Happy Hips Happy Human – A Hip Opener Programme

Seat in Buddha Konasana position, where do you feel pain? Which parts of your body feel uncomfortable? Try to identify how your body reacts in this pose.

For me the stretch I feel the most is on the external rotators but your pain might be different. You can feel it in many different muscles such as the adductors, the gluteus, the hamstrings and the external rotators.

It’s important to consider that you need to work on the whole circumference of the hip joints. If you don’t have enough time you can always pick one pose of each series to make sure you are working effectively.

There are tones of hip opening poses but in this article you will find the sequence is the most effective in opening my hips. Feel free to explore, add or take out poses.

Take 5 to 15 long breaths in each pose and change side when relevant.

If you feel any sharp pain in the knees or any other part please get out of the pose and try to find alternatives. 

This programme will help your for the very famous Padmasana (lotus pose). However if your knees are too high in Buddha Konasana (cross-legged position) I strongly recommend that you dont’ try this pose yet as you will apply too much force on your knees. You will have to obtain first a full range of motion in the external rotation of the hip joints in order to bring your foot on the opposite knee. 

If you want to work on your joints you should exercises almost everyday. Joints and tendons are more difficult to stretch than muscles. With time you will notice the range of movement in the hips increase, your asana practice will feel better  and walking/seating will feel freer.

Moving forward you can already start to change your habits. Seat on the floor as much as you can. When you are on a chair seat with one ankle on the opposite knee and change side.

Be patient and gentle and enjoy this hip opening programme!

Hip flexors

Anjaneyasana – Low lunge pose

Make sure to contract your core and suck your belly to create space in the base of the spine and stretch the hip flexors.

The knee at 90 degrees should not go beyond your toes

Should you feel pain in the knee which stays on the ground you can fold your yoga mat under your knee.

Advanced: Bend your left leg for a deeper stretch

Ultra Beginner

Beginner and Intermediate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adductors series

Malasana – Garland pose

Keep your spine lengthened and stay relaxed.

Beginner: If your heels don’t reach the ground at all, place a pillow under your feet for support.

Intermediate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Utthita Parsvakonasana – Extended side angle pose

For this pose, activate the foot of the extended leg and press it down, specially the outer edge of the foot. Keep your spine lengthened and spread your weight equally on both feet.

Beginner: Place your left elbow on the left thigh, the right arm extended over the head

Intermediate: Hand on the outer edge of the front foot

Advanced: Bind hands behind

Intermediate

Advanced

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Upavistha Konasana – Wide-angle seated forward bend

Keep your feet flexed. Toes and knees pointing upwards to the ceiling.

Keep your back straight.

With time, you can start walking your hand forward, and even placing the elbows on the ground

Another alternative to this pose is to lay down with legs up against a wall, sitting bones close to a wall and spread the legs down allowing gravity to work.

Beginner and Intermediate

Advanced

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hamstrings Series

Hamstrings is a group of 3 different muscles, your tightness might be on one, two or the three of them.

Paschimottanasana – Seated forward bend

This pose will stretch all 3 muscles at the same time. Sit on the floor with your legs straight and fold forward from your hip joints to stretch the hamstrings. Keep the spine straight and the head and spine neutral.

Beginner: place your palms on the floor keep the back straight

Advanced: catch your right wrist with your left hand behind your feet

Intermediate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last but not least, especially for me…

External Rotators

Eka Pada Rajakapotasana – Pigeon Pose

Make sure you are not rolling out on the side of the bent leg.

Beginner: If you can’t touch your hips on the floor place a block under your right hip. Keep spine straight, neck and shoulder neutral (relaxed).

Intermediate: If you can, place elbows on the floor first, you can also walk your hands forward and place your forehead on the floor or on a block.

Advanced: If you can go deeper, bend your left knee and catch your left foot with your left hand.

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Agnistambhadasana – Double Pigeon

Place your foot on top of the opposite knee, shins parallel to the front of the mat. If your knees are too high, place a block or cushion between the floor and your upper leg. 

Beginner: If you cannot place the foot on top of the other knee, sit crossed legged (shins crossing) and work from here.

Advanced: If comfortable, slowly walk your hands forward, you can place your belly onto the floor.

Intermediate

Advanced

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gomukhasana – Cow face pose

To arrange the legs correctly, place both hands forward shifting your weigh onto the arms and arrange the legs with one knee on top of the other and then slowly sit back down. If you feel sharp pain in the knees, raise your upper leg and go into Ardha Matsyendrasana (Twist seated position).

Intermediate

Advanced

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mandukasana – Frog Pose Sequence

From a table top position widen your knees to the sides. The legs should be at a 90 degrees. Place your elbows on the ground. Squeeze your abdomen to avoid arching your back.  Beginners, you can place one block under each of your thigh. Advanced, please lie on the floor.

Intermediate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lie down onto Savasana for 5 minutes.

By Elsa Gobet