I did not know how stiff I was until I began practicing yoga. My hips were especially tight which is actually unhealthy; I was very prone to injury. This article will teach you how to open up hips which will in turn, change the way you walk and might even get rid of the weird back pain you’ve been experiencing.
1. The pigeon
This pose is one you should do only when you are properly warmed up. Probably in the third or final sun salutation. Come to downward facing dog by coming on all fours then lifting your hips up till your back is at an angle. Don’t force your legs to be straight: yoga is not about pain. While in down dog, lift your right leg up in the air. From this position, round your back, bringing your right knee into your chest, cross it in front of you then place it down, crossed, on the mat.
Bring your other leg down but straight behind you the way it would be in a split position. I must admit, doing this for the first time felt pretty awkward in my hips but over time, I looked forward to Sadie Nardini “putting” me in that pose. If you are stiff and your hips can’t come all the way down on the floor, simply take a pillow or cushion and put it under your seat till you are comfortable. Stretch over the bent leg reaching farther with your fingertips.
2. Tree pose
This pose may be easier than the pigeon but will test your balance. Stand in a relaxed position with an upright spine. Slowly bring your left foot to the inside of your right thigh (not your knee). Then bring your hands to prayer to your chest and close your eyes or focus on something in front of you.
3. Chair pose
Chair pose was my least favorite yoga pose. I literally dreaded it. This was simply because my hips were too tight and I almost always got “stuck” in the pose. In standing position, bend your knees and push your tush outward while slowly lowering yourself in a seated position. Make sure your back is straight at all times. We wouldn’t want you to have any injuries to your lower back.
Raise your arms up high with your upper arms close to your ears while lowering your gaze to the floor for balance. This pose not only opens up the hips, but also strengthens the joints and muscles in your legs. When you feel the burn in your shins, try not to back out of the pose. Use this opportunity to learn to focus your mind on other things.
4. Reclining bound pose
It is like the corpse pose except that your legs come up to put your knees in angles. Close your eyes and just breathe into the pose.
5. Wide-legged forward bend
This pose is sure to open those hips alright. In a wide stance position, slowly lower your torso down towards the floor. Make sure to not round your back when doing this. Reach for the floor directly under your chin, breathe into the pose and stay here for as long as you want. When coming out of the pose, raise your head very slowly so as not to faint as the blood rushes back down the rest of your body.