Open Splits

Open Splits

Follow This Flexibility Formula

SAMAKONASANA

OPEN SPLITS

Open splits is one of those postures that may not always make it into your asana practice, but there are a number of good reasons for it to start showing up more often.  It does require a considerable amount of flexibility and Matt lays out the perfect flexibility formula in order to safely execute the posture.  What it does is offer much more than the result.  It takes you on a path toward greater balance in your body, more specifically in the hips.  The adductor muscles don’t often get as much of the limelight as some of the other muscles of the hips (i.e. glutes), so open splits (Samakonasana) is an opportunity to create more muscle integrity in the adductors, tensor fascia latae (TFL), hip flexors, and inner hamstrings).

 

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  • Strengthen & Lengthen Your Hips
  • Increase Active & Passive Range Of Motion
  • Learn Anatomical Techniques To Improve Functionality
  • Access a Wider Range of Seated Posture & Hip Openers
  • 12 Classes: All levels appropriate
  • Lifetime unlimited access to all
  • Attend the livestream OR practice the replays any time that’s convenient for you

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MUSCLE INTEGRITY

What is muscle integrity? It’s essentially the health of a muscle(s).  This can still be vague, what is a healthy muscle?  Part of having  healthy muscle tissue means that you have the ability to control the contraction and/or amount of contraction and relaxation within a particular muscle and/or group of muscles at any length.  This is important in open splits, because even though your legs are out wide, you should have the ability to contract back inwards.  One of the most important things to do to maintain safe execution is to never go to full end range.  Staying at approximately 70% of your range will help to minimize the chance of injury.

WATCH THE VIDEO: OPEN SPLITS: FLEXIBILITY FORMULA

MORE THAN MUSCLE ACTIVATION

There are specific articulations in your body that are key components of the flexibility formula for open splits.  These articulations will help in achieving the desired activation of muscle tissue and joint placement. For example, the anterior tilt of the pelvis assists in activation of the TFL (an internal rotator).  Once you bring your awareness to this sensation, you can then layer on the additional and contrasting action of spiraling the thigh bones outwards in order to ignite the outer hips (abductors) as well.

The most important thing is to always take it step by step.  Let’s examine each action Matt breaks down in the video from the beginning.

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FOLLOW THIS FLEXIBILITY FORMULA

There are a number of actions and co-activations that need to happen in order to maintain safety and build upon muscle integrity in open splits.  As mentioned before, once you get into a straddle position, it’s important to be mindful to stay away from going to your complete end range.  You should recognize a subtle sensation of stretch in the inner thighs and hamstrings.  Staying within this range and then isometrically activating your adductors, hamstrings, and TFL is the formula to follow.  The stars of the show however, are patience and being conservative.  Staying behind your end range and having the patience to allow your muscles to adapt, and continue to grow into new flexibility will promote increased healthy muscle tissue.

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OPEN SPLITS EXECUTION

In the execution of open splits, remember to layer each action

  1.  Dorsiflex your toes and point both knees and toes to the sky
  2. Send inner groins down to the ground
  3. Micro bend your knees (to alleviate pressure here) and press your heels down into the earth (this will light up the hamstrings)
  4. Push outward now while pushing toes out and pressing legs apart, so pelvis goes more into anterior tilt (legs stay as they are)
  5. Once you feel the stretch adductor muscles, start to press heels down and micro tucking tailbone (more posterior tilt of the pelvis), or suction thigh bones into hip sockets, so TFL starts to ignite and pull feet towards each other (it is more about stability here, rather then straining) 

Playing with different articulations are helpful in deciphering what areas continue to require attention (what feels tight and/or what feels hypermobile). For example, if you want to continue bowing forward, you may return back to pressing legs apart and groins back or hips more forward.  This will offer a deeper stretch in your adductors.  Going back and forth between push and pull actions help to increase hip mobility.

Matt’s current Hip Mobility immersion offers a deep dive into the breakdown of specific asana related to increased flexibility, strength, and mobility of the hips, but more importantly, it puts hip health at center stage.  Direct your experience and elevate your practice by registering today.

See you on the mat!

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Article by Trish Curling

Video Extracted From: Hips & Hamstrings

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Open Splits

Open Splits

Open Splits Follow This Flexibility FormulaSAMAKONASANAOPEN SPLITS Open splits is one of those postures that may not always make it into your asana practice, but there are a number of good reasons for it to start showing up more often.  It does require a considerable...

read more

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Fire Hydrant Pose: Hip Technique

Fire Hydrant Pose: Hip Technique

Stability & Mobility Unleashed

hip mobility

FIRE HYDRANT POSE: HIP TECHNIQUE

Part of the equation for improved function and mobility of the hips is building and creating strength, but first you have to understand how to actually do so.  It’s not just about knowing which postures to include in your physical yoga practice; it’s really about the execution.  Understanding how to implement specific anatomical techniques will help you to go beyond what you may believe your body is capable of.  This fire hydrant pose hip technique is the perfect example of how to more fully understand your body and exactly how to unleash stability and mobility in your hips.

