The hips are a tender area of the body for a lot of people. We tend to store emotional and physical tension in our root and hip area, which manifests as stiffness and lack of mobility in our hips. Freeing up space in our hips helps us to move more freely and comfortably as well as releasing stuck emotion and energy, freeing up mental space and promoting a sense of calm and clarity. There are many amazing postures we can use to loosen up the hips. Follow along with this yoga sequence designed to increase hip flexibility.
Wide knee child's pose (Balasana)
Place your knees on the earth, spreading them mat width apart. Sit back onto your heels and extend your arms out in front of you, palms planted on the mat. Place your forehead on the mat and breathe into the hips. Hold for up to 20 breaths.
Come up to a seat and place the souls of your feet together out in front of you, creating a diamond shape with your legs. On an inhale, straighten out the spine and on an exhale, keeping a long spine, fold forward over your legs. Hold and send the breath into your hips for 10 breaths, slowly coming up on an inhale when you are finished.
Lie down onto your back. Bring the right knee into the chest and cross your left ankle just above the right knee. Flex your left foot and grab the back of your right leg to encourage the right knee closer to the body, stretching out the left hip. Hold and breathe for 10-15 breaths before switching sides.
Wide legged forward fold (Prasarita Padottanasana)
Come up to stand, facing the long edge of your mat. Bring your legs out wide and face your toes out and heels in. Bring your hands to your hips and take a deep breath in. Exhale fold forward, placing your hands on the mat, maybe walking them back between your legs. Hold here, letting the head hang heavy for 10 breaths. Slowly come up with an engaged core when you are finished.
Yogi Squat (Malasana)
Come to stand at the top of your mat. Separate your feet hips width and point your toes out and heels in. Sink your seat low and come into a squatting position. Sit up on a block if you need the support, and press your elbows into your knees and knees back into your elbows, keeping a strong and erect spine. Hold for 10-15 breaths.
Come to lie down on your back. Bring your knees into the chest and direct them toward your armpits. Reach for the outer edges of your feet and keep all the vertebrae of your spine firmly rooted on the mat. Encourage your knees closer to your armpits by using the strength of your arms. Hold here, taking gentle movements if desired, for up to 20 breaths.
Extend the arms and legs out long on the mat. Take a deep breath in through the nose, and sigh it out the mouth. Let go of any breath control and attempt to control the mind. Allow yourself to fully relax. Stay here for up to seven minutes, slowly coming up to resume your day when you are finished.