A new flexible you
There are theories on different types of exercise that help with flexibility and the restoration of some worn out parts.
The first part that seems to go are the hips, and many people who teach on yoga believe that you can restore or recondition some of what ails you.
Bernie Clark is his book on yoga entitled: The Complete Guide to Yin Yoga speaks on the best asanas ( poses ) that can help with bringing some of your parts back into alignment.
Some of the poses include dragon for stretching both the groin and hips, shoelace, pigeon, child’s pose and melting heart all open up the hips, allowing for more flexible hips.
When you meditate softly in the poses below, you can feel the stretch that helps you get your hips back into shape. I like to start out with shoe lace and then move into pigeon and finally wide-legged child’s pose, and then I slide up into melting heart.
Mending the Hips
When you start out your yoga practice it is a good idea to do the yin poses ( softer, longer holding poses) first, and then move into the yang flows later in your practice.
Learning how to do shoelace is a good first start. Here is a picture of the pose. Remember that this pose may take some time for you to be completely flexible in; you may have to start with half a lace.
Another pose that helps with your hips is Pigeon. When you hold in pigeon pose for about 3-5 minutes each side, you can feel your hips move into a good place.
Another deeper pose that helps with the hips is called Dragon. Dragon opens up the hips and the groin. If you have knee issues, you may want to place some padding under your knee that is in the back in both Pigeon and Dragon.
Here is a picture of Dragon
Dragon Front View
In yin poses, staying in the pose, resolving to stay still and feeling the meditative way, anchors you into the asanas; allowing for you to find ways to reach closer to the floor with each practice.
After you do both Pigeon and Dragon, or in between each one, you may want to do a counter- pose to help relax the muscles and joints that are working hard. Child’s pose is the asana that works for these strong yin poses. And wide legged child’s pose with the arms up sliding across the mat and just the forehead touching the floor along with your big toes touching softly in the back. Here is a picture.
Child’s Pose/ Melting heart.
After about 5 minutes of child’s pose, slowly come out of the pose into melting heart. All you have to do is raise your but in the air, keeping you forehead down and arms stretched out as in the picture. And when you raise your buttocks in the air, your heart center sinks down ( that is why it is called melting heart).
The straddle pose. A nice opener of the groin and hips, allowing for you to also be upside down. As long as you do not have difficulties with high blood pressure, being upside down is a great thing for your entire body, allowing blood flow throughout.
Straddle Pose with assistance of a yoga block: Flexible people can do this pose with their head reaching the floor. Notice how I have my elbows pushing against the fatty cushions of my knees for extra stability.
Many people have different levels of flexibility with straddle. Some can stretch their legs out very wide.( I am a bit limited with my straddle!)
Learning how to be more flexible especially in the hip and groin areas can help you later on in life when you may have some difficulties with you hip joints, and yin yoga can help.
The practice of yin yoga also helps with meditation. When you grow your practice; learning to hold in the pose for more than just a few minutes; your flexibility and balance grow with you.
Many people explore yoga to the extent of holding some yin poses for up to 15 minutes; the original intention of yoga was learning how to hold in poses for long times, preparing oneself for the deeper practice of meditation. The poses were considered a step toward learning how to just be within oneself; meditatively; with the spirit.
I have found the most useful poses for development in the flexibility of the hips is Pigeon and Child’s pose. Just moving from one to the other can really give you a good yin workout.
Ideas for yin poses: Clark, B ( 2011). The Complete Guide to Yin Yoga. White Cloud Press. Ashland, Oregon
Photography: Sarah Grace