Andrew is one of my morning regulars. At first I was not sure he would become a dedicated practitioner. He seemed hesitant and was new to yoga. He has become someone I know without a doubt will be on his mat each week when I walk through the studio doors. He is committed to his health and wellbeing. Andrew has hip pain and limited hip range of motion. He is an active middle aged man and wants to continue doing what he loves into his later years. Here is one of his favorite hip sequences.
This sequence starts by using a strap to draw one foot at a time toward the sky. The targets of this posture are the muscles grouped together on the back of the leg. You can draw the foot over the hip and keep as much bend in the knee as you need to have it there, or you can keep the leg straight and only lift as high off the ground as allows you to keep it straight. I encourage you to feel into which is most sustainable for you. It is important to keep the shoulders comfortably rooted on the earth and arms straight. Take as much strap as you need to maintain both of these alignment points. Allow the body to acclimate to the posture for approximately 5 deep breaths.
After those five breaths begin moving with breath. Inhale and point the toes toward the sky, exhale and flex the foot firmly with a touch of added weight from the strap. Move in this way for three rounds of breath.
Take both sides of the strap in the same side hand as the lifted leg and gently open to the same side (i.e. right leg, both sides strap in right hand, open to right side). Firmly flex the foot and support the leg with effort on the strap. Take three deep breaths here.
Inhale and draw the leg back to midline, exhale to gently cross the leg over to the opposite side of the body, taking hold of both sides of the strap in the opposite hand. It is important to keep a firm flex in the foot and both hips on the earth. The target here is the line of fascia and soft tissue that runs lateral from the hip to the ankle, once the hip lifts the target becomes the low back. Low back twist is great but it is not this pose. Take three deep breaths here.
Inhale and draw the leg back to midline, release the strap, hug the knee in to the chest for a moment, extend the leg away and repeat on the opposite side.
You can repeat this sequence several times if you like, be mindful of what feels beneficial for your body in the moment you are practicing, be sure not to over do. Let me know how you feel! #bepainfree.