Hip Opening Without Knee Pain

Hip Opening Without Knee Pain

hip mobility

HIP OPENING WITHOUT KNEE PAIN

“Hip opening” in a yoga class just sounds glorious if we feel confined or constricted in this area of the body and our intention is to transform this experience. The term may not sound glorious, however, if we know that knee pain will accompany hip-opening yoga postures. In this scenario, it can be quite daunting to try to move across the spectrum from having tight to more open hips. On the other hand, if we’re hypermobile in this area, it may also feel a little nerve-wracking to delve into the action of hip opening. The good news, whether we are hypermobile, hypomobile, and/or dealing with knee pain in hip-opening postures, is that we can explore similar techniques when it comes to creating increased range of motion without knee pain.  

In today’s video, Matt provides us with a roadmap to mitigate knee pain in 6 essential hip-opening postures.

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THE IMPORTANCE OF EXTERNAL ROTATION

Nursing knee pain while engaging in our asana practice can be a point of frustration. We may associate it with fear of reinjury or with memories of “what we used to be able to do without pain.” This is why education and exploration are vital—they help reignite possibility. 

When learning about knee pain and its connection to hip-opening postures, we must further comprehend what’s involved with external rotation at the hip. When practicing with Matt and learning the Chromatic way, we quickly find out that such rotation involves much more than just rotating the upper thigh. There are detailed steps that promote both activation and stretch of the muscles that surround the hip, which helps us more safely engage with external rotation and ultimately assists in reducing knee pain. We can apply what we learn in the following postures.

WATCH THE VIDEO

HIP OPENING WITHOUT KNEE PAIN: 6 POSTURES FOR INCREASED RANGE OF MOTION

ACTIVATE WITH INTENTION

One of the best ways to prepare our bodies and increase both flexibility and mobility is to activate/strengthen our muscles. When we do this, we have better control to independently move our joints through a broader spectrum of range of motion. We benefit from having more confidence and power during physical activity. 

Warrior II variation

In the first posture (a variation of Warrior II), we’re strengthening the buttocks and outer hips. Here are some key steps:

  • Pull the feet towards one another
  • Tuck the tail under
  • Push down through the front heel
  • Rotate the toes and shin out slightly while pulling the outer front foot back—this will activate the biceps femoris (external rotator of the knee joint)

Dragonfly variation

This variation includes a specific technique and also targets the biceps femoris, which  closes the knee joint, helping reduce pain in hip-opening postures.

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DRILL AND STRETCH

Pigeon Pose

Here, we explore a more passive stretch. The trick to getting a little deeper into the stretch (particularly into the piriformis muscle) is to twist and to push the hips back. If knee pain is still present, Matt demonstrates how to further externally rotate the thigh to take the pressure off.

Goddess Pose

This time, we learn a drill to incorporate into our practice.

Once again, pulling the feet towards one another will activate the outer hamstring muscles. Instead of remaining static, we pulse or move side to side in order to engage the muscles while we’re stretching. 

Skandasana

The target here is the adductor muscles, simply to experience the stretch. It’s not about how low we can take the posture. Keep in mind that by the time we reach this point in the practice, our muscles are already prepared for the stretch.

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THE ULTIMATE HIP OPENER

If we’re experiencing knee pain in hip-opening postures, Lotus Pose might be the farthest thing from our minds. Once we have incorporated the techniques into the postures discussed, the potential for this posture may become a reality. However, we still approach Lotus safely and in phases.

Preparation I

In a Baddha Konasana position, the cue Matt offers—pulling the knees back and out—is key to getting the proper placement of the foot in Lotus.

Preparation II

Executing these actions, we find out just how much they assist in providing us the ability to stack the feet or to access Half Lotus. The two actions result in the closing of the knee joint. If we are still experiencing knee pain in Half Lotus, turning the calf muscles can help release the strain.

Matt’s next online course, The Pose Factory, is full of these extra gems to help us to foster health in our muscles and support our ability to enjoy postures we may have had to put aside.

