“This asana is for an open hip,” is a phrase you may have heard before in yoga. But what exactly does having an open hip mean? And why exactly is that so important at all? These are the topics we will discuss in today’s article.
The hip – more important than you think
The common perception of yoga is that it makes you more flexible and is good for your back. Of course, this is not wrong, but complex processes take place in the body that cannot always be traced back to a single part of the body. An example of this is the hip:If we have back pain, the first thing we think of is that we should do some back exercises again. Maybe in reality he just lacks the necessary mobility. This is where the open hips come into play: they provide more mobility in the lower back and thus prevent back pain. In addition, open hip joints bring your pelvis into optimal alignment, which also provides relief in the back. In addition, open hips reduce tension in the knees and thus relieve the knee joints. So you see, the hip is a pretty important joint.
The hip in yoga
Maybe you’ve heard that emotions, tension and stress are stuck in your hips and asked yourself what it is all about?
When we are sad or stressed, these emotions are stored in the hip. This is because the Iliopsoas, the strongest hip flexor in our body, contracts with any form of tension. Through the coupling with our nervous system, it is closely connected with our emotions.
Hip opener exercises provide for better flexibility in the hip area, which then has a positive effect on our emotional sensation.
Six Yoga Asanas for open hips
So now that we know that the hip plays an important role for many areas of our body and soul, I would like to introduce a few exercises that open the hip and thus contribute not only to your physical, but also to your emotional well-being.
It’s best if you start this pose standing up. Place your feet wide on mats and let your toes point slightly outwards. Exhale and bend your knees until you sit in a deep squat. Now bring your hands together in prayer form in front of your chest and at the same time push your legs further apart by pressing your elbows against your inner knees. Make sure your back stays straight and your head is in extension to your spine.
Begin the Pigeon pose either in the quadruped or in the looking down dog. From there push your right knee forward and bring it slightly to the outer edge of the mat. The lower leg should be as parallel as possible to the end of the mat. If this is too extreme for the hip, you can also bend the knee further and bring the foot closer to your thigh. The left leg is stretched straight backwards. Your knee and the top of your foot lie on the mat. Now support yourself with your fingers and straighten up your upper body. If you notice that the hip is not yet flexible enough and you slip to the right, you can also use a block to help and push it under your right buttocks.
Start for that pose in the looking down dog. Then make a big lunge and put your right foot between your hands. The left knee and the upper part of the foot can now be placed on the mat. If this is too hard for you, you can fold your mat once in the middle and double it.
Now release your hands from the floor and straighten your spine.
You can now either place your hands on your right leg or stretch them upwards towards the ceiling and train your back with a small bend back.
Start for the frog pose in the looking down dog. Take a deep breath and put your left knee between your hands. Now turn your body to the right and also put your right knee down on the mat. Exhale and now bring your elbows and forearms parallel to the mat, the palms of your hands press into each other.
Make sure that your toes point to the side so that the inside of your feet lie on the mat. Separate your knees until you feel a good stretch in your hips.
Your knees in this asana should be at the same height as your hips and ankles, your elbows in line with your shoulders.
Three legged Dog
The starting pose of this asana is the classic looking down dog. Start here from the quadruped position, the fingers are spread and push into the mat. Breathe out, put your toes up and lift your knees off the mat as you lift your buttocks and push to the ceiling. Now you can slowly stretch your legs. Try to push yourself slightly away from the floor with your hands to build up the right body tension and push your heels towards the mat. Now turn your arms slightly outwards to let your shoulders sink further. The head is relaxed, but is not simply left hanging.
Now inhale and lift your right foot off the mat as high as you can. Then bend your knee and bring your heel towards your buttocks. This will open the hip pleasantly.
This asana starts sitting on the mat. Now pull your feet towards you and bring the soles together so that they touch each other. Try to bring the feet as close to your pelvis as possible, the knees point outwards and by rotating your thighs outwards you can bring them closer to the mat floor. Now grab your balls of foot with your thumbs and open your feet as if you were opening a book. Now begin to lower your upper body with your back straight towards your feet. This is not about getting your head down as far as possible. Instead, make sure that your back stays straight and does not round. It is also important that your hips do not stand out from the mat.