By Stephanie Ralph | August 23, 2022
I designed a yoga class this week for my Monday Morning Yoga Flow that focused on hip and shoulder mobility. As we moved through the hip poses of the class I was hearing the good yogi sounds when you know they have found a space in the body that needed attention, and comments like “oh my gosh, I really needed this”. Some of these comments and noises were even coming from myself! With this in mind, I wanted to provide a few poses/flows you can do to help with hip mobility.
Suggested Yoga Warm-Up: child’s pose, bird/dog, and table top hip circles. Feel free to rest between each pose or find a vinyasa flow; whatever you feel is right for you.
Yoga Flow: Cow-Face Legs + Forward Fold
Sitting on your mat with your legs in front of you. Bend the right leg and place the foot on the mat. Bend the left leg and slide it under the right, bringing the left heel towards the right hip. Then, bring the right heel towards the left hip, attempting to stack the knees. Reach the arms into the air, find length, and fold forward bringing the hands towards the mat, folding over your Cow-Face legs. Take 2-3 cycles of breath. Then, keeping the hands on the mat, reach the fingertips towards the left; 3 cycles of breath. Then reach the fingertips towards the right; 3 cycles of breath. Repeat this 2-3 times and then switch the cross of the cow-face legs and repeat.
Yoga Flow: Gate Pose + Kneeling Half Moon
Begin in a high kneeling position facing the long edge of your mat. Bring the left leg towards the left short edge of your mat, toes pointed towards that edge to open the hip. (Yoga prop tip! If you have a small wedge block, or even a book about 2 inches thick, place it at the edge to allow the ball of the foot/toes to ground) Reach the arms straight up, exhale and extend the left hand down the left leg while the right arm reaches over the top of the head towards the left of your room – bonus side stretch! Pause for 2-3 breath cycles. On the inhale, initiate from the hips to return upright to high kneeling. On the exhale, (again initiating with the hips) flow towards the right short edge of your mat, placing the right hand on the mat and raising the left arm straight up into Kneeling Half Moon. Flow this 2-3 times and then switch to the other side beginning with the right leg extended out. Keep in mind, movement is starting from the hips!
Yoga Flow: Standing Figure Four + Warrior I
Standing at the top of your mat. Place a slight bend in the right knee and bring the left ankle onto the right thigh. Hands can be at your heart center to help with balance. On the exhale, release your bum towards the ground into a squat position and hold the pose for 2-3 breath cycles. Then, remove the left leg off the right leg and in a controlled motion, step the left foot (a few feet back) behind you as we move into Warrior I – place a bend in the front knee and raise the arms into the air. Hold for 2-3 breath cycles and then come back to Mountain Pose at the top of the mat. Repeat on the other side. If balance is a concern for you in this one, stand with your back to a wall and use it to support you in the pose. When moving to Warrior I, instead of stepping back, try to step forward.
This can be a great counter pose when working with the hips! Begin seated on the mat with your legs straight out in front. Place the hands by the hips with the fingertips facing the front of your mat. Inhale, with legs straight, raise the hips upward and hold for 2-3 breath cycles and release.
If you are looking for this full practice, you can find it free on our VOD at the AYC: Practice Anywhere, Any Time until September 12, 2022. This is a recorded practice of a live class at the AYC so you will hear/see other students and voices.
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About Stephanie: Stephanie Ralph – 500HR RYT – is the Owner of the Alberta Yoga College in Calgary, AB and has trained more than 500hrs with yoga teachers and movement specialists throughout North America. She is experienced in teaching individual students and group classes, helping with movement barriers such as fear, injury, pain, etc. She is not a medical professional and offers the above content as general advice that is not specified to your personal health, wellness, and movement abilities. Before beginning any movement routine/practice you should consult your physician.
Photo credit: <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/photos/yoga-studio’>Yoga studio photo created by prostooleh – www.freepik.com</a>