Sitting inside your cubicle at the office from 9 to 5? Spending unimaginable hours playing computer games, texting or driving? These are just some of simple activities we do that unconsciously leads to tightness of hips.
Tight hips means tight lower back causing tension to the psoas region making walking, and even sitting, a painful activity. Our hips have one of the most mobile pair of joints but when left neglected, its range of motion will decrease over time causing limitations to our movement, lower back pain and injury on the spine.
Lubricate to mobilize.
Good news! Yoga has simple yet very effective ways of gently and safely opening the hips. Stretching the back, sides and front of the hips will create space in the ball and socket, allowing your hips to increase its range of motion. Here are some of the most efficient Yoga poses that will help open your hips deeply with its gentle stretches. Stay in these postures for 3-5 breaths.
Garland Pose/ Malasana. The Yoga squat. This pose is best for stretching the lower back and opening the hips and when practiced regularly, its numerous benefits will surely extend its hands to you.
How: Stand up straight with your feet hip width apart, keeping them turned out at 30-45 degrees. Slowly sit while avoiding slouching the back as if you’re sitting in a little stool. Reach your arms forward to keep balance if needed. As you progress, aim to point the feet forward and bring the feet closer. Breathe deeply throughout the pose.
Frog Pose/ Bhekasana. This is great opener for the groin. Remember not to rush into full posture. Be patient and your body will slowly open itself naturally.
How: Starting with knees and hands on the ground, slowly pull your knees away from each other while making sure that your feet are aligned to your knees and your knees in line with your hips. Place your forearms on the ground to support your weight as you gently draw your hips closer to the floor. Do not force your body if you can’t rest your hips all the way down. Just allow the pose to gently stretch the groin region as you breathe. When practiced often with patience and self-awareness, frog pose will become possible.
Low Lunge/ Anjayenasana. This Yoga’s variation of lunge opens the front of the hips. It directly counteracts the tension caused by sitting for extended periods of time.
How: Begin with feet together and bring the right foot forward in a lunge position with your left foot’s toes curled under. Then slowly bring your left knee closer to the ground, uncurling your toes. Give your hips a little push forward to really feel the stretch. Breathe with awareness and do the same process with the other leg.
Bound Angle Pose/Bhadda Kunasana. This seated posture can be done anytime, anywhere. You can even do it while reading or watching television.
How: Sit on the ground while keeping your back straight. Bring your knees to your chest allowing your feet to rest flat on the ground then slowly drop your knees to sides. Hold your feet and shift your weight forward, bringing your chest towards the ground. Feel the stretch as you slowly lower your chest to the ground. Always remember to keep your back straight throughout the whole process.
Open hips means mobility and increasing the hips range of motion shouldn’t be too hard. Yoga has gentler ways of developing wellness both of the body and the mind. Do not rush the process. Be patient with the practice and allow it to open spaces of possibilities and awareness. Special thanks to 90 Degree by Reflex for their stellar line of yoga pants for women. You can buy the capri leggings pictured above on Amazon!