Hip Openers

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Bound Angle Pose

Bound Angle Pose (also Cobbler or Butterfly Pose) (Baddha Konasana) View

Come to seated position, spine extended and straight. Bring soles of your feet to touch and gently grab your feet or toes with hands. Bring heels as close to the pelvis as you comfortably can. Gently press thighs and knees down.
To keep the spine straight you may want to sit on a folded blanket. As you relax into it you can fold forward, keeping back straight, chest and shoulders open. Stay in position 1-5 minutes.

Benefits: Supports hip joint, thigh and pelvic flexibility. stimulates abdominal organs and kidneys, improves circulation, helps relieve mild depression, anxiety, and fatigue. Eases menstrual and menopausal discomfort and sciatica.
Contraindications: Groin or knee injury (blanket may be used to support under outer thighs), those with high blood pressure should not fold completely forward.


Step Back

Lunge Pose or Runner’s Lunge (Ardha Mandalasana) View

Beging standing in mountain pose (tadasana), strong and stable. Exhale and bending at the hip into standing forward bend.
Extend one leg back into a long lunge. Place the hands down on each side of front foot. The ball of the back foot is on the mat, heel extending back. The knee of the front leg is in alignment with the front ankle. Do not bring the front knee infront of the ankle. This may lead to knee and ankle strain/injuries. Release groin muscles, drop the hips evenly down towards the floor. Reach spine forward and up. Looking forward, inhale and open chest by rolling shoulder blades down back. To come out of the pose, bring the back foot forward to meet the front foot into standing forward bend. Inhale and roll the spine back up into mountain pose. Repeat on other side.

Benefits: Opens the hips and groins; stretches and tones the calves, thighs, and hamstrings. Relieves backache and sciatica.
Contraindications: Serious knee injury. To avoid neck strain, look down towards the floor rather than straight ahead. If this pose seems difficult, try placing the back knee on the floor for support.


Twisting Extended Side Angle Pose

Twisting Extended Side Angle Pose View

This version of extended side angle involves twisting the torso, to open the chest and shoulders. Take extended hand and roll shoulder out and back to open chest. Wrap arm behind the back and rest it on thigh of bent leg or on lower back. Allow space between shoulders and ears. Focus on keeping shoulders and chest open. To release, inhale and reach the left fingers up and back into warrior II or straighten the legs coming into 5 pointed star. Repeat on other side.

Benefits: Opens the side of the body and chest. Energizes the body and strengthens legs.
Contraindications: Recent or chronic injury to the hips, knees, neck or shoulders.


Revolved Extended Side Angle Pose (Parivrtta Parsvakonasana)_4Revolved Side Angle (Parsvakonasana) View

Start in tadasana. Step right foot forward, bend your knee 90 degrees. Bring left elbow or left upper arm over right knee. Place right hand on right hip. Bring hands together in the prayer position to the right of your knee rather than leaning on your leg. Right elbow is pointing up. Press left arm into right knee, stretch back, bring shoulder blades up and back. Turn upper body to the right. Straighten left leg backwards. Bring left hand to floor and raise right arm straight up. Lengthen your neck, shoulders away from the ears. Lengthen the spine on each inhale, and deepen twist each exhale. Hold for 3-5 breaths. To come out, bring down raised arm, lower back knee to floor and repeat on other side.

Benefits: Strengthens and stretches legs, groin, hamstrings, shoulders, and spine. Opens the chest.
Contraindications:headache, uncontrolled high or low blood pressure. lower back, knee, or neck injury (keep head in neutral position if you have neck problems.)



Extended Side Angle Pose

Extended Side Angle Pose View


Start in Warrior Two. Lengthen the spine. Right foot in front, knee is bent (about 90 degrees). Knee is stacked over (or just behind) ankle. The left leg is back and straight, foot pressing into mat. Keeping the body flat (like you are against a wall) turn your arms so your right hand is extended down toward the floor while the left is reaching up toward the ceiling. The left hand can touch the floor or bend right elbow and rest it lightly on your thigh. Breathe and hold position for 3-6 breaths. To release, inhale and reach the left fingers up and back into warrior II or straighten the legs coming into 5 pointed star. Repeat on other side.

