Spring is in Bloom! Hip Opening Sequence
Materials needed: mat, strap
- Supta Hasta Padangusthasana (hand to big toe pose)– lay on back with knees bent and feet flat. Take your strap around the ball of your right foot, extending the sole of your right foot toward the ceiling. Hold for 4-5 breaths, extending the leg on each inhale and softening into the stretch on each exhale. Then take both straps in your right hand, drawing your right foot out to the side and opening the right hip. Again, hold for 4-5 breaths, extending on the inhale and surrendering on the exhale. Finally, bring your right foot back to center, switch the straps to your left hand, and bring your right leg across the body. Hold for 4-5 breaths in the same way as before. Repeat on the left side. In between sides and at the end, take a moment to lay still and notice the difference in the way the energy is moving through their body.
- Baddha Konasana (butterfly pose) against the wall- sit next to a wall with your right (or left) hip touching the base of the wall. Leaning back, sweep your legs sideways and up the wall (so you are in an L shape). Bending your knees into a butterfly position, pull the soles of your feet together. Breathe deeply and allow the hips to relax and open. Stay here for 2-5 minutes, using this time as a meditation.
- Utkata Konasana (goddess pose)– Standing sideways on your mat, step your feet wider than your hips. Bringing the arms up and bending the elbows in a “goal post” position, bend at the knees and sink into a wide squat. Hold for 4-5 breaths and then straighten the legs. Repeat 4-5 times.
- Virabhadrasana II (warrior 2)– From the wide legged position, pivot your front foot so your toes are pointing forward, keeping the back foot parallel to the back of the mat. Bring arms up to shoulder height and straight. Turn your head to look over your front hand and bend your front knee, stretching out through both sets of fingertips. Hold for 15-20 seconds, then switch sides.
- Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (pigeon pose)– Starting in Downward Facing Dog, raise your right leg so it extends away from you. Slide it forward to the back of your right wrist. Angle your right shin under your torso and bring your right foot to the front of your left knee, behind your left hand. The outside of your right shin should now rest on the floor. Bringing your right heel forward will intensify the pose. Remember to listen to your body. It is important to keep your right foot flexed to help protect your knee.
- Slide your left leg back behind you and let the front of your thigh sit on the floor. Make sure your left leg is extended straight behind you, not out to one side. Rotate the back thigh inward. Press all five toes of your back foot onto the mat.
- Lower the outside of your right tush to the floor. Bring your right heel in front of your left hip. Try to maintain equal weight in both hips, which will be a challenge if your right hip is tight. Go slow and be patient with yourself.
- Bring your hands to either side of your leg. Inhale and rise up on your fingertips, elongating your spine. Exhale and lay your upper body down over your right leg. Don’t worry about putting your head on the mat- if that is not attainable, stack your two fists, and lay your forward on your fists. You could also use a block or blanket. Only lower to a point that is comfortable for your hips but also gives them a deep stretch. Focus on placing equal weight on both hips and keeping your spine long. If your hips are flexible or open, stretch your arms forward and stack your hands on top of each other. Rest your head on your hands, laying your torso over your right thigh.
- Hold this pose for 4-5 breaths. Inhale and exhale deeply through your nose.
Go enjoy this beautiful spring day with beautifully open hips!