August 27, 2014

#17 "Yoga Minute" Seated #4 Hip Opener

Most of us have tight hips, including some Yogis and athletes.

If you run, bike, hike, ski, walk or SIT most of your day you probably have tight hips. Lets say you get up and SIT to eat breakfast, SIT to drive to work, SIT at work, come home and SIT for dinner and then SIT while reading, watching TV and/or social media, then you probably have tight hips.

The "Seated #4 Hip Opener" is a great safe place to start opening your hips.

Full Version of "Seated #4 Hip Opener": Begin by sitting with the shoulders over the hips knees bent at a 90 degree angle with the knees over the ankles. Push your hands into your legs to lengthen your spine. Now lift up and bend one knee so the lower and upper leg are together as much as you can get them. What this does is help prevent the knee from being damaged when opening the tight hips. Tight hips can't open easily so the movement happens at the weaker knee laterally. The knee is designed for forward and backward movement not side to side. Also, flex the foot so the toes are pointing toward the knee and the heel away from the ankle making it safer for the knee when opening the hip. Now rotate the leg from the hip NOT THE KNEE so the hip begins to open enough to place the ankle above the opposite knee. Just set and let the hip begin to slowly open in the pose.
Don't force, just feel the hip opening. Be present with the pose.

Watch the video above for milder versions if your hips are extremely tight or you have a knee injury.

How long to hold the pose: Work up to at least 20 seconds if you can hold it longer work up to 60 seconds or longer. See last paragraph below on how long to hold poses.

Benefits: Eases back pain, improves circulation in the hip and pelvic region, releases tension in the knee. A lot of time people with knee pain usually have tight hips and by loosening the hips the pain in the knee goes away.
When you have open and flexible hips, it allows for smooth forward movement and the ease to lift the leg when walking. Many older adults, while walking, are not able to lift their legs due to tight hips, so they are shuffling as opposed to walking. I see this a lot in the four nursing homes I teach yoga.

Spending just a few minutes a day doing some hip openers will prevent injury and even boost performance. Also makes you feel better.

If you are seated all day maybe you can incorporate some "Seated #4 Hip Opener" work throughout the day to help open your hips.

These videos are designed for inactive beginners, seniors and people with most any illness or injury. I’ll also be posting these videos on my You Tube Channel “Yoga Chuck” and Facebook page “Real Yoga, LLC”. All poses should be a No Pain No Pain practice and avoid having discomfort. 

How long to hold the pose: If pain is above a 5 on a scale of 0-10, then only hold the pose 10-15 seconds, you can repeat this multiple times. If your pain level is 5 or lower you can hold the pose 30 seconds to 1 minute. Listen to your body and make adjustments as needed. Explanation: If you’re pain level is above a 5 then the muscles are actually tightening to protect themselves, so you will no longer be stretching them. This is why you should come in and out of the pose multiple times in order to get a stretch with pain level above a 5.

Happy & Healthy,
Yoga Chuck

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