Hip And Hamstring Flexibility
Why Is Hip Mobility Important?
If you practice yoga, you are sure to increase the flexibility of the hips and hamstrings. However, that doesn’t mean you will gain greater mobility and functionality, or even be able to access the myriad of hip opening postures, because most of us don’t realize how many muscles surround the hips. Since hips are ball-and-socket joints, there are ample available movements, yet most of us only utilize two daily — flexion and extension — when we walk, sit, and stand.
Because we only make use of two movements, we tend to be overdeveloped in one or two muscle groups and underdeveloped in the others. The problem with this is limited range of motion and, more importantly, imbalanced hip alignment that could lead to hip pain or increased friction in the hip joint over time, potentially damaging soft tissue. Bottom line: it’s important to work toward evenly balanced strength and flexibility in all the muscles that surround the hips.
Before we dive in, let me be clear: there is no magic place of health and balance where everything is perfect and no pain ever exists. We can, however, find a place where our body feels consistently good and we have the awareness to recognize when one muscle group is too tight, strong, weak, flexible, or inflexible. In other words, we can build a relationship with our body, learn what it needs, and be able to catch an issue before it becomes a long-term problem.
THE BENEFITS GO BEYOND PAIN RELIEF. Developing awareness of your hips can allow you to move better on a daily basis AND access more postures within the context of yoga.
HIPS AND HAMSTRINGS IMMERSION
- Increase range of motion of your hips and hamstrings
- Learn techniques such as facilitated stretching
- Release stress patterns, discomfort, or pain in your hips, back, and knees
- Twelve 75-minute classes, all levels appropriate
- Learn postures: Pigeon, Lizard Variations, Lotus, Eagle, Hanuman, Fire Log, Seated Straddle Splits, and more!
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The 4 Quadrants of the Hips
To simplify the development of your hip and hamstring flexibility, we can break down muscle groups into 4 basic categories: front, back, inside, outside. There are muscles in each of these areas that create movements.
- Front: hip flexors and quadriceps
- Back: buttock muscles such as gluteus maximus and piriformis
- Inside: adductors such as longus, brevis, magnus
- Outside: abductors such as gluteus minimus, medius, and TFL
This is, of course, a simplified way of looking at the hips. Some muscles cross over from the outside to the inside, such as the sartorius, or from the back side to the inside, such as the adductor magnus. But the simplification is helpful if you aren’t an anatomy nerd and just want to feel better in your hips.
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WHAT ARE “THE 4 QUADRANTS OF THE HIPS”?
THE #1 BACKBEND TECHNIQUE TO RELIEVE BACK PAIN AND INCREASE SPINAL FLEXIBILITY
“Bowing the Spine” is a technique that combines a few key elements that I go over in detail in the video below. The dominant action is sliding your intervertebral discs forward, which requires a deliberate shifting of your rib cage. The secondary action is lengthening the distance between the upper and lower body.
If you want to try this technique in your practice and learn how to develop greater strength, range of motion, and body awareness with backbends, join me for this 12-class immersion: Heart Openers: Discover the Joy of Backbending
FREE VIDEO PODCAST: STRATEGY FOR HIP AND HAMSTRING FLEXIBILITY
To implement this technique and access your flexibility
REVERSE WARRIOR INCREASE BACK FLEXIBILITY WITH THIS PARTICULAR ALIGNMENTREVERSE WARRIORREVERSE WARRIOR: PREPARE FOR BACKBENDSFull expansion, widespread freedom, release, and openness -- this might describe what we feel as yogis when it comes to the shape of a backbend...
TECHNIQUE FOR DEEPER FORWARD FOLDS ACTIVATE TFL & RECTUS FEMORIS TO INCREASE HAMSTRING FLEXIBILITYFORWARD FOLDSDEEPER FORWARD FOLDS: PRASARITA PADOTTANASANAIt’s not unusual to feel “stuck” in our yoga practice at times. We may come to a place in our physical...
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