'Opening the hips' - GulfToday

'Opening the hips'

Elaine Superio

Elaine Superio

Fitness 180° Manager Sharjah Ladies Club

Fitness 180° Manager Sharjah Ladies Club

Yoga new 1

Photo used for illustrative purpose.

Do you experience pain in your hips? Is there limitation of movement on your joints? There are a lot of factors that contribute to this. But before we understand hip pain and exercises to “open” the hip, let us briefly discuss what it comprises of.

The hip joints
A ball and socket synovial joint are formed by an articulation between the pelvic acetabulum and the head of the femur. It forms a connection from the lower limb to the pelvic girdle, and thus is designed for stability and weight-bearing – rather than a large range of movement. Hip articular cartilage, ligaments and tendons, synovial fluid and muscles all contribute to the freedom of its movement.

Causes of hip pain
There are variety of reasons that contribute to feeling discomfort in this area. It can be arthritis, injury, pinched nerves, cancer and other problems. It’s not surprising that a sedentary lifestyle can lead to tight hip flexors and hip flexor pain. Excessive sitting causes the muscles to relax and deactivate. They become progressively weaker and shorter, sometimes causing a painful condition called adaptive shortening.
The first sign of hip issues is usually hip/ groin pain, stiffness, limping, swelling and tenderness of the hip. With all the contributing structure of the joint, there are variety of exercises that can be done to relieve the pain or at least move it to its full function.

Hip opener poses are most requested by yoga participants. This is where they feel the maximum stretch on the area. Remember, commitment is very important. The following postures must be done religiously to be able to feel the effect.

Malasana/Yogi Squat
Target: Inner Thighs
Level: Moderate
    
While standing, turn your toes out about 45 degrees, bringing your heels in towards one another. Bring your hands to prayer at your chest and squat down as you place your elbows inside your inner knees. Press your elbows into your knees to lengthen your spine. You may sway side to side or hold still. If this is intense, you can place a block or folded towel beneath your sacrum to prop you up. Hold for 30 seconds.

Happy Baby Pose
Target: Inner Thighs
Level: Gentle

Lie on your mat and pull your knees to your chest. Kick your feet up to the sky as if you are stamping on the ceiling. Hook your elbows inside your inner needs and reach your hands to the outside of both feet. Press your feet into hands while pulling down on your feet, creating resistance. Breathe deeply and consider swaying side to side for a lower back massage. Hold for at least 30 seconds.

Supine Figure Four
Target: Outer Thighs
Level: Gentle

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your left ankle right below right knee, creating a “four” shape with left leg. Stay here, or for more stretch, thread your left arm through the opening you created with your left leg and clasp your hands behind your right knee. Lift your right foot off the floor and pull your right knee towards your chest, flexing your left foot. Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat on opposite side.

Half Pigeon
Target: Outer Thighs
Level: Moderate

Start in a runner’s lunge with your right leg forward and your right knee over your right ankle and back leg straight. Walk your right foot over towards your left hand, then drop your right shin and thigh to the floor, making sure to keep your right knee in line with your right hip. Allow left leg to rest on the floor with the top of your left foot facing down. Take a moment to square your hips to the front of the room. Hold here, or hinge at your hips and lower your torso towards the floor, allowing your head to rest on your forearms. Hold for at least 30 seconds, then repeat on opposite side.

Low Lunge
Target: Hip Flexors
Level: Gentle

Start in a lunge with your right leg forward and your knee stacked over your ankle. Your left leg can extend straight back with your back toes untucked and your knee on the ground. Slowly lift your torso and rest your hands lightly on your right thigh. Lean your hips forward slightly, keeping your right knee behind your toes, and feel the stretch in the left hip flexor. Hold here, or for a deeper stretch, raise your arms overhead with your biceps by your ears. Hold for at least 30 seconds, then repeat on the opposite side.



Related articles

Other Articles