Benefits: Opens the side of the body from feet to fingers. Energizes the body and strengthens legs.
Contraindications: Recent or chronic injury to the hips, knees, neck or shoulders.


Revolved TriangleRevolved Triangle Pose (Parvritta Trikonasana) View

Bedgin in Warrior II. Straighten front leg (right leg). Square hips towards front. Twist to the right. Bring the left hand to outside of right foot. If this causes strain, bring left hand to block or inside of left foot. Lift right arm up, gaze towards right fingertips. Breathe and extend in all directions. Repeat on the other side

Benefits: Strengthen legs. Stretches hips, groins, hamstrings, and muscles around spine. Opens chest and shoulders. Improves balance.
Contraindications: headache, uncontrolled high or low blood pressure. lower back, knee, or neck injury (keep head in neutral position if you have neck problems.)



Extended Triangle

Extended Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana) View

Begin in tadasana (above). Widen stance, stepping 3 to 4 feet apart. Turn right foot out 90 degrees, rotating right thigh outward. Turn left foot inward slightly to a 45 degree angle. Distribute weight evenly over both feet. Keep legs straight, elongate torso continuing to face forward. Raise arms parallel to the floor and reach through the fingertips. Reaching strongly shift torso to the right while shifting hips to the left. Hinging at the hips, lean to the right, bringing right hand to rest on mat or block by right foot, or on leg according to flexibility. Stretch left arm up, bring gaze to raised hand. Draw right shoulder back, spiral chest outward. Breathe and extend in all directions. To come out, press into feet, raising torso upright, hands down to sides. Repeat on the other side.

Benefits: Stretches and strengthens leg muscles from ankles to hips, knees, abdominals, obliques, shoulders, chest, spine. Stimulates abdominal organs (improving digestion and elimination).
Contraindications: low blood pressure, heart conditions, headache, neck problems (keep head in neutral position if you have neck problems.)


Full Tree

Tree Pose (Vrksasana) View

Stand grounded in Mountain Pose (Tadasana). Shift your weight onto the left leg. Slowly bend your right leg, and place the soul of the foot onto the inner side of the standing leg, on the ankle, calf or thigh. Press through the standing foot, and lengthen the torso. Bring your hands together into Namaste mudra (prayer position). Breathe naturally. Hold for as long as you feel comfortable. When you are ready to release, bring your foot back down gently and alternate sides.

Benefits: Develops awareness, balance, concentration, and poise. Strengthens legs, ankles and feet, and hips
Contraindications: headache, vertigo. knee, foot or hip injury


Fire Log Pose

Knee to Ankle Pose or Fire Log Pose – (Agnistambhasana) View

(Also known as double pigeon pose) Begin in a seated position, legs straight out in front (staff pose). Bend knees, bringing the right leg in and stacking the left leg on top of it. Flex both feet.(If this is too strenuous try widening the space between your legs and bring the top foot over the lower leg or cross your ankles.) You may choose to hold this position or continue to forward fold.

Inhale, lift and lengthen the spine. Exhale, lowering chest to the floor. Bring hands palms down in front of you. Hold. Breathe deeply and steadily. To come out, inhale upright and uncross legs. Repeat on other side.
Benefits: Stretches the hip and groins
Contraindications: Low back injury, knee injury
Modifications: Place folded blanket under sit bones if necessary. Support top knee with a blanket or a block if the gap is large.


Full VersionReclined Hero Pose (Supta Virasana) View

DO NOT perform pose unless you can sit buttocks easily on the mat between your feet.
*If this feels too advanced, try the modified version shown in upper right corner.
From virasana, exhale and lower back toward mat. First lean onto hands, then forearms and elbows. Then place hands on the back of the pelvis and release lower back and buttocks down onto floor or a support. Lengthen lower back into the floor. Lay arms on floor near sides, palms up. Sink hips into mat. Knees may lift slightly away from floor. You may want to raise the knees a few inches up on a folded blanket. Keep thighs parallel. Do not allow knees to drift wider than the hips (to avoid straining hips and lower back).
To begin, hold pose for 30 seconds and gradually extend to 5 minutes. To come out, press forearms into mat, come onto hands. Then push torso up with hands, leading with the chest.

