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“Very few of us have jobs that allow us to stretch areas of our bodies like our hips,” says yoga instructor Aysha Bell.
“Modern life equates to desk jobs, driving, gaming, Netflix and relaxing. This can increase the tight hip problem, [and stiffness] on our lower back and buttocks.”
Yoga helps strengthen your hip flexor muscles, which in turn helps eradicate that tight feeling that bothers your lower body. Bell also believes that yoga can help us discover connections between the physical, spiritual, and emotional bodies.
“Tight hips in the front are said to be fear of future obligation and expectation, tight hips in the back is being stuck in the past,” she says. “Hips are very much related to relationships, not only romantic but also related to work, friendships, and most importantly, the relationship we have with ourselves.”
Whether you’re here for the emotional exploration, or just really, Really If you want some sweet relief, Bell has given you a quick five-minute hip-opening routine.
“Not everyone has the ability to open the hips in the same way, our basic skeletal structure may be the reason we never split or find some poses more challenging than others,” he warns. “So always push 80% to protect the body.”
1. Easy Pose – Sukhasana
This is called ‘easy pose’ as it is meant to be a simple cross-legged pose. Using blocks or blankets under your thighs or putting a blanket or block under your butt can make this pose more appealing, depending on how tight your hips, lower back, glutes, and pelvis are.
Sukhasana strengthens the back and stretches the knees and ankles. She also opens the hips, groin, and outer thigh muscles (adductors). Sitting up straight with your spine in alignment also reduces stress and anxiety.
How to do it: Begin sitting in easy pose. Inhale, reaching your arms up, hands in front of each other, stretching from the crown of your head and through your ribcage, keeping your sit bones firmly seated.
Exhale and twist forward, bringing your fingertips toward the floor, and transition to a forward bend in Sukhasana, taking three to five breaths. Inhale to walk your torso to the left, taking three to five breaths, keeping your sit bones grounded, inhaling and consciously sending your breath to your hips.
Returning to center, inhale deeply to bring your hands up to the sky, palms facing each other, and exhale, placing both hands on the mat on either side of you. Change the crossing of your legs and repeat.
2. Seated or reclined wiper
There are different variations of this pose: you have the option of reclining or sitting. This is a great way to warm up your hips. It not only works on hip mobility, but also affects the knees, psoas muscle, lower back, obliques, and quads. This community of muscles works together. There is little twist in the tailbone, sacrum, and lower spine when practicing this pose.
How to do it: Sit or lie on your mat with your feet flat on the floor about hip-width apart or slightly wider and take a deep breath. Exhale to move your knees to the left from center. Inhale to the center, exhale to the right, keeping your palms flat on the mat on either side of your hips.
Inhale and exhale widely as you move your knees from left to right, consciously sending your breath to your hips.
3. Bound Angle Pose – Baddha Konasana
Also known as cobbler pose or butterfly pose, this pose strengthens and improves flexibility in the inner thighs, groin, and knees. It also strengthens the pelvic floor, psoas muscles, and hip flexors.
How to do it: Start in a sitting position. Gently bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet together, allowing your knees to drop to the sides to form a diamond, using blocks, pillows, or blankets for support if your hips feel uncomfortable.
Interlock your hands around your feet. Take a deep inhalation stretching your spine up and extend your rib cage up, growing from the crown of your head. Exhale, leaning your body forward and holding on to your feet. Gently push your legs down to stretch your hips using your elbows or forearms, consciously blowing air into your hips.
Lengthen your spine and widen your chest. Draw your shoulders down and back. Stay in this position for up to a minute. To release the pose, gently bring your knees together with your hands, extend your legs forward, and lean back on your hands.
Low Lunge Hands on Hips Pose – Anjaneyasana
The low lunge with your hands on your hips is an excellent stretch for your hip flexors and is good for beginners. It stretches the groin and thighs and also opens the chest.
How to do it: From the top of the table, walk your right foot forward between your hands. Keeping your left knee on the ground and your right knee directly over your ankle, grow high through your torso and crown, tucking your tailbone in slightly and bringing your navel in toward your spine.
Opening your chest, reach your arms up and back to your hips, dropping your shoulder blades down your back. Breathing in big inhalations and long exhalations, stretch your left hip flexor.
Slightly bending your back, take five to seven breaths here. Place your hands down on either side of your right foot, either step to the plank or fold forward and transition to the other side.
Move celebrates exercise in all its forms, with accessible features that encourage you to add movement to your day, because it’s not only good for your body, but also for your mind. We get it: workouts can be a bit strenuous, but there are ways you can move more without fear. Whether you’re into walks, bike rides, YouTube workouts, or hula hoop routines, exercise should be something to enjoy.