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Article by Trish Curling

Video Extracted From: Hip Release Online Workshop

lotus pose online yoga classes

ONLINE ANATOMY COURSE

  • Accessible, exciting, and easy to learn
  • Anatomy and biomechanics for yoga
  • Appropriate for both teachers and students
  • Learn joint alignment vs pose alignment
  • Demystify yoga poses and transitions
  • Release aches and pains
  • Learn how to avoid common injuries
  • Caters to all levels with modifications and props
  • 20 hours Continued Education Credits with Yoga Alliance
  • 20 hours toward Chromatic Yoga Certification and 300 Hour
  • Lifetime access

Continue Learning

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Hip Opening Without Knee Pain

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read more
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Connect To Your Abductor Muscles

Connect to Your Abductor Muscles

5 Unique Variations for Increased Stretch and Strength

hip stability

CONNECT TO YOUR ABDUCTOR MUSCLES

Once you’ve been exposed to what’s possible in your asana practice, there’s no turning back. What I mean is that it’s possible to completely transform your practice once you realize just how many opportunities there are to implement strength. These opportunities exist in places you may not have considered before. As for stretching, it may seem easier to find opportunities to stretch, but implementing effective stretch methods is another thing entirely. Practicing with Matt opens the doors to both effective stretching and strengthening. In today’s video, it’s all about your abductor muscles. What you’ll see are 5 posture variations you can start implementing today.

One of the major roles of your abductor muscles is to provide hip stability, so it’s imperative that you implement effective stretch and strengthening techniques to promote the health of your abductor muscles and surrounding tissues. 

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ABDUCTOR MUSCLE ANATOMY AND PELVIC STABILITY

The action of the abductor muscles is to move your legs away from the midline of the body. These muscles also assist in stabilizing the pelvis. A telltale sign that your abductor muscles are extremely flexible or potentially weak is the presence of a significant hip sway when walking. Alternatively, when your abductor muscles are tight, it may be more challenging to adduct the upper thigh bones because of the pull from the tension in the abductor muscles. In order to create pelvic stability, you need suppleness in the abductor muscles. Engaging in opportunities to both stretch and strengthen will help you nurture more supple muscles.

There are 4 main abductor muscles: gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, tensor fasciae latae (TFL), and gluteus maximus. Even though TFL is a hip flexor and gluteus maximus extends the hips, they also abduct the legs when they work together.  

WATCH THE VIDEO

CONNECT TO YOUR ABDUCTOR MUSCLES: 5 UNIQUE VARIATIONS FOR INCREASED STRETCH AND STRENGTH

WARRIOR II AND SIDE PLANK TO PROMOTE STRENGTH

Warrior II 

This posture can serve you in ways you may not expect. The technique to create strength in the abductor muscles here is to utilize a self-adjustment. Placing your hand on the outside of your front knee and pressing your hand into your knee and your knee into your hand will work to awaken and strengthen all four abductor muscles.

Side Plank with a Strap

Grab a strap for this one! The strap helps provide the feedback and the self-adjustment required to connect to your abductor muscles. You’ll see in the video that the trick here is to turn your pelvis slightly towards the ground as you push your legs apart (abduct) in order to create the required tension in the strap. Think about pulling the back of your legs apart as opposed to opening your pelvis.  

200 Hour Online Teacher Training Certification

200 HOUR ONLINE TEACHER TRAINING

GET CERTIFIED & DEEPEN YOUR YOGA PRACTICE

  • Deepen your yoga practice
  • Build confidence speaking in front of groups in person and online
  • Learn foundational class structures and templates
  • Learn techniques for a wide range of yoga postures
  • Get certified and highly qualified to teach yoga
  • Yoga Alliance Globally Recognized Certification Program
  • SPRING ENROLLMENT OPEN! Training begins June 1

CHAIR POSE TICK TOCKS

Now, this is a really creative variation! Once again, the strap is your best friend. Sensationally, it will provide more information from your body, which will help you discern which actions you need to implement so as to connect with and activate your abductor muscles. Matt emphasizes that the action of pressing your heels apart provides a slight internal rotation of the femur bones, which helps to ignite the TFL. As you “tick tock” from side to side, you maintain the abduction of the legs in conjunction with that internal rotation so that you can indeed feel the intended contraction and effort from your abductor muscles.

Practicing in this way builds neural pathways in the brain, promoting a healthy mind-body connection. The more you repeat actions like this, you’re teaching and telling your body how to respond more effectively in order to develop greater strength.

300 hour teacher training online

300 HOUR ONLINE TEACHER TRAINING

GET 500 HOUR CERTIFIED AS A MASTER TEACHER

Master your skill set as a teacher through refined techniques, anatomy, biomechanics, sequencing, philosophy, meditation techniques, theming, yoga business, and much more!

