A vitally important foundation for providing your entire body with strength and stability, our hips offer support to our spine and organs. Because of the amount of movement we put our hips through on a daily basis, never mind when we hit the dance floor Shakira style, it’s no wonder our hips can feel the strain. Discover how yoga poses that relax and open the hip help both body and mind.
How tight hips impact the body
The hip flexors are made up of a group of muscles which connect the lower body, which we know as the pelvis area. It’s pretty easy for the hips to tighten up, as just being seated for too long during the day can lead to a loss in flexibility.
Tightness in the hips can contribute to back pain and poorer circulation in the legs. That’s because tension may cause the hips to push forward and your back to stiffen in order to compensate, or it can also lead to painful slouching and hunching.
Tight hips and your emotions
It might not just be our motion that’s impacted by carrying tension in our hips. Yogic tradition highlights the hips as being vast stores for holding on to all our emotional baggage.
There’s some physiological basis for this thinking too. Whenever we feel physically threatened, or emotionally distraught our instinctive response is often to draw our knees close to our chest and adopt a foetal like position. It all starts with clenching the hips and tightly holding the muscles.
Some people believe that emotions such as fear, control, anger, sadness and anxiety can become trapped as tension in the body. Hip openers are therefore said to aid the release of negative feelings by allowing for that emotion to escape.
So don’t be surprised if practicing intense hip openers in your yoga routine leaves you feeling like a weight has been lifted in more ways than one!
3 Deliciously Deep Hip Opening Asanas
Providing an intense stretch to the hip flexors, this beautiful balance challenger also stretches out the groin and legs, opens the shoulders and chest, and tones the bum and thighs at the same time.
2. Pigeon Pose
Arguable the mother of all hip openers, the great thing about Kapotasana is that you can reduce or intensify the stretch according to your needs. The stretch becomes more intense the more you bring your bent leg into a right angle, squaring off the foot.
A lovely yin option to really feel into your hip opener. Spend at least 5 minutes deeply breathing into the asana, allowing yourself to let go a little bit more with every wave of breath.
Want to really go to town on opening those hips? Then check out one of our favourite 30 minute yoga hip opening videos from Yoga Journal.
Happy Hip Opening Yoginis!