Benefits: Stretches abdomen, thighs, knees, ankles, and deep hip flexors. Relieves tired legs. Improves digestion. Aids menstrual pain.
Contraindications: Serious back, knee, or ankle problems, heart problems.



Happy Baby Pose

Happy Baby Pose (Ananda Balasana) View

Lie on your back, draw knees to chest. Open knees, bringing them toward armpits. Stack each ankle over knees, shins perpendicular to floor. Flex feet. Grab hold of outside edges of each foot.

Modifications: Hold inside arches of feet or ankles. Place blanket under neck.
Benefits: Opens and stretches the hips and groin, Lengthens,helps realign the spine, calms the mind, relieves stress
Contraindications: pregnancy, knee or ankle injuries, extremely tight hips


Eye of the Needle

Threading the Needle, Reclined Pigeon (Sucirandhrasana) View

Lie on back, knees bent and soles of feet on the floor. Breathe deeply, let the body relax into the mat. Cross left ankle over right knee. You can stay in this position if you have tight hips, or draw bent knee toward chest for a deeper stretch. Bring both hands to right shin, lifting your right foot off the floor and threading left hand through your legs. Using your hands, draw right thigh toward chest. Left hip opens. If this reach through the hole, around the knee is not possible, clasp hands together around top of right knee. Try not to lift head and shoulders off of mat. Press right knee away from body gently while drawing left knee to chest. Hold pose for 6-24 breaths, release hands and bring soles of feet to mat. Repeat on the other side.

Benefits: Stretches the hips. Stretches and strengthen lower back muscles, reduces pain and tension.
Contraindications: Use caution with knee injury or pain


Pigeon Pose

Pigeon or Swan Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana) View

Come into the pose from either downward facing dog or table pose (on hands and knees). Slide right knee up between hands so outer right leg is resting on the mat. Make sure left hip is always pointing down toward the mat. If hip begins to raise up (or if knee feels) stressed, draw your right foot back in toward your body. If hips are more open, inch right foot away. Center yourself so your weight is even. Slide back knee away until right buttock reaches the floor or as low as possible. Stay here (shown) or walk hands out in front of you, bringing the torso to rest over front knee. Hold, breathe into tight areas for five or more breaths.The longer you stay in this pose, the more you allow your hips to settle in and open up. Slowly come out, bring hands closer and push the floor away. Pull right foot back into starting pose. Then step your left foot forward and repeat on the left side.

Benefits: opens and brings flexibility to hips, (increases external range of motion of femur in hip socket), lengthens hip flexors, releases emotional tension (held in hips)
Contraindications: knee injury, sacroiliac issues


One Legged Pigeon

One Legged King Pigeon (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana) View



IMG_47001-300x199Anantasana Pose View

Side Reclining Leg Lift, Sleeping Vishnu Pose



Lizard Pose or Pyramid 4 (Parsvottonasana 4)Lizard Pose (Uttahan Pristhasana) View



FrogFrog Pose (Mandukasana) View

Begin in table pose. Slowly widen your knees out to the sides until you feel a stretch in your inner thighs. Draw the ankles directly behind the knees with the feet turned outward. Keep the inside of each calf and foot in contact with the floor and ankles in line with your knees. Bring the elbows and forearms on to the floor with the palms flat on the floor or with the palms pressed together. Exhale pressing the hips back until you feel a deep stretch in the hips and inner thighs. Hold the pose for several breaths. Release by easing hips forward and press back to Table Pose.

Modifications: Place folded blankets under the knees or elbows. Benefits: Opens the hips, groin and inner thighs. Opens chest and shoulders, calming. Therapeutic for menstrual cramps Contraindications: Recent or chronic injury to the knees, hips, legs, or ankles. 



HanumanasanaMonkey Pose (Hanumanasana) View