The Pursuit Of Open Hips
I'm on a quest to open my hips! I'm currently on my honeymoon in Mexico and found some downtime perfect for concocting a juicy hip opening series to give my hips a little TLC. Here is the breakdown:
1 minute ankle to knee pose Flex your feet and stack your right shin over your left so that your right ankle is just past your left thigh. If this is too deep of a hip opener, you can always modify in a figure 4 stretch which is stretching your left leg out from underneath you and stacking you right ankle over your left thigh so that your legs look like the number 4. The flexed feet are important because they will keep your quads engaged which helps to protect your knees. Start with your finger tips by your hips. Sit tall on your sit bones creating length in your spine and start to walk your hands forward until your body tells you to stop. Breathe through the pose, think of creating length as you inhale, and releasing tension as you exhale. You can also walk your finger tips slightly further away on your inhale and release into the space as you exhale.
45 second pigeon pose Take your left leg back behind you so that you are depending the stretch in the same hip. Your right leg should be at a 90 degree angle and your hips should be square with your back leg turned in. If your right hip is off the ground (no worries mine is very far off the ground!) grab a pillow and bring the floor up to meet you by wedging the pillow in between your right hip and the floor. Just like you did in the ankle to knee pose use your breath to help you deepen the stretch and release unwanted tension.
1 minute ankle to knee pose on the other side From your pigeon you can keep your right leg where it was and bring the left leg forward. Flex your feet and stack your left shin over your right.
45 second pigeon pose on the other side
30 second butterfly stretch Turn onto your back and cross your right thigh over your left. Grab ahold of your ankles, shins, calves, or whatever you can reach, and gently open the feet away from one another while hugging the shape towards you. Make sure that you have crossed your thighs above your knees (think of getting rid of any air space between your thighs). You can flex or point the feet in this pose. Rocking side to side might feel good on your low back, and work on lengthening your tailbone down to the floor as you hug the shape in so you spine is neutral, this will maximize the stretch.
15 second spinal twist Let your knees drop to the left and look to the right. Keep the right thigh crossed over the left (like it was in the butterfly) and look to the right so that the weight of the crossed leg helps to deepen the twist. Let gravity do the work. Think of gravity encouraging the right knee to fall heavy to the floor as it encourages the right shoulder to relax down towards the floor in opposition.
30 second butterfly stretch on the other side
15 second spinal twist on the other side There you have it, 5 minutes to happier hips! I'm challenging myself to complete this five minute hip opening series every day for the next month, join me!
AUTHOR: Katie Mitchell