Before stretching your hips, do a light cardio workout to loosen your muscles.
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Having an assisted hip opener stretch can adjust your alignment and help you deepen your stretch. If you're new to stretching or new to yoga, a teacher can show you how to properly align your hips to prevent injuries and effectively stretch the different areas of your hips. If you are experienced at stretching, a teacher can help you deepen your stretch by placing proper pressure on your body with his or her hands.
Easy as Child's Pose
Child's Pose is an appropriate hip opener to begin with. Kneel and bring your knees wide. Touch your big toes together, bend at the waist and stretch your arms long in front of you. The wider your knees, the more intense the stretch will be. Bring your forehead or chin to the floor and sink your hips onto your heels. For assistance, your teacher can place gentle pressure on your sacrum to press your hips closer to your heels. Alternatively, your teacher can place one hand on the outside of each of your thighs and press down, rolling your thighs away from your midline to open your hips.
Doing the Pigeon
Pigeon is a hip opener that you should practice after you've done some other hip openers and your muscles are loose. Start in Downward Facing Dog with your hands and feet on the floor and your hips high to form an inverted V. Place your right ankle by your left wrist crease. If your hips are tight, move your ankle closer to your groin. If your hips are more flexible, move your ankle away from your groin. Extend your other leg straight back. Fold yourself over your bent leg and rest on your forearms, or stretch your arms long and bring your head to the floor. For assistance, your teacher can manually adjust your hips to make them level. To deepen your stretch, your teacher should place one hand on the left side of your hip bone and the other hand on the outside of your right thigh and gently press down. Switch sides.
Happy Baby Pose
Happy Baby Pose is appropriate to practice at the end of your stretching session, when your hips are fairly open. Start by lying on your back. Bend your knees, bring your legs wide and hold the inner arches of your feet with your hands. Pull down on your feet to intensify the stretch. For assistance, your teacher can press down on your feet for you while keeping your feet stacked over your knees. Alternatively, your teacher can place one hand on each of your thighs and apply pressure while you pull down on your feet.
To prevent injuries, it is a good idea to warm up for five to 10 minutes with cardio activity to loosen your muscles before you stretch your hips. Additionally, you and your teacher should be careful to properly align your hips and apply the right amount of pressure. Your teacher should ask you whether you would like more or less pressure, but if your teacher doesn't ask, tell your teacher what you want. If you're new to stretching and have tight hips, you probably won't need much pressure if any.