The number one request I get in class is for hip openers, hands down, and it's usually followed by either groans or cheers. So basically you love hip openers or despise them, there is no in-between. I used to be one of those that groaned, loudly. Now one of my favorite poses is Mandukasana, or more commonly known as frog pose (pictured.)
Let me start by first explaining what a hip opener is. There are roughly 20 muscles that make up the hip cradle, those that connect the legs to the hip and hip to the low back. Any pose that stretches any of these muscles is considered a hip opener.
Next, do you sit a lot behind a desk staring at a computer, or drive for long distances? Maybe you are an athlete and squat, run, bike, or play tennis often? If one of these applies to you, you probably have tight hips as these are some of the physical causes of tight hips. When the hips are tight it increases the load and causes overuse of the muscles attaching from the hips to the spine resulting in back pain. So open your hips to decrease your lower back pain and hip soreness.
Lastly, this is the biggest one, are you stressed? The hips are a storage for negative feelings and pent-up emotions. This is because they are directly related with the flight or fight response. When you feel threatened, your reflex's kick in and activate your hip flexors causing you curl up into the fetal position. Then you store that stress there and hold it in your hips. So open your hips to release that emotion and stress.
Ready for some hip openers? Come take my Gentle Release class on Wednesday from 4-5:15pm or Sundays 10:15am-11:15am
By Matt Rowen, ERYT-200
Yoga with a twist.
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