Hip Opening yoga poses are naturally loved by people with flexible hips. However, if you are among those with tight hips, then you are bound to hate those postures practice in a yoga class. But, you can now allow your worries to take a backseat and breathe comfortably. Just move through this 7-pose, hip-opening sequence and feel the difference it brings to your body. Aim to hold each posture for at least seven breaths.
One to two minutes would bring in significant differences but strive to reach that zone with regular practice. Are you ready to begin to make those tight hips a little flexible?
HIP OPENING YOGA
The entire Virabhadrasana poses have been named after Virabhadra, the fierce soldier incarnation of Lord Shiva. It symbolizes courage and prompts you to face your life and its challenges in a powerful way. On a physical level, this posture gives good stretch for the thighs, groins, hips, and shoulders.
Stand with your feet together. On an inhale, step your right feet about 3 feet away from your left one. Let both your feet face the side. Exhale. With the next in-breath, bring your arms parallel to the floor, palms facing down. Spread them out at shoulder level actively, fingertips facing the sides. Separate your shoulder blades wide.
Turn your left foot to the left and right foot 90 degrees right. Bend your right knee, stacking it over your right ankle. Lower your hips, while lengthening your spine, to bring your shin perpendicular to the floor. Aim to keep your thighs parallel to the floor.
Keep the hips squared to the side wall, inhale and as you exhale, look at the right fingertips. Tuck your tailbone in and engage your core muscles. Lower your hips while opening the right knee towards the right little toe. Hold the posture without compromising on your breath for seven breaths.
This posture is a beauty in its own. It looks pretty simple, but to get it right, you have to keep your hips squared without allowing it to collapse. The pose also opens your chest and stretches your abdominal area. It is also an excellent posture to tone your calves.
Once you complete Virabhadrasana, inhale and straighten your right knee. Do not change rest of your alignment. Inhale and as you exhale, lean to your right and bend, moving the right hand towards the floor. If possible allow your right palm to rest inside the right foot.
Inhale and lift your left hand to the ceiling. Roll your left shoulder out and open your chest to the roof, feeling the stretch on your left side. Gaze up at your left fingertips and hold the posture for seven deep breaths.
There are a couple of variations of this posture. Irrespective of where your hands are placed, this pose is sure to work on your hips. It releases the tension from the groin and inner thighs as well. Do not forget to lengthen your spine before bending forward.
Inhale and lift your arms up from Trikonasana. Exhale and turn both your feet towards your sides. Separate them slightly wider than your hips. Inhale and bend backward, keeping the core engaged. Exhale and fold forward, placing your palms in between your feet. Inhale, come on your fingertips, and lift your chest up. With the next exhalation, complete your forward fold, bending from your hips.
Push your hips backward and lengthen your spine. Bend your elbows to the sides and with each exhalation, deepen your forward bend till the crown of your head rests completely on the floor.
Hold the posture for seven deep breaths.
Once you complete Wide-Legged Forward Bend, inhale and come back to the center. Repeat Virabhadrasana II and Trikonasana on the left side before doing this posture once again and moving into the next pose.
This seated posture looks quite easy. However, it is one of the best hip openers. Regular practice of this pose will help you to get into more complicated hip opening poses, including Padmasana.
Sit down with your legs stretched out. Inhale and as you exhale, bend your left knee and rest your left foot under your right knee. Take a short inhalation, and on the next exhalation, bend your right knee and place your right foot on top of your left knee. Lengthen your spine and engage your core. Press through the heels. Spread out the toes. Inhale and as you exhale, fold forward from your groins. Let the palms rest in front of you and chin in between your forearms.
Inhale and allow your torso to lift gently off the floor. Lengthen your spine and as you exhale, deepen your forward bend. Hold the posture for seven breaths.
It is an incredible hip and groin opener. Allow the body to move gracefully into the back bend. It is pretty intense; so, it is advisable to wait for a while before you attempt the full pose.
From Agnistambhasana, swing your right leg backward and rest the top of the feet and knee of the floor. Adjust your left leg so that your left heel rests near the right groin. Inhale and lift your hands over your head. Make sure that your left knee points forward. As you exhale, fold forward from your hips. Stretch out your arms, resting the forehead between your elbows.
To deepen the posture, walk your hands a little backward so that they rest on either side of your hips. Pressing the fingers into the floor, lift your chest up and bend back. Bend your right knee and try to bring the right heel close to your head. Strive to hold the right ankle with your palms, if you can.
Hold the posture, breathing deeply for seven breaths.
Inhale and as you exhale, slowly release the bent leg and arms. Swing the leg to the front. Stretch out the left leg and shake them to release any tension.
Repeat Agnistambhasana and Eka Pada Rajakapotasana on the other side to complete the sequence.
This intense hip opener stretches the hips and groin. It also strengthens the inner thigh muscles on the front leg.
From Eka Pada Rajakapotasana, inhale and tuck your right toes. Pressing the palms into the floor, swing your left leg back and come into Parvatasana. Place your forearms on the floor so that you are now in the Dolphin Pose. Take three breaths. Inhale and as you exhale, step your right foot outside your right hand. Deepen the bent in your right knee so that the right thigh comes parallel to the floor. Lower the hips so that they are close to the floor.
Keep your other leg active. You can keep your left toes tucked or extend your feet, if your knees are wobbly. Draw your shoulder blades together and lengthen your spine. Push your right knee outside with your right elbow until you feel the stretch in your hips and groin.
Hold the pose for 7 deep breaths. Tuck your left toes and swing your right leg back to come back into Dolphin Pose. Repeat on the other side.
Wind up your hip opening yoga sequence with a restorative hip opener. It is also an entire body stretching posture that eases stress.
Once you complete Utthan Pristhasana on the left side, sit down and stretch out both the legs. Bend your knees so that the soles of your feet are pressing against each other. Press your knees to the floor using your palms. Inhale and as you exhale, recline backward, using your elbows for support. Once you reach the mat/floor, stretch your arms at shoulder level, fingers facing away from you.
Close your eyes and relax. Hold the posture for 7 to 10 breaths or until your body completely relaxes.
Once you feel you are ready, stretch out your legs. Turn to your right. Support yourself with your left palm and gently sit up. Keep your eyes closed. Gently rub your palms. Place the warm palms on your eyes. Open your eyes and look at them.
Hip openers are wonderful yoga practices that energize the whole body. Also, they help to strengthen and tone your core. So, practice them regularly to see the benefits!