3 Yoga Asanas That Can Help Open Up the Hips and Improve Flexibility
Your hips endure a lot from the moment you wake up, through all the activities you perform during the day. Even something as simple as sitting depends on your hips. Given how many of your actions require your hips, it’s natural for them to become strained or stiff sometimes. You may not even realise this is happening until your lower back or thighs start aching.
This is the reason why practising hip-opening yoga asanas is so important. These yoga asanas stretch the hips and their surrounding areas, improve circulation and range of motion, and relieve pain. The following are three easy hip-openers you can try.
1. Baddha Konasana
Not only does this asana stretch out the hips, thighs and groin but it also stimulates the abdominal organs.
- Sit with your back straight and legs straightened in front of you.
- Inhale, then bend your knees and pull your heels towards your pelvis while exhaling. Press the soles of your feet together.
- Bring the joint heels as close to the pelvis as possible, then grasp the big toe of each foot with the first and second fingers and thumbs. If you can’t reach the toes comfortably, hold from the ankle or shins.
- Keep your back straight and apply gentle pressure to push the knees towards the ground.
- Hold this position for a minute, then inhale, lift your knees and stretch your legs to return to the starting position. Repeat five times.
This asana stretches the hips as well as the entire back and is very relaxing.
- Kneel on a mat with your toes placed together and the top of your feet facing the floor. Rest your hips on or just above your heels and place your knees hip-width apart.
- Breathe in deeply, and bend forwards to gently press your torso to your thighs while exhaling.
- Your hands should be on your side, palms facing up and relaxed to release the tension from your hips, back and shoulders.
- Try to touch the mat with your forehead and rest in this position.
- Hold this resting position for a minute while breathing gently yet deeply through your nose. Return to the starting position and repeat five times.
This asana stretches and stimulates all the crucial joints in the body, including the hips, ankles and shoulders.
- Sit on a flat surface with both your legs straight in front of your body.
- Bend your left knee and slide the left leg underneath the right leg. The left heel should touch the side of the right hip.
- Adjust your right leg to ensure the right heel touches the side of your left hip.
- The right knee should be directly above the left knee.
- Turn your left arm behind your back to place the back of your left hand on the spine.
- Bend your right arm from the elbow and place the right palm flat at the back of your right shoulder.
- Now, reach for and try to clasp the fingers of both hands behind your back. If you can, then clasp the hands or fingers together. If the hands don’t meet, place them as close to each other as possible and apply gentle pressure to make the fingers touch.
- Push back your right elbow towards the back of your head so the head presses against the inside of the right arm.
- Keep your spine erect, head straight and stay in this position for 30 seconds.
- Unclasp the fingers and come back to the starting position. Repeat the exercise with the opposite limbs.
For more information, read our article on Yoga.
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