The six best yoga poses for open hips
"This asana is for open hips" is a phrase you may have heard many times in yoga. But what exactly does it mean to have open hips?
The hips - more important than you think
The general perception of yoga is that it makes you more flexible and is good for your back. Of course, this is not wrong, however, there are complex processes going on in the body that cannot always be attributed to a single body part. An example of this is the hips: when we have back pain, the first thing we think is that we should do some back exercises. But maybe the truth is that the back just lacks the necessary mobility. This is where open hips come in: they provide more mobility in the lower back, preventing back pain. Open hips also bring your pelvis into optimal alignment, which also provides relief in the back. In addition, open hips reduce tension in the knees, relieving pressure on the knee joints. So you see, the hip is a pretty important joint.
The hips in yoga
Maybe you've heard that emotions, tension and stress get stuck in the hips, and you've wondered what that's all about?
When we are sad or stressed, these emotions get stuck in the hips. This is because the iliopsoas, the strongest hip flexor muscle in our body, contracts when we experience any form of tension. Because of its coupling with our nervous system, it is closely connected to our emotions.
Hip opener exercises provide better flexibility in the hip area, which then has a positive effect on how we feel emotionally.
The six yoga asanas for open hips
Now that we know that the hips play an important role in many areas of our body and soul, we would like to introduce you to a few yoga poses that open the hips, contributing not only to your physical well-being, but also to your emotional well-being.
It's best to start this pose standing. Stand with your feet about mat-width apart and let your toes point slightly outward.
Exhale and bend your knees until you are sitting in a deep squat. Now bring your hands together in front of your chest in prayer position and at the same time push your legs further apart, pressing your elbows against your inner knees.
Make sure your back remains straight, and your head is an extension of your spine.
02 Pigeon Pose
Begin pigeon pose in either a tabletop or downward-facing dog. From there, move your right knee forward and bring it slightly to the outer edge of the mat. The lower leg should be as parallel as possible to the end of the mat.
However, if this is too extreme for your hip, you can bend your knee in further, bringing your foot closer to your thigh. The left leg is extended straight back. Your knee and the top of your foot rest on the mat. Now support yourself with your fingers and straighten your upper body.
If you notice that your hips are not flexible enough and you slip to the right, you can also use a block and slide it under your right buttock.
03 Low Lunge
Start in downward-looking dog for this pose. Do a big lunge and bring your right foot between your hands. You can now rest the left knee as well as the top of the foot on the mat.
Now take your hands off the floor and straighten your spine.
You can either place your hands on your right leg or stretch them upwards towards the ceiling and train your back with a small backbend.
04 Frog Pose
Start for frog pose in downward-facing dog. Then take a deep breath and place your left knee between your hands. Now turn your body to the right and also place your right knee on the mat. Exhale, and now bring your elbows and forearms parallel to the mat, palms pressing into the floor.
Make sure your toes are pointing to the side, so the insides of your feet are on the mat. Bring your knees apart until you feel a good stretch in your hips.
Your knees should be at the same level as your hips and ankles in this asana, and your elbows should be in line with your shoulders.
05 Three legged Dog
The starting pose of this asana is the classic downward-facing dog. Start in table-top, fingers spread and pressing into the mat.
Exhale, tuck your toes, and lift your knees off the mat as you lift your buttocks and press toward the ceiling. Now you can slowly stretch your legs. Try to push yourself slightly off the floor with your hands to build up the right body tension and be able to push your heels towards the mat.
Now turn your arms slightly outward to let your shoulders sink further. The head is relaxed, but not simply left hanging. Now inhale and lift your right foot as high as you can off the mat. Then bend your knee and bring the heel towards the buttocks. This opens the hips pleasantly.
06 Baddha Konasana
This asana starts in a seated position on the mat. Pull the feet towards you and bring the soles of the feet together so that they touch.
Try to bring the feet as close to your pelvis as possible, with the knees pointing outward, and by externally rotating your thighs, you can bring them closer to the mat floor.
Now grasp the balls of your feet with your thumbs and open your feet as if you were opening a book. Now begin to lower your upper body towards your feet with your back straight.
The point here is not to get your head down as far as possible. Instead, make sure your back stays straight and doesn't round. It is also important that your hips do not lift off the mat.