Hello SOTGC community,
I wrote recently about how spending long days behind the wheel or a computer can wreak havoc on your posture, affecting the low back, neck, and shoulders. In addition, stress and anxiety can affect one of the biggest joints in your bodies, the hips.
In yoga, we refer to the hips as the body’s “junk drawers” – where you store your emotional baggage, ranging from recent annoyances to deep-seated traumas. To clean out the junk drawers, as it were, you need to undo tension and create softness and release.
The goals for yoga for legs and hips are similar to those for your neck and shoulders. You want to undo tension and find release and softness. To do this, you must let yourself rest, tune into your breathing, and let change come – throw out the junk!
To achieve the goals of undoing chronic muscular holding in the legs and hips and finding release, you can try the following sequence of folds and twists and passive restorative yoga poses.
The sequence below is great for anyone, whether you’ve ever done yoga before in your life or if you’ve practiced for years! Give yourself fifteen minutes for all of the poses below. Each includes breathing and instructions. You can mix and match your own sequence to make the sequence longer or shorter.
Remember, there is no rule in yoga except to do what feels good!
15-Minute Yoga Relief for Legs and Hips
1. Warm Up
• Ragdoll, 10 breaths – Fold forward at waist. Let head and neck release towards ground. Grasp opposite elbows. Bend knees and sway.
• Standing Child’s Pose, 10 breaths – Fold forward and bend knees. Let chest rest of thighs. Place palms on backs of calves.
• Child’s Pose, 10 breaths – Come to hands and knees. Big toes touch, knees wide. Sink hips to heels and forehead to mat. Extend arms and rest palms on mat.
2. Folds and Twists
• Seated Forward Fold, 10 breaths – Sit with legs extended and spine tall. Inhale and sweep arms up. Exhale and fold over legs. Reach for toes. Can use strap, belt, or tie around balls of feet.
• Head-to-Knee Pose, 10 breaths each side – Sit with legs extended and spine tall. Hug right knee into chest. Drop knee to side and place bottom of right foot on left thigh. Inhale and sweep arms up. Exhale and fold over left leg. Reach for toes. Can use strap, belt, or tie around ball of foot. Switch sides.
• Marichi Twist, 10 breaths each side – Sit with legs extended and spine tall. Hug right knee into chest. Cross right foot to outside of left thigh. Inhale and twist right. Hug right knee. Inhale and exhale into twist. Switch sides.
• Butterfly, 10 breaths – Sit with legs extended and spine tall. Bend knees in and connect bottoms of feet. Let knees fall naturally toward mat. Let palms rest on knee caps.
3. Restorative Yoga
• Supine Butterfly, 10 breaths – Lie flat on back. Bend knees in and connect bottoms of feet. Place one hand on belly and the other on chest.
• Legs up the Wall, 10 breaths – Lie flat on back at wall or on floor. Raise legs into air and rest feet on wall.
Above all, allow change to come and modify sequences and poses to suit your practice. And as always, inhale up, exhale down!
How do you like to unwind and relieve tension? Is yoga already a part of your daily ritual? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.