8 Yoga Poses For Hips That'll Help You Get More In Touch With Your Emotions
There are many uncomfortable emotions that come up throughout life that you'd probably rather not deal with, that you'd prefer to shove into a drawer to be dealt with at another time. Well, imagine that imaginary drawer resides in your hip flexors, and that all your stagnant emotions are slowly building up within your hips. Honestly, I feel a bit of tightness and tension just thinking about it, and that's why including yoga poses for hips in my classes as a teacher (and in my personal practice) is so, so important.
The way I see it, hip-opening poses in yoga are like a mild form of therapy. For many people, these types of poses force buried emotions to bubble to the surface, allow you to experience all the feels, and ultimately, you gain a newfound ability to simply let that sh*t go.
In an interview with Shape, Rachel Allyn, Ph.D, a licensed psychologist in St. Louis, talked about why certain yoga poses can make you cry, and inevitably, the conversation turned to yoga poses that target your hips. She explained that, as you get deeper into your body tissue during those restorative hip-openers, you might start to tear up because of the sweet release that these asanas can provide your body with. She explained,
A well-sequenced class is made to push you deeper, and elicit that release. I have some clients who wonder about what's wrong with them. I think it's great! You're getting deep, you're getting emotions out
Though hip-openers might not feel totally luxurious at first, if you breathe through the uncomfortable sensations, you'll soon get to a place where these poses serve your body in every way. Try this hip-centered yoga flow to help you connect with your innermost emotions, breathe through the hard stuff, and release whatever it is that isn't contributing to your growth.
1. Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Shvanasana)
Start your practice in a strong and grounded downward facing dog. Pedal out your feet to open up your calves and hamstrings, and begin activating your deep belly breathing, which you will use throughout your flow.
On your inhale, raise your right leg toward the ceiling and open up your hip, while rolling around your ankle. Feel the new and rejuvenating sensations radiating throughout your body.
2. Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)
On your exhale, draw your right knee in toward your nose, pausing here for a moment, before bringing the right leg forward into a pigeon pose.
Begin your pigeon pose by keeping your upper body upright, and check to make sure your back leg is positioned directly behind you. Take a deep, expansive inhale here. On your exhale, slowly begin to fold forward, with a flat back.
3. Ankle-To-Knee Pose (Agnistambhasana)
While you're still in your pigeon pose, begin to bring your left leg to meet the right at the front of your mat. Start to position yourself into an ankle-to-knee pose, to get deeper into your hip-opening practice.
Feel free to play around with the positioning of your legs here. This is a very deep hip-opener, so listen to your body, and ease off if it feels too intense.
4. Seated Spinal Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
Begin to come out of your ankle-to-knee pose by slowly dropping your left foot onto the floor on the outside of your right knee, and position your body into a seated spinal twist.
Stay with your even, ujjayi breathing throughout this revolved asana. On your inhale, straighten out your back. On your exhale, see if you can twist a bit deeper.
5. Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana)
As you unravel your body from your spinal twist, bring your left foot to meet the right in baddha konasana.
Stay upright and close your eyes as you feel the gentle opening and release of your groin muscles. If you feel ready, and your body feels open enough, you can begin to fold forward in bound angle pose.
Open up your feet like the pages of a book, and be sure to take this stretch as slowly as your body calls for.
6. Warrior II / Star Pose Flow (Virabhadrasana II / Utthita Tadasana)
Press into your left foot and step your right foot back as you melt into a stable and rooted warrior II pose.
Allow your entire body to bask in the loosened sensations you're creating in your hip flexors. Begin to gently and fluidly flow from warrior II to star pose, going back and forth between the two, on your inhaled breaths and exhaled breaths.
7. Extended Side Angle (Utthita Parsvakonasana)
Shift your weight forward into a lengthening, extended side angle pose. If you feel open enough, you can take your front hand down to the mat, and place it on the inside of your front foot.
Here, you can use the weight of your elbow to nudge your left hip open, amplifying the hip-opening properties of your entire practice and tying everything together. Find stillness and breath as you pause in your graceful utthita parsvakonasana.
8. Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana)
Close the sequence by sinking into a low lunge, and allow the sensations of this elegant and powerful pose to envelop you.
Once you finish your hip-opening sequence on one side of your body, return to your downward facing dog, shake your body out a bit, and raise your left leg. Repeat this entire flow on the opposite side of your body, and make sure to check in with yourself and your emotional state with some blissful meditation afterward. Namaste!