Learn to release negative emotions, improve hip strength, improve hip opening, and improve hip function.
The Center Splits – Samakonasana
1. Stretches the hips and groin area
2. Provides strength to the hip joint and cures pain in that region
3. Releases deeply stored up negative emotions such as fear, guilt
There are so many reasons to do hip-opening poses: Supple hips can ease back pain, give you a more agile gait, and even improve circulation in your legs. But there’s a more subtle benefit to hip openers, too: We hold stress and negative emotions—such as fear, guilt, and sadness—in our pelvis, says “You know your junk drawer at home?” she asks. “The pelvis is like the body’s junk drawer. Whenever you don’t know what to do with a feeling or experience, you put it there.” Says, Stephanie Snyder.
Snyder designed the following sequence to move your ball-and-socket hip joint through its full range of motion. When you do it regularly, you may see improvement in the rest of your practice, since the pelvis is the foundation of alignment in many poses. Here are some things to remember as you do the sequence. Take your time with opening your hips, because hip ligaments are strong. “Don’t push yourself,” Snyder advises. “Be receptive to the breath moving into the pose.” If you have a knee injury, modify the seated poses by straightening your bottom leg, and practice poses on your back. At the same time, don’t avoid difficulty. People often dread hip openers because they are such a challenge. “Don’t look away from tight places,” Snyder says. “Be present without judgment. You can really make this a delicious practice.”
Utthan Pristhasana (Lizard Pose)
From Down Dog, step your right foot between your hands to a lunge position. Bring both forearms to the floor inside the right leg. Keep your inner left thigh lifting and resisting. As your left heel reaches back, your heart opens forward to create length in your upper back. You can modify the pose by bringing your back knee down or placing your forearms on a block. Stay for 8 breaths. Switch sides.
Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose), variation
From sitting, stack your right knee on top of your left. Your feet should be in about the same place on either side. Keep your feet active. Inhale to lift and lengthen you spine. You can stay here or you can fold forward by reaching your arms in front of you and resting your head near your knees. Keep rooting your sitting bones into the earth as you allow the front of your hips to soften into the body. Stay for 5 to 8 breaths. Switch sides.
From all fours, bring your forearms to the floor. You can put a blanket under each knee for padding. Widen your knees, one at a time, as far apart as possible and bend them so that your thighs and your shins are at 90-degree angles. Flex your feet. Keep your front ribs in, your waist long, and your tailbone down. Take 5 to 10 long, deep breaths through this challenging and effective hip opener.
Have a wonderful week! And get a cat nap in!
Melissa Redd, YogaKitty