The hips and glutes are the densest area of connective tissue in the body - which means lots of Yin Yoga works well here! Some research posits that our connective tissue holds emotional memory - our "baggage" so to say. In this practice we hold poses for longer, getting deep into the tissue of this area to release all of the things holding us back. Get ready to feel more space, more opening in the entire hip complex!
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Hold: 2-5 minutes/side
Come into a crosslegged position and flex feet taking the heels under each opposite knee. If you are able, take your front leg heel and place it on the opposite knee for a Firelog style pose. Either way, keep a little engagement in your foot so the ankle doesn't turn inward. Take your elbows gently to your knees and softly rest your head in your hands for a few breaths. You can stay here or take your hands to the floor or a prop and fold forward. Breath into the hips and hip flexors allowing the area to open. To come out, press up and uncross taking the feet wide and taking a windshield wiper action to soften. Take the second side.
Hold: 1-3 mins/side
Sit up with sitting bones stable on the floor or a folded blanket. Bring both feet together, knees wide to sides. Take your right leg and turn it out to the side, keeping the foot flexed. Take it back behind you as far you feel comfortable, knee bent (remember the 2/3 of your max idea). Take one hand to the inside of your legs and the other to the outside of your left leg. Sit up tall and breathe into the legs. This pose seems so simple but pay attention to releasing muscle engagement in the thighs and hips. Try to keep your abdomen in the middle and not leaning over and both hips on the floor (use blanket if necessary). To come out, bring feet back together and flutter knees up and down for 5-10 breaths. Continue to second side.
Shoelace Pose (Gomukhasana) FF and Lateral Length
Hold: 2-5 minutes
Cross right leg over the left above the knee or take left leg out long and stack right knee over left. Prop hips where needed with block or blanket. If your hips come between your feet comfortably, rest your bum on the floor but don't push too hard to get here. Take your hands behind your and interlace staying upright for 1 minute. Gently begin to fold forward using whatever props you need to reach the floor. Stay here for 1-2 minutes. Allow gravity to weigh your hips down and open the upper back. Gently lift back to upright and take your left hand to the floor and right arm up over your head for a side stretch. Hold here for 1 minute. To come out, lift up, unwind and windshield wiper legs for 5 breaths. Try second side always remembering that each side is unique.
Hold: 2-5 minutes
This is a great way to traction out your back, open your hips and release tension throughout the entire back body. Take your feet wide bringing heels to the floor or tucking a blanket under the heels or block under bum to balance you. Lengthen out your spine and settle in with hands in prayer pose and elbows inside of your knees. Settle in, breathe and hold. Come out slowly and do a few cat/cows to fully release.
Sleeping Swan (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)
Hold: 2-5 minutes/side
From Down Dog, take your right knee forward towards the right wrist. Tuck your right foot underneath your pelvis or take your right shin more in line with the front edge of your mat (depends on your hip bones). Keep your right foot activated. Walk your left foot back more with top of the foot on the floor behind you. Walk your hands out in front of you either lifted, on a bolster/blocks, onto elbows or all the way to the ground. Lengthen your spine once you are down and then release fully into the pose. For more depth in the hips, lift up and walk your hands away from the bent knee and lower back down. Focus on your breath. After a few breaths you can try to lower more or take your right foot out further forward. Always know you can come back out if it isn't right for you to go deeper today. To come out, press into the floor and step back to Downward Facing Dog. Take the second side.
Stirrup Pose (Happy Baby)
Hold: 1-3 minutes
Come onto your back and bring the knees into the chest. Reach your arms inside your legs and grab hold of the ankles, feet or shins (whatever is available to you) and begin to pull the knees down toward the floor, lifting the bottoms of the feet up to face the ceiling. Allow the spine to lengthen and your tailbone to settle to the floor. Feel the length of your spine as well as the opening in the hips and lower back. Release to come out.
Reclined Shoelace Pose
Hold: 2-5 minutes/side
Cross your right leg over your left and bring your knees into your chest grasping the shins, ankles or feet with your hands. You can take the feet wider or remain with a tighter twisted legs position. Settle your shoulders on the floor and allow gravity and a little arm power to bring the legs in closer to the abdomen. Breath and sense the space you are making here. Feel everything unwind and open. Before taking the second side, take your hands wide and allow the knees to drop over to the left for Twisted Roots below. When you finish, return and take the second side.
Hold: 2-6 mins
Take arms wide - level with shoulders or bent elbows (more chest opening) and cross the right leg over the left - winding once or double wrap. Press through the foot and gently shift hips over to the right. Drop knees over to the left and turn head to the right. Allow gravity to take the knees over and if you feel you can, walk the left toes back behind you more for more twist. To come out, engage your core and bring legs back to center. Drop feet wide on the mat and let knees come together. Breathe here for 8 breaths and do the second side starting with Reclined Shoelace.
Hold: 5-10 minutes
Allow the heels to settle out to the corners of the mat, slide your shoulder blades underneath your body, and take your hands out to the sides, palms up. Take some deep breaths, coming back to the 3 part breath - first in the belly, then in the chest and finally the collarbones - and extend the exhale even longer. Allow yourself to sigh a few times and let it all go! Take a 6 count inhale, 6 count exhale, 6 count hold at the bottom of the exhale for 3-5 rounds. Focus on your breath and let go.
I have been "playing" and experimenting with yoga, aromatherapy and healthy living since my late teens - researching, testing, reading, investigating, and learning anything that would make my life - and the lives around me - better naturally.
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