Hip Openers! Who doesn’t love opening them hips and sinking down into your mat? Ok maybe not everyone like runners, cyclists, or people who spend a lot of time sitting. I learned early on in my yoga practice that hip openers are my jam! I hear this from a lot of people which is great, I’m not alone. However, there are different kinds of hip openers and not all of them feel juicy, even for someone as "hippy” as me.
From an early age, I would sit in Butterfly with my knees touching the floor or Double Pigeon (Fire Log) not even knowing they were yoga poses! Sitting this way just came natural even though it drew strange looks from my friends (How can you sit like that??). Whatever, it felt good, and look how relaxed my face is!
Sitting how most other people sit does NOT feel comfortable. It’s more comfortable for me to sit cross-legged like a man than how women generally cross their legs when they sit. I didn’t understand why until I started doing yoga and learned more about how my body was built. And that’s one of the things I love about yoga - it helps you discover your body in a new way, learn to love it as it is, and what it can and can’t do.
I discovered that my hips have crazy external rotation which makes poses like Lizard (see above) really deep. I have a complicated relationship with Lizard, on some days I sink right in, other days my body is just not open to it.
Meanwhile, any pose that requires my thighs to turn inward, I start to feel DOUBLE my age and my face looks less relaxed. 😬 I’m talking about:
Wide-Legged Straddle Seat
Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Virasana is only possible for me if I sit on a block, my butt ain’t touching the ground. I also have tight hamstrings and quads which coincides with some of my hip tightness and credit that to spending many, many, many years sitting behind a desk.
Half-Pigeon is my favorite way to open my hips. I will randomly do this at home by resting my bent leg on the arm of the sofa and take a deep step back. Sometimes I do this on my back in Reclining Half-Pigeon. I do this when my groin muscles are acting up. This stretch in your hips should feel good. While you’re on your back, you can also try Happy Baby pose which is great for the inner thighs (hip abductors).
They say that you carry a lot of emotions in your hips, I’m not exactly sure how that works and have never personally felt any kind of emotional release while in a deep hip opener but I acknowledge those people who have! In the past, I was insecure about my wider hips and lower body but no more. Overall, I love my big ol’ hips and the relief they allow me to experience when I need to let go some of tension.
Do you have a favorite stretch or way or opening up? Is it your shoulders? Chest? Hips? Back or Forward bends?