  • Get 500 hour certified
  • Learn anatomy, biomechanics, asana techniques
  • Expand your teaching skills
  • Masterful sequencing and verbal delivery
  • Learn meditation and breathwork techniques
  • Transformative tools: theming, dharma talks, satsang
  • SPRING ENROLLMENT OPEN! Training begins June 1

EFFECTIVELY STRETCH IN PIGEON AND EAGLE POSE

Pigeon Pose

To connect to your abductor muscles in Pigeon Pose, it’s about where you place your effort. If the right leg is forward, you’ll push your front thigh bone down and to the right, which will promote strength. This will also send your body to the left, which will also spark a stretch.

Eagle Pose on Your Back

In a standing Eagle Pose, the standing leg needs to be strong and the crossover leg flexible in the abductor muscles. In the video, Matt provides the variation on your back as a way to more easily negotiate the flexibility aspect of the posture.

A golden tip is to hike the hip of the top leg in order to gain more access to the bind, providing more stretch. In the video, you’ll see how Matt adds a lift of the legs to go even deeper with the stretch.

DO MORE THAN THE POSTURE

Throughout his classes, Matt continuously reminds us that it’s not about “just doing the posture” but about your particular intent and the purpose it provides for you as an individual in a given moment.  

Ultimately, maintaining the health of your muscles—cultivating both strength and flexibility—will lead you to a stronger, more well-developed asana practice along with those same benefits in your daily life.

You can start practicing in Matt’s Blissful Hips Immersion and learn how to safely and effectively unlock these benefits.

The 200 Hr. Teacher Training: Click Here to See the Next Start Date

The 300 Hr. Advanced Teacher Training: Click Here to See the Next Start Date

Article by Trish Curling

Videos Extracted From: Blissful Hips Immersion

lotus pose online yoga classes

ONLINE ANATOMY COURSE

  • Accessible, exciting, and easy to learn
  • Anatomy and biomechanics for yoga
  • Appropriate for both teachers and students
  • Learn joint alignment vs pose alignment
  • Demystify yoga poses and transitions
  • Release aches and pains
  • Learn how to avoid common injuries
  • Caters to all levels with modifications and props
  • 20 hours Continued Education Credits with Yoga Alliance
  • 20 hours toward Chromatic Yoga Certification and 300 Hour
  • Lifetime access

Continue Learning

Steps To Scorpion Pose

Steps To Scorpion Pose

Steps To Scorpion PosevrschikasanaSCORPION POSE Exhilarating, stimulating, and enlivening are a few words we can use to describe Scorpion pose.  We might also use words like grounding, or even relaxing (which may initially be thought of as a strange descriptor), but...

read more
Heart Opening Education

Heart Opening Education

Heart-Opening EducationbackbendHEART-OPENING EDUCATION There is a great deal to learn with regard to heart-opening postures. Of course, negotiating the execution and being aware of the anatomy involved in various heart-opening poses are some of the initial...

read more
Pranayama

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PranayamabreathworkPRANAYAMA Pranayama helps us to more deeply connect to the energy that runs through us. This can be done via a variety of breathwork practices. It’s important to understand that the breath is the physical layer through which we can access prana...

read more
Hip Opening Without Knee Pain

Hip Opening Without Knee Pain

Hip Opening Without Knee Painhip mobilityHIP OPENING WITHOUT KNEE PAIN "Hip opening” in a yoga class just sounds glorious if we feel confined or constricted in this area of the body and our intention is to transform this experience. The term may not sound glorious,...

read more
Strengthen Your Ankles

Strengthen Your Ankles

Strengthen Your Anklesfoot healthSTRENGTHEN YOUR ANKLES Our feet are the foundation of our bodies. Placing great emphasis on creating ankle stability and mobility during our asana practice should be obvious; unfortunately, this is not always the case. Maintaining a...

read more
Yoga Props & Your Practice

Yoga Props & Your Practice

Yoga Props and Your PracticealignmentYOGA PROPS AND YOUR PRACTICE When it comes to incorporating yoga props into our yoga practice, we can take 1 of 2 paths. We either subscribe to the notion that if we use props, we are somehow “less capable” than others in the...

read more

THE FREE TECHNIQUE PACK

When You Subscribe, You Will Get Instant Access to

  • the Technique Pack: 15 yoga pose breakdowns
  • exclusive online course discounts
  • exclusive blogs and videos
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

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