Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hip Opening Yoga Sequence

Photo courtesy of my Lovely friend and fellow Instructor Kathryn

Our hips tend to be one place that is universally tight in a yoga asana class. Mention hip openers and the room is immediately filled with grumbling and groaning. The muscles in and around the hip joint are habitually tight because of the massive load of stress we put on them. The hips are essentially the cross-roads between the upper half of our body and the lower half of our body. Therefore, virtually any gross movement of the body requires some work in the hips. It makes sense then that almost every yoga asana would involve some strengthening or stretching of the hips.

Being that the hips are comprised of thick solid muscles and a plethora of connective tissue, opening the hips is best suited to a yin practice, with poses held relaxed, gentle, and for a long period of time. However, regular hatha practice can be beneficial to the hips if focus on the area is consistent and gentle.

In yoga practice hips are known to hold a lot of unreleased emotions. So, in addition to being physically uncomfortable for most people, they can be emotionally uncomfortable as well. Hip openers are great poses for practicing presence, non-attachment, and non-judgement while on the mat.

The following sequence is designed as a gentle vinyasa flow to fit all levels of practice. As with any exercise routine, consult your doctor before engaging in physical activity.

Begin lying in Savasana and practice Deerga Swasm (3 part breath)

Supta Padangusthasana A-C

Ananda Balasana; rocking up to seated and coming to table-top

Cat/Cow Stretching and Hip Barrel Rolls

Adho Mukha Svanasana; coming to front of mat in Tadasana

Surya Namaskara A (x2)

Padangusthasana --> vinyasa to Adho Mukha Svanasana

Utthita Trikonasana (R) --> Utkata Konasana --> Utthita Trikonasana (L)

Prasarita Padottanasana series --> jump back to Tadasana

Garudasana (R&L) --> Uttanasana --> Uttkatasana--> Uttanasana

Vinyasa to Adho Mukha Svanasna then come forward to Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana (or variations) (R)--> Vinyasa --> Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana (L)--> Vinyasa

Ardha Badha Padmottanasana --> Vinyasa to seated

Upavistha Konasana

Baddha Konasana

Ardha Salabasana --> Ardha Bhekasana (repeat 2nd side)


Marichyasana A and C

Ardha Matsyendrasana --> recline to back

Ananda Balasana



  1. Hi-

    Long time follower of your blog, first time commenter. I really like the new look and focus you got going on. I am looking to get back into yoga after 3 or so years away. After I had my first son 3 years ago I just haven't found time to take a class, now with two little boys it's almost impossible. I would like to start practicing at home and wonder if you can reccomend any dvds for some instruction. Also would love to do your sequences but have no idea many of the poses are. I am one of few I guess who actually enjoy the hip openers. Thanks for everything you share, I going to make the granola bars for my son this weekend.

    In the forward,

  2. Hi Emily - Thanks for leaving your comment. Unfortunately I don't use DVDs so I don't have any suggestions for you. I've asked my Twitter friends for some suggestions, so hopefully we can compile a list for you soon.

    All of the poses in this sequence should be easy to find via their Sanskrit name on line, is a good place to start.

    Good luck getting back into your practice. Let me know if there is anything in particular that would be helpful for you to see here, and I'll see what I can do.

  3. this is the sequence.
    I always find it such a have provided a start middle and end
    many thanks

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