Hip Openers

Hip Openers

Definition

Hip openers are amongst the most powerful and impactful poses in yoga. Generally speaking, whenever we are stretching one of the many muscles (22 actually) that comprise our hips, we are contributing to open and healthy hips. Since these muscles have a wide variety of functions (hip extension, flexion, abduction, adduction), almost every pose in yoga would be a hip opener. With classic hip openers, we usually refer to stretching an opening specifically the hip flexors.

Tips & Tricks

  • Use props to enable the hip opening, e.g. a blanket / rolled towel under your heels in Malasana, a block underneath your bum/upper front thigh in pigeon pose
  • Use your breath to release tension with every exhale
  • Observe if tension transfers from the hips to other parts of your body – often into the shoulders, neck, jaw, or the (soles of your) feet. Can you consciously relax those areas too?

Benefits

  • Tight hips can result in severe pain in the (lower) back, sciatica, knees and feet. Practicing hip opening poses regularly can help preventing this.
  • Emotional burden is often “stored” in the hip region (especially in the Musculus iliopsoas). Hip openers help to release these emotions – and vice versa.
  • Stimulation of blood circulation in the pelvis area, which among others can help increasing sexual sensitivity.
  • Being connected to the root chakra and the sacral chakra, open hips represent joy, vitality and sensuality.

Watch-Outs

  • Contraindication: structural hip injuries, some hip opening poses (e.g. Malasana, Baddha Konasana) are not indicated for previous knee injuries – whenever you feel strain in your knee, move out of the pose.
  • Practicing deep hip openers can release strong emotional reactions – tapping into these might need the right space and time but is a wonderful opportunity to begin a process of healing.

Examples

Pigeon Pose

Eka Pada Rajakapotasana

Butterfly Pose

Baddha Konasana

High Lunge

Ashwa Sanchalanasana

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