As the weather warms up, many of us are getting back to bike riding and running. Our muscles can feel tight and achy as we transition from a [likely] less mobile lifestyle, kept indoors during the cold and windy months of winter.
A bit about hips: Cycling and running can shorten your hamstrings, and tighten quadriceps and hip flexors. Your hip flexors are made up of a group of muscles that allow you to flex your femur bones and draw your knees upward. When they are tight, this can pull your pelvis forward, resulting in an over-arch in your lower back. If you do not have full range of motion in your hips, you may also overcompensate by putting pressure on your knee and ankle joints (leading to inflammation to ligaments and tendons surrounding these joints).
Bringing anatomical focus to our hips during our yoga practice can provide relief for many physical discomforts our bodies experience, and be a great counterbalance to other work-outs.
The following sequence brings attention to the hips throughout a 75 minute flow.
- Child’s Pose
- Cat/Cow (x4)
- DownDog (short) with twist*
- Ragdoll, Mountain, DownDog
- Leg lift, open hip, low lunge, twist*
- Sun A (v) (x 2)
- Sun B:
- Knee to nose to tricep, 3LegDog, W1,extend side angle prep (v)*
- Uttkatasana with feet and knees at hips’ distance, lower to a hover (v)
- W1, W2, Reverse, Extend, Reverse, Extend (flow with breath), Parsvo, StandingSplit, HalfMoon, StandingSplit, Lunge, CrescentLunge with CrescentArms (interlace fingers for “Charlie’s Angel’s mudra” or hand to opposite wrist, then lean to side) (v)*
- Uttka (v)
- W1, W2, Reverse, Extend, Reverse, Extend, Parsvo, StandingSplit, Airplane, LowLunge, Lizard, 3LegDog, OpenHipFlipDog, SidePlank (v)*
- Child’s Pose, knees wide, thread one arm through legs and feet, cheek to mat*
- (v-optional, slow it down)
- Figure 4 legs, standing knee bent, with hands at heart (option to fold to release finger tips, or hands or come to full flying pigeon)*
- Eagle (fold in, elbows to knees) Airplane with Eagle arms, HalfMoon, StandingSplit, SeatedSpinalTwist, Boat, cross ankles and rock back to DownDog*
W1, W2, Triangle, StraddleFold (v)*
- Locust/Bow (x3) PressUp to DownDog
- DownDog to Puppy
- Camel (x1 or x3, depending on time)
- Sit off to one side, Forward Fold (keep knees bent as much as needed to keep low back as flat as possible)
- Pigeon on back*
- Supine Twist (hook ankle over knees)*
- Invert (legs up the wall recommended)
*repeat full line on both sides of body
(v) : vinyasa, full or modified based on practioner’s needs (High Plank, Low Plank, UpwardFacingDog/Cobra, to DownDog)