There are a number of benefits to stretching out your hips! Agile hips can improve circulation in your legs, ease back pain, and help your knees. Although, what you might not already know, is that your hips hold onto a lot of negative energy and emotions: such as sadness, guilt, and fear.
Anything that we don’t want to deal with in our lives we put away in our hips, so it’s important to stretch them out, as well as move prana (life force/energy) to this area. Our pranayama is our breath work.
The following is a list of excellent hip opening asanas with links to how to get into the postures. If you are practicing at home, make sure to warm up with a few sun salutations before moving into the asanas.
Stand with your feet shoulder distance apart. As you exhale fold forward keeping a mirco-bend to knees. Bring your right hand on the ground to the inside of your right foot. Inhale, and twist at your torso reaching your left hand up towards the sky. Take a few cycles of breath here.
On the exhale flip your left palm to face right and wrap your arm behind your back coming into a half bind. If you have the flexibility, take the full bind and wrap your right arm under your right thigh, so you can interlace your hands behind your back. Stay here for 2-4 cycles of breath.
As you inhale, press into the corners of your left foot and engage your core. Keep your hands interlaced behind your back as you begin to lift your right foot off the ground. Come to stand, stacking your shoulders over your hips, keep your chest lifted. Stay here for 2-4 breaths.
Next, begin to straighten your right leg pointing your toes.
~ this pose is a lot of fun! but it’s important to warm up! practice these HIP OPENERS before you do this pose ~
blog post | 6 things ARM BALANCES taught me | valerie lavigne
as many of you already know, I love arm balances! they are challenging, fun, but they require more than just strength and flexibility. over the past few years I have been exploring my arm balance practice more deeply, and although I have taken a few tumbles, and face-plants, I’ve also learned a few things along the way!
arm balances require drive. you have to want to do the pose. you need to cultivate an urge to take flight!
it’s import to have an appetite for trying new things! it takes us out of our comfort zones and allows us to grow and strengthen. not only physically, but mentally!
it takes time to build strength, flexibility, and to master proper alignment for arm balances. yes, for some these acro inspired poses come easily, but for many of us we need to work up to the poses without getting upset that it doesn’t happen right on the spot.
for some people, certain arm balances can take years to build safely. take your time, it will come ;)
arm balances require focus. there are a lot of things going on during an arm balance: your hands have to be in the right position, and your palms and fingers have to press in a certain way, while you engage your core and lean forward - but not too much, and then move your legs in what looks like a pretzel - but try not to get stuck, then use your upper body strength to press your self off the mat - oh ya and breathe the entire time! not to mention, the fact that you feel like your face is just going to smack on your mat (which does happen sometimes) - and if you’re like me - you have a monkey mind that just won’t stop!
so we must focus. focus on your breath. let the monkey mind clear. take your time in setting up your pose. feel and experience everything in that moment. listen to the excitement in your heartbeat, concentrate on staying in the present.
you need to trust yourself. one thing I really love about arm balances is that they require tons of core strength - and our core chakra (energy center) is all about confidence, power, and overcoming fears!
of course if you’ve never done an arm balance before they can be pretty scary! but with the help of an experienced yoga instructor, (and maybe some extra bolsters for crash landings!) arm balances don’t have to be daunting. have faith, confidence, and trust in yourself - you can do anything you put your mind to!
it’s true that, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.” as I mentioned before, arm balances aren’t perfected over night. you can’t expect to master arm balances after a one hour practice. you have to stay consistent with the practice in spite of how difficult it may seem.
with that being said, there are days when even the simplest standing balance seems impossible. be in the moment. if the arm balance is just not happening for you right then and there, come back to it later or an other day. it’s okay; honour your body.
the asanas (poses) are only a small part of yoga. the yamas are another part of yoga, they are the “attitude” or “ethical practice” that go along with the asanas. one of the yamas is aparigraha which translates to, “non-horading” or “non-attachment” this idea, or attitude is huge for me when I practice arm balances!
many arm balances are hip openers. this is significant because our sacral chakra (in the area of our hips and reproductive organs) is where we hold a lot of our emotions, our feelings, and any negativity. when we hang on to this negativity we tend to tighten up in our hips, making the flexibility part of arm balances very difficult. this negativity can come from many places or be a result of many circumstances.
for me, arm balances helped me let go. helped me open up to new ideas, new possibilities, new beginnings. when I let go of excuses, I made room for drive. when I let go of expectiations, I made room for patience. when let go of my monkey mind, I made room for focus. when I let go of fear, I made room for trust. when I let go of laziness, I made room for persistence.
arm balances are now apart of my daily yoga practice. I find them to be an energetic way to start my day, or a helpful break between teaching, and blogging and everything else that comes up in a day!
~ love & light,
feel free to share your yoga stories and journeys with me! my ask box is always open! happy arm balancing!