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Ultimate Hip Mobility – Yoga Flexibility & Stretching

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#2 of 7 – The Secrets of Nutrition & Flexibility

As a yoga teacher, I can tell you that there are 3 poses that everyone wants to learn as soon as possible: full lotus, headstand, and crane pose (bakasana).

Of these three, full lotus is probably the most challenging — but it’s well worth the effort. The Hathapradipika says “there is no asana like padmasana (full lotus).” So there you go!

TOO MUCH DESK TIME?

Ask any non-yogi office worker to sit down on the floor and cross his legs, and 9 out of 10 times, his knees will be way off the floor and his back will be hunched up like Quasimodo.

Anatomically speaking, there’s a lot going on here, but on a basic level, the dude’s got tight hips.

YOGA NOT WORKING?

If your hips are really tight (i.e. you have nightmares about squat toilets), your average yoga class will only help you make small gains… say 10-20% per year.

In order to double or even triple your progress, keep going to class (this is essential), but take ten minutes each day and practice the postures listed below.

BUTTERFLY (a.k.a baddha konasana)

1 – Sit on the floor

2 – Bend your knees

3 – Bring the soles of your feet together

4 – Pull your feet as close to your crotch as possible

5 – Fold forward and place your finger tips on the floor

6 – Walk your fingertips forward until you can’t fold any further

7 – RELAX everything (legs, back, neck, head, arms)

8 – Breath normally for 3-5 minutes

Looks like this: http://tinyurl.com/2n9oe6

(but stretch your arms forward… and relax!)

THE LUNGE (a.k.a. ouch!)

1 – Take Downward Dog

2 – Step your right foot between your hands

3 – Drop your left knee to the floor

4 – Push your right foot forward until the right ankle is underneath OR in front of the right knee

5 – Bring both hands onto the floor inside of the leg

6 – If it’s comfortable, drop down onto your elbows (if not, don’t!)

7 – RELAX everything (legs, back, neck, head, arms)

8 – Breath normally for 3-5 minutes

9 – Repeat on the other side

Like this guy: http://tinyurl.com/2so4kw

(but put your hands or elbows down, take your shoes off… and relax!)

I used to be the guy who sat like Quasimodo, but now I can comfortably take full lotus for an hour or more at a time, and it was primarily these two poses that opened me up. If you do these postures as I’ve described, you’ll be blown away with the results!

A Couple of Tips:

– Don’t push or use force… relax completely!

– Practice these stretches 6 days per week (consistency is essential)

– Breath normally

A BIT OF ANATOMY

The two big muscles that are often blamed for tight hips (though they’re not the only culprits) are the iliacus and the psoas–sometimes called the hip flexors or iliopsoas. These tough tissues enable us to lift our legs when we’re lying on our back, or lift up our torso in a sit-up.

The iliacus originates on the inner bowl of the pelvis, the psoas (the weird one) on the lumbar spine. Both cross the floor of the pelvis, the outer edges of the pubic bones, and insert on the inner upper femur (thighbone).

NOT MAKING ANY SENSE?

Basically, you’ve got this big bundle of muscle/tissue that starts at your lower back, extends over your pelvis, and finally connects to your legs. If this tissue gets tight and shortened, you can’t do lotus (or a bunch of other poses either).

Thanks for reading!

Keep practicing,

Lucas

YOGABODY Naturals LLC

http://www.yogabodynaturals.com

Please send any questions or comments to: questions@yogabodynuturals.com

Source by Lucas Rockwood

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Mitchel Turner

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I’m a journalist from Oxford specializing in hip-hop and culture.