hello friends! ever since these photos of me started making the rounds on tumblr, the most common question i get asked is “what are hip openers?” so i thought i would make my next guide focused on that. hip openers are poses that help to loosen the muscles that connect to the hip joints. remember that these muscles are often very tight and be careful not to overstretch yourself. loosening the hips happens very very gradually. incorporating some of these poses into your yoga practice can help to achieve both front and side splits!
ps. i tried to put these in a coherent order so that you can flow through them with one leg, then go back and repeat the flow using the opposite leg!
standing wide-legged forward fold - put your feet wider than shoulder width and bend forward while keeping the back as straight and flat as possible. you should feel the stretch in your hamstrings - hold for a few breaths, then rotate around to downward facing dog.
lizard pose - start in downward facing dog and raise one leg up behind you, then swing it through to place your foot next to your hand, on the outside. keep your front knee at a 90 degree angle and sink into a deep lunge, with your back knee on the floor and leg extended. you’ll feel this one in your back leg’s hip flexor (along your hip crease) and also deep in your front leg’s hip joint.
pigeon pose - from lizard pose, move your hand to the outside of your front foot, keep the knee bent, and pull your foot across so it’s near the opposite hand. bend the knee as generously as you want - the closer it is to being parallel with your body, the deeper the stretch. rest here, or go down to your elbows, or even lay forward as you advance in the pose. hold for 5 breaths.
seated wide-legged forward fold - extend both legs wide as far as is comfortable. rest here, and then bend forward with a straight back. i also like to stretch by reaching toward one foot and then the other.
head-to-knee forward bend - extend one leg and bend the other at the knee. gently bring your head to your knee while keeping your back straight and your core engaged. if you can’t get down far, just keep your back straight and hold for 3-5 breaths.
wind relieving pose - come on to your back, bend one knee and interlace your fingers on your shin bone, about two inches below the knee. pull gently toward your body, keeping your back flush with the ground and engaging your core. you can also rotate your knee gently here.
happy baby pose - bend legs and grab for the inside of your heels, and try to keep your back completely flush with the mat - this will give you the deepest stretch in this pose! you can also roll a bit to massage your lower back.
reclining goddess pose - release legs from happy baby and let them fall open to the floor. try to keep your lower back close to the ground and put arms wherever is comfortable. relax here and appreciate your fantastic body!
hopefully this helps to answer some questions about hip openers! these the poses i focused on when i was trying to achieve the splits, but having loose hips can help with all kinds of other yoga poses and can also release a lot of tension from your lower back. happy hip-opening! :)
mat: Manduka Pro Black Sage
clothes: sports bra - lululemon flow Y IV, shorts - nike, hoodie - lululemon scuba, socks - smartwool
Boat pose : Begin by laying down on your back, lift your shoulders off the flood, then hug your knees and lift your legs as well. Slowly come up, keeping everything engaged and a flat back, strong abs. Variation : hold your toes coming from a comfortable seat ( first picture), slowly lift your legs, keeping your flat back and your core engaged. You will fall haha. I did. You can also hold the sides of your feet ( third picture). Don’t forget to breathe and smile.
Leg lift - Begin by laying down, your arms extended at your side. Lift your shoulders off the floor, extend your arms towards the opposite wall and lift your legs (extended). Exhale. Variation : begin in the same position, lift your shoulders and one leg at the same time, exhale, come down, inhale, repeat, change the leg. Tiny little package - lay down on the floor, hug your knees to your chest and lift your shoulders, trying to touch your knees with your forehead. Exhale up, inhale down. Engage your core.
Plank pose - Downward facing dog, exhale. Inhale, transfer your weight forward to plank pose, then come back to down dog, lift one leg and bring your knee to your chest and try to kiss it. Come back to down dog, lift one leg and touch your arm pit. Repeat on each side
Camel pose variation : Start on your knees, with a flat back with your toes curled ( fourth line, first picture). Slowly lower backward, using your core to support you. Don’t bend your back, especially your lower back. Come back to first position and repeat. Locust pose - Lay on the floor, facing your mat and with your arms extended ( don’t sleep). Open your heart and push your belly on the floor to lift your chest and your legs. Side plank - From plank pose, transfer your weight on one arm, and lift the other pointing toward the ceiling. Try to lift your but toward the ceiling for extra obliques work.
These are more advanced poses, don’t attempt them if you are a beginner —— Firefly - Not yet mastered as you can see. From wide legs forward fold, try to walk your hands behind your legs. Shit I can’t explain : Watch this ! Headstand core work- begin in a handstand ( tuto here), and in an exhale, lower down your legs, and up ( exhale), and down… Crow pose - Tutorial here
Hope this helps give you a strong core to kick some ass!!
What three years of hardwork can do. Over 70 pounds lost, tons of muscle gained. I became a personal trainer in February of 2013 and help others reach their goals every day! #me #personal #progress #healthy #fit #fitblr #fitfam #fitness #weightloss #beforeandafter #beforeafter #muscles #muscle #fitspo #fitspiration
she is so great and awesome and beautiful and GREAT