, not in front of or behind.
2. Head to Leg Pose. Shift your hips back towards the back of your mat, straighten the left knee and flex the foot.
3. Revolved Lunge to the Left. Come back to lunge and twist to the left. Keep your spine tall and use your breath to open the front of the body.
4. Revolved Lunge to the Right. Twist to the right and feel sides open.
5. Pigeon Pose with Shoulders Contracting. Place both hands on either side of your feet. Lift your left foot and bend the knee to bring the foot towards the right hip. Reach your hands towards one another behind your low back. If you can, interlace your fingers and lift your hands.
6. Pigeon Pose. Open the chest and keep the feet pressing into the mat to stay buoyant in this pose.
7. Cow Face Pose Legs. Shift your weight to the left as you bring your right leg to the front of the mat. Lift the right leg and stack the right knee over the left. Keep the spine tall and keep the lumbar spine long as you anchor your tailbone down in the mat. Keep the spine tall as you inch the fingers both up and out.
8. Fire Log Pose. Straighten the lower legs to be in alignment with the edge of your mat, stacking the ankles and knees. Push your fingertips towards the earth as your spine lengthens. Keep breathing!
9. Cradle the Baby Pose. Extend the right leg in front of you. Grasp the lower left leg in your hands and raise the leg up gently as you straighten and lengthen the spine.
10. Revolved Seated Hand to Big Toe Pose. Grasp the outside of your left foot with your right hand. Straighten the left knee as you twist to look over your left shoulder. Let your shoulders and back follow.
11. Half Lord of the Fishes Pose. Place the left foot on the outside of the right thigh. Shift your weight to the right hip as you bend the right knee to bring the right foot to your left hip. Keep the spine long and tall. Anchor the right elbow on the outside of the left knee, and twist gently to the left.
***Repeat the sequence on the right side.
12. Reclined Spinal Twist. Lay down on your back. Shift your hips a few inches to the left, bend the left knee and use your right hand to direct it to the floor on the right side. Turn your head to the left. Breathe deeply, fully.
To complete the sequence, lay flat on your back in Savasana with the feet and arms opened wide to the edge of your mat. Close your eyes and breath fully. Melt your body into your mat, remember your intention and thank yourself for taking the time to practice yoga. Stay for 5-10 mins, then slowly roll to one side and push yourself up to seated.
Thanks for checking out these poses! Now I am off to do a little yoga of my own…all that sitting, you know…