Hip opening sequence for pain-free yoga practice

Do you ever experience pain in your back while doing back bending poses (eg. upward dog, wheel)? Or knee pain while doing a lotus pose?

It may not be your back or your knees that give you the sharp pain, but instead one of the common causes is due to the tightness in your hip and buttock muscles (gluteus, piriformis, tensor fascia latae). The reason is that when you are doing a back bending with tight glutes, the mobility of the pelvis and the lower back decrease leading to a “blocking” in the lower back. On the other hand, if you try to get into a lotus pose with tight glutes, you may tend to rotate from your knees instead of from your hips, which may cause a twist or sprain in your knees.

Having strong, flexible hip muscles is critical for a stable, pain-free yoga practice. As the largest muscle of the body, the condition of the glutes can have a big impact on body posture, prevent or alleviate back, hip, and pelvic pain. The primary function of the hip is bear weight, it supports out lower limbs, provides stability for the upper body and absorb shock from our daily movements. Check out the 3 simple exercise demos by our physiotherapist Yijing to help you open your hips and advance your yoga practice.

Myofascial release-Gultes by YiJing

1. Myofascial release using a lacrosse ball

– Place a lacrosse ball underneath your glutes
– Lift yourself up slightly and roll your glutes back and forth on the ball
– Hold for 5 sec when you feel a tender spot
– Continue to look for the other tender spots
– Do it for 1 minute

Knee to opposite shoulder by Yijing

2. Knee to opposite shoulder stretch

– Bring your left knee to the right shoulder
– Make sure that both hips stay on the floor
– Hold for 30sec, you should be able to feel a stretch over your left glute
– Repeat the same stretching on the opposite site

Figure 4 stretch by Yijing

3. Figure of 4 stretch

– Cross the right ankle over the left thigh
– Pull the left thigh closer towards your chest
– Keep your lower back on the floor
– Hold for 30sec, you should be able to feel a stretch over your right glute
– Repeat the same stretching on the opposite site

If you have any other questions regarding yoga injuries, how to practice yoga in a safe way or what yoga poses you should or should not do when you are in pain, please come to us. Let’s enjoy yoga pain-free and get deeper into yoga practice!

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