Yoga and Essential Oils
This yoga sequence to open the hips does double duty. While the poses all help to open the hips they are also stabilizing our standing leg muscles and improving our balance. Why is it important to stretch and open the hip area? Tight hips lead to a sore back and knee injuries.
How do our hips get so tight? Sitting.
Sitting is the new smoking in terms of health issues that arise from our inactive workplaces and life styles. Releasing the tightness in the hip area through regular stretching is a simple way to prevent injuries from occurring. Tightness in the hips causes strain and pulling on the low back area. Plus all the sitting on chairs does not help our core strength which also leads to back strain and injury.
The hip area is also connected to our knee joint, an especially vulnerable area of the body and subject to injury when its pulled out of alignment from tightness in the hips.
On the energetic side the hips are both an area of creativity and passion plus where we store emotions. Use this practice before writing, painting, drawing, or any creative project to get the ideas flowing.
This series works well both in the morning and evening. Connect with a feeling of flow as you move through the poses and keep your focus on freeing up movement in the hips.
Starting off in Legs Up The Wall is perfect for those days when it feel hard to get out of bed and you want to ease gently into your day. On the flip side ending your day with legs up the wall is super restorative too and helps take all the effort out of your day. The key in this pose is to have the legs straight, so be as close to the wall as you can and still have straight legs.
As a variation to Legs Up The Wall that really gets into the hip joint, cross one ankle over the opposite knee allowing the knee to fall back towards the wall. You can slowly bend the straight leg to go deeper into the stretch.
Gate Pose continues this week to open the chest and also this week focus on the hips.
Breathe deep in the Lunge Series and allow yourself to let go and relax into the stretch. Hold each lunge variation for a few breaths and each time breathe out and relax.
If you practise in the evening keep your Sun Salutations slow and mindful so you don’t get the mind and body racing before bed time. If you are building up your Sun Salutations each week – flow through 7 to begin with and then do one in between sides of the standing series and to end off the standing poses to total 9 reps this week. Make sure to do the variation of Sun Salutations with the step back into lunge to keep opening through that area.
In each of the Standing Series Poses focus on opening the hips.
• In Tree Pose keep the hips facing forward and encourage the hip to open as you take the knee back.
• For Dancer Pose align the knees before you hinge forward at the hips to get a deeper stretch in the front of the thigh.
• In Warrior Three focus on hip stability and keeping the hips level as you take one leg back.
• Half Moon pose is especially sweet when you practise against a wall. Do this occasionally to open the hips and then notice how much deeper you go next time you balance away from the wall.
• Challenge your balance by flowing from each pose to the next without putting your foot down.
• Eagle Pose helps to close off and release the hip muscles after stretching.
Make sure to engage the core before lifting up in any of the back bends. We are working to strengthen and protect the low back and don’t want to injure this area while we do it.
The Bow Variation, Bow Pose and Wheel are very effective to open the front of the thighs (the hip flexors).
The Down Dog / Pigeon Series is especially helpful to release stuck emotions. Feel free to hang out in the poses for several minutes if you have the time. Raising the back leg in pigeon is another great stretch for the hip flexors, Mermaid Pose we call it in kids yoga.
Start by doing both sides of Head to Knee Pose. This one stretches the hamstrings and the outer hips. Hold each side for 3 – 5 breaths.
The do the middle part of the Series; Butterfly Pose, Rock the Baby, Lotus and Twist all on one side, then flow through the other side. A nice variation in Criss-Cross Pose is to release forward to stretch out the low back. Hugging your Knees to your chest will help relieve any low back tension from the stretches.
Reclined Tree and Reclined Butterfly are beautiful passive hip stretches. Add these every night before bed if hip flexibility is your challenge area.
Releasing the hips may bring up a lot of old emotions and feeling that you are ready to let go of. You can ease the process and find completion by taking a few minutes to let the thoughts and feelings come up and release.
Use this Guided Meditation to Let Go to help with the processing and clear space for new opportunities.
Print out the pose guide for the Yoga Sequence to Open the Hips to use this week and keep this key series as part of your weekly practise.
Enjoy your new found freedom in the hips!
Easy Peasy Morning Yoga
How to Start a Yoga Practice at Home
Over 20 yoga videos to make getting started easy and accessible, even if you’ve never tried yoga before. Or even worse – you’ve tried and been discouraged.