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Yoga Hip Openers

6 October @ 14:30 - 16:00

Organised by : Martin Thompson

Opening up the hips in yoga is far more than pigeon, in fact this workshop doesn’t go anywhere near pigeon. First lets explore what is generally meant by hip openers in…

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Opening up the hips in yoga is far more than pigeon, in fact this workshop doesn’t go anywhere near pigeon. First lets explore what is generally meant by hip openers in yoga and then we will go far beyond the stereotypical hip opener class.

One of the prime functions of the Ashtanga Yoga Primary series is to open up the hips, all done without pigeon. The work of opening the hips starts in the standing postures, and with an understanding of the dynamics of the sequence of postures, we can make rapid progress.

Setting aside the Surya Namaskar sequence, and moving to Padangusthasana and Padahastasana (both standing forward bends) Correct alignment in both variations will start the process. Moving into Utthita Trikonasana from Samasthiti,  we step back with the right leg, and this is an outward rotation of the leg bone (Femur) in the hip socket. Then to counter the leg from continuing to turn out to the side, we have to internally rotate the leg bone in the hip socket. This brings the leg into a straight line, and with the knee safely engaged between the shin and the thigh. This action is repeated over and over in the Primary series standing and seated postures, and it is this action which will undo the hips. Consistency and alignment is the key to success.

In postures such as Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana (half lotus standing forward bend) it is vital to understand the dynamics of this stretch. The foundations of this stretch are laid in postures like Trikonasana, and I will explain why. The closing down of the Femur and the Tibia will ensure a safe half lotus, and again this pattern is repeated constantly. As I said before there is the constant action of external and internal rotation of the leg bone. This is the action that is required for proper and safe alignment in all turn out postures. When we lift our leg up in preparation for standing half lotus, the leg bone is taken up and back, and then the leg bone must be allowed to roll back in and down. This is the action repeated. In order for the knee to remain safely in place between the shin and the knee, we must squeeze them together, and this ensures the thigh bone and the shin turn as a single unit.

So the opening of the hips must include a wide range of muscle groups. We must include amongst others the quadriceps, the internal and external rotators,  the IT bands, the Adductors and abductors, the Piriformis, the QL’s and the Hamstrings.

This workshop will include a range of stretches and techniques, with modifications and adjustments for all levels.

Martin Thompson.

Yoga Dharma





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