A Yoga Pose is So Much More: The Hips

“Yoga is the perfect opportunity to be curious about who you are.”

- Jason Crandell

When we practice yoga we are naturally wonder if we are doing it right. Is my alignment correct?  Have I moved far enough into the pose?  While these questions are important, the full expression of any Yoga pose is so much more than its physical constituents. Every yoga pose is an introspective journey that can lead to a place deep within you where you feel that “Just for this moment in time, everything is right, absolutely nothing needs to change.”  ………… Read More

Anatomical Focus – Hips

Our hips are a major switching station in our body.  If you think about it, this is where everything connects together – upper body and lower body, legs and spine.  By practicing yoga poses that open our hips we greatly improve our physical, and even our emotional health.   Open hips can mean less back pain, can help us maintain proper knee alignment, and improve circulation in our legs.  There is also compelling research evidence that suggests that we hold stress and negative emotions such as fear, guilt, sadness and anger in this area of our body.  Physical release of tension can also lead to relief of emotional tension.  The hips play a role in most yoga poses we undertake. The sequence presented below is one that can help you create space in your hips.


Hip Opener Sequence

Easy Pose → Child’s Pose → Cow Cat → Down Dog → Warrior Two → Extended Triangle→ Half Moon → Warrior Three → Down Dog → Side Plank → Bow → Pidgeon → Staff Pose → Seated Forward Bend → Corpse Pose


Feature Pose – Extended Triangle Pose

  • Stand in Tadasana. With an exhalation, step or lightly jump your feet 3 1/2 to 4 feet apart. Raise your arms parallel to the floor and reach them actively out to the sides, shoulder blades wide, palms down.
  • Turn your left foot in slightly to the right and your right foot out to the right 90 degrees. Align the right heel with the left heel. Firm your thighs and turn your right thigh outward, so that the center of the right knee cap is in line with the center of the right ankle
  • Exhale and extend your torso to the right directly over the plane of the right leg, bending from the hip joint, not the waist. Anchor this movement by strengthening the left leg and pressing the outer heel firmly to the floor. Rotate the torso to the left, keeping the two sides equally long. Let the left hip come slightly forward and lengthen the tailbone toward the back heel
  • Rest your right hand on your shin, ankle, or the floor outside your right foot, whatever is possible without distorting the sides of the torso. Stretch your left arm toward the ceiling, in line with the tops of your shoulders. Keep your head in a neutral position or turn it to the left, eyes gazing softly at the left thumb
  • Stay in this pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Inhale to come up, strongly pressing the back heel into the floor and reaching the top arm toward the ceiling. Reverse the feet and repeat for the same length of time to the left



  • Stretches and strengthens the thighs, knees, and ankles
  • Stretches the hips, groins, hamstrings, and calves; shoulders, chest, and spine
  • Stimulates the abdominal organs
  • Helps relieve stress
  • Improves digestion/li>
  • Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause
  • Relieves backache, especially through second trimester of pregnancy
  • Therapeutic for flat feet, infertility, neck pain, osteoporosis, and sciatica


Contraindications and Cautions

  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Low blood pressure
  • Heart Condition: Practice against a wall. Keep the top arm on the hip
  • High blood pressure: Turn the head to gaze downward in the final pose
  • Neck problems: Don’t turn your head to look upward; continue looking straight ahead and keep both sides oneck evenly long

Information summarized from the Yoga Journal Website.  For a complete description of the pose and to watch the instructional video please visit: http://www.yogajournal.com/