Hip Openers: Releasing Tension and Finding Freedom Through Yoga Asanas

We have over 20 muscles operating in the region of the hips.

These include the adductors in the inner thighs, the abductors in the outer thighs, the hip flexor muscles which move through the pelvis and attach to the upper thigh bone, the femur the lateral rotators in the pelvic region and the extensors, at the back of the thighs.

All of these need to be kept Stretched and Flexible

The hip adductors help to move the hip back towards the midline of the body and they mainly are the pectineus, gracilis, adductor brevis, adductor longus and adductor magnus The key hip abductors, which move the hip away from the midline of the body are the gluteus minimus, gluteus medius and the tensor fasciae latae; the primary hip extensors, which allow the legs to stretch out behind, include the gluteus maximus and the hamstrings; and our main hip flexors, which flex the hip or which decrease the angle between the hip and the thighs, are the rectus femoris, iliac, psoas and the sartorial muscles.

Impact Of Tight Hips On our Back And Spine Health

Tight hips not only prevent us from being able to do a wide range of yoga postures but they impact our everyday life. Tight hips make everyday movements like bending down and sitting on the floor, difficult. To compensate for tight hips, the spine has to work extra hard and this causes stress and over-load on the spine and back muscles which then further leads to back ache. Working regularly on hip openers will improve one’s range of motion and take some load off the spine. This will bring relief to the back and ease one’s back pain. In addition, these asanas will also improve one’s posture by balancing the pelvis and spine alignment and reduce the risk of injuries and chronic pain. 

Impact Of Tight Hips On Our Weight

Hip openers are a vital part of my Online Yoga Classes For Weight Loss because hip openers help to enhance flexibility and mobility in our hip joints, crucial for various daily activities and for being able to do weight loss exercises. Improved hip flexibility will alleviate lower back pain, as tight hip muscles lead to lumbar strain. With a compromised back it becomes difficult to do the energetic exercises required for weight loss, so flexible hips are a must for being able to keep a trim and fit body.

Impact Of Tight Hips On Our Emotional Health

We are all aware that we humans hold tension in our neck and shoulder region and our lower back also. What we are not aware of is that the hips are also  a storehouse for emotions and stress. The Psoas muscle deep within our core on either side of the vertebral column and leading to the brim of the lesser pelvis , is a vital muscle for experiencing ease in the hips. The Psoas tightens up when we feel stress or fear. So, practicing hip openers can trigger emotional release and help us let go of pent-up feelings which will lead to emotional freedom, reduced anxiety, and improved well-being. 

Impact Of Tight Hips On Our Knees

We have two key hip flexor muscles that extend between two vital joints viz our hips and our knees. These are the Rectus Femoris and the Sartorius muscles. Tightness in the hips will pull on the knee joint, causing pain in the knee joint and the pain and discomfort could also extend all the way down to the ankles and feet.

Importance Of Hip strength As We Age

With advancing age, the risk of breaking a hip increases. The hip is the largest ball and socket joint in the body. Developing strength and flexibility in all the muscles and bones in the hip region will ensure this joint functions well and remains strong till the very end of our life.

Hip-Openers For Better Alignment

When we are operating out of tight hips then often this is accompanied by subtle misalignments in the hip joint. Any imbalance in the hips will also have a rippling effect on other body areas there will be every chance for there to be misalignment in the back, the knees and all the way to the ankle joint. As hips develop flexibility and strength, these imbalances get corrected.

6 Effective Hip-Opening Asanas

Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana) Pigeon Pose is a quintessential hip opener that targets the hip flexors and rotators. To get into this pose we begin in Downward-Facing Dog, then bring the right knee forward and place it behind the right wrist. We then extend our left leg back, ensuring the hips are squared. Ease the hips to the floor. Hands should be pressed into the floor and one should hold ones upper body upright. This pose deeply stretches the hip muscles and should be held for several breaths to allow the muscles to relax and release. It needs to be repeated on the other side.

Butterfly Pose (Baddha Konasana)

Butterfly Pose gently opens the inner thighs and hips. We need to sit with the soles of our feet together, knees bent, allowing our knees to fall to the sides, to the floor or towards the floor. We should hold onto our feet with our hands and gently press our knees towards the ground. This pose can be done dynamically by flapping the bent legs at a steady pace or then or by holding the posture static for a few minutes to deepen the stretch.

Garland Pose (Malasana)

Garland Pose, a deep squat, is excellent for opening the hips and groin. We should stand with our feet slightly wider than hip-width apart and squat down, bringing our torso between our thighs. Then press our elbows against our inner knees and bring our hands together in prayer position. Besides hip opening this pose strengthens the legs and improves balance. In a more advanced version we release our forehead to the floor and take the arms back, hands behind our heels and catch the wrist of one hand with the other hand.

Happy Baby Pose (Ananda Balasana)

Another effective hip opening stretch, the Happy Baby pose, in addition relaxes our back as we press and massage it into the floor. This posture is done lying down supine, then bending the knees such that we form a 90 degree angle between the thighs and the shins. We draw the thighs out to the sides so that they are not on the chest, and we reach and catch our ankles or wherever we can reach. We can hold here or we could choose to gently roll left and right in this position massaging the left and right sides of our back into the mat. Little babies are often found in this position.

Aligning Ankles & Knees Pose (Agnistambhasana)

We should sit on our buttocks and place our bent legs in front in such a way that we place shin on shin, aligning knee on top of ankle on one side and ankle on knee on the other. The lower legs should be parallel to the front line of the mat. This is a strong leg and hip opener. To intensify this posture, we can begin to bend forward as much as possible. People with very open hips will be able to bend down and place their forehead on the floor. As we bend forward, a strong stretch is felt in the outsides of the thighs, on the hip abductor muscles.

Supine Pigeon Pose/ Reclined Thread The Needle Pose (Supta Kapotasana)

Lying on our back, we form a figure 4 position with our legs. Then clasp our hands under the bent knee and draw that thigh down towards the chest. To intensify the stretch, we can push the figure four inner knee outwards with the elbow. Hold this for 10 deep breaths then bring the hands out, straighten the bent knee leg, raising it straight up and reach and catch the ankle of this leg with both hands. Next exhale the head up to or towards this raised leg knee.

Conclusion

If you want to learn how hip openers work, or you want to know more about executing these exercises correctly, you can always schedule a yoga session with ‘Yoga with Sapna’. When attempting new postures be mindful of correct alignment and preventing injuries. You can always opt for professional assistance with Yoga Courses Online in India and approach your practice sensibly.

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