5 Hip Openers That Will Set You Free

Did you know that stress and negative emotions, such as fear, guilt, and sadness are often stored in our hips? According to Denise Thompson {Assistant Director of Group Fitness Mountainside Fitness / West Valley},

“The hips can be like the body’s emotional storage bin. When an emotion arises that we don’t know what to do with, it goes straight to the bin.”

Aside from clearing out our emotional storage bin, here are some other great reasons to practice hip opening poses everyday. Take it away Denise!

  1. Release tension in the lower back
  2. Improve agility
  3. Improve circulation in the legs
  4. Deepen the breath (yes, our breath deepens when our hips are more open)
  5. Injury prevention

Since the hips are the foundation of alignment in many Yoga poses, you may also see an improvement in your Yoga practice by simply focusing on the following hip openers on a daily basis.

Before starting, remember to take your time moving into these poses by using your breath and properly preparing the body. Move through a few Sun Salutations and practice linking your breath with movement.  Be aware of any injuries you have. If something hurts -don’t do it. But remember, there is a difference between pain and discomfort. Discomfort is expected with hip opening poses, pain is a sign that you have gone too far. Always be present and aware as to what is really going on with your body.

  1. 1.    Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge)


From Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog), step your right foot between your hands and bring your left knee to the floor. Draw your left thigh forward and hug the right knee in toward your pelvis. Lengthen through the mid-section and open your heart toward the sky. Hold for at least 5 breaths. Return to Down Dog, and then switch sides.

2.    Utthan Pristhasana (Lizard Pose)


From Down Dog, step your right foot between your hands to a lunge position. Bring both forearms to the floor inside the right leg. Keep your inner left thigh lifting and resisting. As your left heel reaches back, your heart opens forward to create length in your upper back. You can modify the pose by bringing your back knee down or placing your forearms on a block. Hold for at least 10 breaths. Return to Down Dog and switch sides.

3.    Eka Pada Rajakapotasana Prep (Pigeon Pose)


From Down Dog, bring your right knee forward and place your shin down so that your right foot is in front of your left hip and your right shin is nearly parallel to the front edge of your mat. Flex your right foot. Stretch your left leg back as you draw that hip forward. Lengthen your mid section as you release the arms in front of you and fold over your right leg. If your right hip does not easily reach the floor, place a folded blanket or block under your right sitting bone. Hold for at least 10 breaths. Return to Down Dog and Repeat on the other side,

4.    Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose)

Ardha Matsayandrasana

Sitting with legs extended in front of you in Dandasana (Staff Pose), bend your left knee and draw the left foot in toward your right sitting bone. Draw your right knee into your chest, and place your right foot on the floor over your left knee. Extend your right hand behind you in line with the center of your lower back and wrap your left arm around your right leg. Hold for at least 5 breaths and switch sides.

5.    Mandukasana (Frog Pose)


From all fours (Table top), bring your forearms to the floor. You can put a blanket under each knee or roll up the ends of your mat for padding. Widen your knees, one at a time, as far apart as possible and extend your shins   beyond your knees with flexed feet.  Extend your mid-section, and keep your tailbone down. Hold for at least 10 breaths and try to minimize excessive movement.

To complete your hip opening practice, bring your toes together and your knees apart.  Sit back on your heels, and place your forehead on the floor for Balasana (Child’s Pose) with arms outstretched in front of you. Relax and rest for 5 to 10 breaths. Finally, make your way to Savasana (Corpse Pose) for at least 5 minutes.




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