We hold so much stress in the hips. This 30-minute practice will get you warmed up and release the hips—especially if you were in class tonight with our focus on this area. It’s a great all-over practice so save it and use it occasionally as an at- home routine.
Start with a few rounds of conscious breathing to center yourself and gauge how you’re feeling.
Come to all fours and take about 10 breaths flowing from Cat to Cow pose.
From standing and move through 3 to 5 rounds of Sun Salutations to warm up the whole body. (Hopefully you have the hand-out from class. If not, send me a message and I'll email you a copy!)
With the feet about a leg’s length distance apart and parallel, fold forward at the hip crease with hands to a block or the floor, as long as the back can comfortably lengthen. Slight bend in the knees is o.k. Hold for about 8-12 breaths.
With soft knees, heal-toe the feet in toward each other and hold forward fold with hands clasped behind the back, lifting the knuckles up to the sky. Hold for a about 5-8 breaths then come to Downward Facing Dog pose for at least 5 breaths.
Rest in Child’s Pose for as long as it feels beneficial.
Sitting on a folded blanket, extend the legs forward. Bend the right knee with the foot to the floor and hug that knee with the left arm, twisting to the right with the right hand behind the hips on the floor for support. Take at least five breaths then switch sides.
Come back to Staff Pose with the legs extended forward making sure you are on the front of the sitting bones and the low back is comfortable. Lift higher on the folded blanket if needed. Fold forward, leading with the belly button into a Posterior Stretch, belly, chest and forehead coming as close to the extended legs as you can. Make sure you aren't over-stretching. You should be able to hold this stretch for 50 breaths...but only hold for about 10 slow, deep, even inhales and exhales. Come back up to Staff Pose.
From seated Staff Pose with the legs extended forward, bring the soles of the feet together, heals coming as close to the body as you comfortably can, knees out wide, and either bring hands behind the hips to help guide the pelvis forward, or bring hands to the floor in front of you and lean forward over the toes. Hold for at least five breaths.
Bring the feet to the floor about hip’s width distance apart, knees bent, hands behind you on the floor for a few seated windshield-wipers.
Come onto your back for several breaths then lift the legs up to the belly and hug the knees with a small rock from side to side. Then reach for the arches of the feet, drawing the knees toward the shoulders, shins perpendicular to the floor. Rock from side to side if it feels good to your back. Then stretch the legs out wide, holding onto feet, toes, shins or knees for a wide leg straddle stretch on your back.
Bring the soles of the feet together and hold the feet with knees splaying out in a reclined Cobbler’s pose for several breaths. Allow the feet to come to the floor holding this Cobbler pose with the outside edges of the feet on the floor, soles together, knees out. It might help to sit on the hands with the palms down and the outer hips resting on the thumb side of the hands. Hold this for as many breaths as you like.
Take a few moments in windshield-wipers moving knees side to side with feet on the floor close together, then far apart.
Hug the knees to the belly for a couple of breaths, then spend at least a few minutes stretched out in Savasana.
Have a lovely weekend and I’ll see you next week, Tuesday and Thursday 5:30 p.m.
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Yoga and meditation teacher since 2003, I love discovering and sharing information about natural health and the mind-body-spirit connection through yoga and mindfulness. Join me and be changed for good!