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5 Yoga Poses to Open Up the Hips

Tight hips are one of the most common conditions in the Western Culture. This is due in large part to the fact that we sit in chairs for long periods of time, and because we generally do not sit in hip opening positions like a squat very often, if ever.

5 Yoga Poses to Open Up the Hips
5 Yoga Poses to Open Up the Hips

Tight hips can lead to a whole host of issues like lower back pain, misalignments in the spine, and can even lead to injury. The hip joints are actually very unique joints, known as ball and socket joints. This allows for a much greater range of motion than say the elbow joint or the knee joint.

That is why you need to open the front, back and sides of your hips to really get a good stretch. Here are my five favorite hip opening postures. I recommend that you warm up a little, and then hold each stretch for 30 seconds to a minute.

1. Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana)

Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana)
Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana)

Low lunge is one of the best postures you can do to open the front of your hips. This posture effectively reverses the normal position of the hips when you are sitting in a chair, which is exactly what most of us need, especially if you work in an office environment.

Begin in a normal lunge position, and then slowly lower your back knee to the ground. From here, you can push your hips forward to the degree that feels good for you.

Breathe and hang out, then practice on the other side.

2. Half King Pigeon (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)

Half King Pigeon (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)
Half King Pigeon (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)

I can understand if you have a love/hate relationship with this posture. It can be very intense, and it can actually be dangerous for the knee if you do not have great alignment.

The best advice I can offer for this one is to start in Downward Facing Dog, and step one leg through to a lunge. Then, draw the front foot to the opposite long side of your mat, and place the outside of the foot on the mat, slowly lowering the rest of the leg down with your knee bent.

Then bring your heel in close to your opposite hip joint. Make sure to keep tension in the front foot, as this will protect your knee. Play around with moving your shin farther from your hips, but just be sure you are always keeping your foot tense.

3. Frog Pose (Bhekasana)

Frog Pose (Bhekasana)
Frog Pose (Bhekasana)

This is a great posture to help open up the inner groin/hip region. My favorite way to enter this posture is to start on hands and knees. Then slowly draw your knees away from one another, keeping your shins in line with your knees (rather than allowing your feet to draw in towards one another) as you lower your hips down towards the floor.

Keep your hips in line with your knees, rather than allowing them to move back towards your feet. Continue to move your knees farther away from one another.

Rest on your forearms, or all the way down on the mat if you can get there. Go slow with this one and allow your body to open in its own time.

4. Garland Pose (Malasana)

Garland Pose (Malasana)
Garland Pose (Malasana)

This is the king position for opening your hips and lower back. Start with your feet hip distance apart, or even slightly wider. Allow your feet to turn out 30 degrees or so if you are new to squatting.

Lower your body down, as though you were going to sit on a very small stool. You can extend your arms straight in front of you if you find it difficult to balance.

As you practice this posture, work to move your feet so that they are pointing straight out in front of you.

You can also play with bringing the feet in closer to one another as you progress. This pose has a million and a half benefits and will change your life if you practice it often!

5. Bound Angle Pose (Bhaddha Konasana)

Bound Angle Pose (Bhaddha Konasana)
Bound Angle Pose (Bhaddha Konasana)

This is a great posture to practice while you sit and watch TV or even while reading a book. Sit tall on your mat, then draw your knees up, placing your feet flat on the floor about 12 inches from your bottom.

Bring your feet together, as you allow your knees to drop to the side. Connect the soles of your feet. Inhale as you lengthen your spine once more. Then slowly move your heels in towards your groin, opening the inner hips.

You can also lean your chest forward towards your feet if you like, just be sure to maintain length in your spine.

Having supple, open hips will not only help you to avoid hip and back pain as you age, it can also help you to avoid hurting yourself in everyday life. Having a nice range of motion means that you will be so much less likely to really injure yourself if you fall, which is so important!

By Ali Washington
http://www.doyouyoga.com/5-yoga-poses-open-hips/

 

 

What is Kundalini Yoga?

Kundalini Yoga is a science that opens your heart and expands your awareness of consciousness. Yogi Bhajan brought Kundalini Yoga to the West in 1968. He said that “Kundalini Yoga is the science to unite the finite with Infinity, and that it’s the art to experience Infinity in the finite.”

Kundalini comes from the Sanskrit word Kundal, which means coil or spiral. Kundalini is an energy that exists within every human at the base of the spine, which is often in a dormant state. Many describe Kundalini as the coil of the hair of the Beloved. The Beloved is God, Spirit, the Universe- whatever you want to call it. The Kundalini is that piece of God, Spirit, and the Universal Intelligence within us. Kundalini is more commonly known in Western cultures as Holy Spirit. It is the primal life force that animates all life—the evolutionary force behind all living matter.

Now that we have a better understanding of what Kundalini is, let’s talk about yoga! Yoga means union, and comes from the Sanskrit word, Yog- which means to unite. Yoga is how we unite with all of who we are and with higher consciousness. Yoga is about self-acceptance and is a practice that includes; pranayama (breathing exercises), asana (physical postures or maneuvers), meditation and deep relaxation. Through the practice of Yoga, we begin to calm the fluctuations of the mind, to open the heart and to unite with the ultimate loving power with us.

Kundalini means “the curl of the hair of the beloved” and yoga is union. Kundalini Yoga is therefore uniting and awakening the God, Spirit, or Higher Consciousness within us.

Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan® is known as one of the most comprehensive of yoga traditions, joining meditation, mantra, physical exercises and breathing techniques; It is the Raj or the King Yoga.

In any class Kundalini Yoga classes, you can expect to find six major components:

1. Tuning-in with the Adi Mantra – Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo

2. Pranayama and / or warm-ups (ex. cat/cow, spinal flex)

3. Kriya (yoga set)

4. Deep relaxation or savasana

5. Meditation

6. Close with the blessing song, “May the Long Time Sun Shine Upon You” and a long Sat Nam (which means truth is my identity)

Kundalini Yoga works on the mental, physical, and nervous energies of the body and puts them under the domain of the will, which is the tool of the soul. This technology balances the glandular system, strengthens the nervous system, expands lung capacity, and purifies the blood.

Science tells us that everything is made of energy and it has been known for thousands of years that there are intense energy focal points in the body called Chakras. Kundalini Yoga moves energy up the chakras from the lower triangle 1st, 2nd and 3rd chakras to the highest chakras. When the 4th heart chakra is awakened, we begin to move from “me” to “we” and experience union and shift into the higher triangle, the 5th throat chakra where we communicate our wisdom, the 6th third eye chakra where we access our inner vision, and the 7th crown chakra where we experience the oneness and wisdom of the Creator. Kundalini Yoga is also called the Yoga of Awareness- it opens your heart and gives you a powerful experience of your soul.

Kundalini Yoga gifts you with an experience of your truth, or Sat Nam which begins to permeate into every aspect of your life. “It is not meditation that stops the mind. It is the surrender of the mind to the soul, and the soul to Truth. It is when you prefer the word of Truth to the word of your own intellect.” – Yogi Bhajan

Kundalini Yoga works fast to give you the experience of the fruits of yoga. It is a high science designed to awaken the full potential of human consciousness in each individual and expand that awareness to our unlimited Self. This practice simply changes you from the inside out and makes you want to be a better person and live a more heart centered life.

So, when is your next kundalini class?

by  hillary faye
http://www.yogitimes.com/article/what-is-kundalini-yoga