 

Online Yoga for Hip Openers and Flexibility

HIP MOBILITY

October 2022 Immersion

  • Strengthen & Lengthen Your Hips
  • Increase Active & Passive Range Of Motion
  • Learn Anatomical Techniques To Improve Functionality
  • Access a Wider Range of Seated Posture & Hip Openers
  • 12 Classes: All levels appropriate
  • Lifetime unlimited access to all
  • Attend the livestream OR practice the replays any time that’s convenient for you

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HIP ABDUCTION

There are 4 main muscles that work together to create hip abduction, which is what creates the shape of fire hydrant pose.  These muscles are gluteus maximus, medius, minimus, and TFL (tensor fasciae latae).  It’s not as simple as just lifting your leg away from your midline. Lateral rotation of the hip also plays a significant role in unlocking the strength that creates increased stability and mobility in the hips.  In order to more deeply grasp this, we must understand a few things.

 In the posture itself, we maximize the benefits by executing specific articulations.  Knowing the anatomy is extremely helpful because you get a better mental picture of what is happening as you are engaging in these movements/articulations.  This strengthens the neuromuscular connection.

WATCH THE VIDEO: FIRE HYDRANT POSE: HIP TECHNIQUE

CONCENTRIC VS. ISOMETRIC CONTRACTION

The action of lifting one leg out to the side (abduction) in fire hydrant pose creates a concentric contraction in the glute muscles.  A concentric contraction causes muscles to shorten through movement. Alternatively, this is also happening in the standing leg in a different way.  In this case, it’s the lateral tilt of the pelvis.  The standing leg is fixed, but in order to get a greater range of motion in the lifted leg, the “hugging in” of the hip of the standing leg also creates a shortening of the glute muscles.  Once you are fixed in your variation of the posture, maintaining the contractions/activations without movement is what creates an isometric contraction.  This is setting the foundation for stability, but how can you take this to the next level?

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HIP STABILITY

The Gluteus maximus & TFL attach to the iliotibial band  and when they co-activate they help to abduct the hip joint.  This doesn’t discount the other muscles that contribute here as well (glute medius & minimus also play a major role).  Not only are these muscles known as the abductor group, they also stabilize the pelvis.  In order for stability to occur, there must be an equal or more balanced amount of co-activation from the muscles that surround the hip.  

You’ll see in today’s video the specific anatomical techniques and articulations that Matt takes you through in order to take this experience into the next level.

FIRE HYDRANT POSE PREPARATION

Here are the steps:

  1.  Bend your knees like chair pose and place your hands on right knee
  2. Hips go back and bum up
  3. Left foot out to the side, turn thigh bone in (internal rotation)
  4. Keep internal rotation and lift up through the heel (more concentric contraction is occurring to lift the left, once static, you are in isometric
  5. Meanwhile, abductors on the right hip are activating to allow the pelvis to open up (squeeze hip in).

It’s the internal rotation that helps to activate the TFL.  When your upper thigh bone is internally rotated, you can more easily lift through your heels.  This is how to execute the co-activation that’s so important in creating more integrity and health in your hip joint.  You’re now recruiting more muscle groups that surround the hip in order to create more stability.  Increased hip stability (along with flexibility) establishes increased hip mobility.

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HIP MOBILITY

This fire hydrant pose hip technique gives you an opportunity to flex your “hip mobility muscles”  Mobility is the ability to find better range in the joint with more control and strength and these techniques provide just that.  Better hip mobility means better function in your everyday life.  In the context of your yoga practice, it means greater confidence on your mat during transitions and within the execution of specific postures.  

In Matt’s upcoming Hip Mobility Immersion, you’ll come away with a better understanding of your hips and what you specifically need to focus on in your yoga practice to take you to new heights.

See you on the mat!

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Article by Trish Curling

Video Extracted From: Anatomy In Motion Immersion

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Open Splits

Open Splits

Open Splits Follow This Flexibility FormulaSAMAKONASANAOPEN SPLITS Open splits is one of those postures that may not always make it into your asana practice, but there are a number of good reasons for it to start showing up more often.  It does require a considerable...

read more

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  • The Technique Pack: 15 Yoga Pose Breakdowns
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Hip Rotations: Techniques For Increased Mobility

Hip Rotations

Techniques For Increased Mobility

range of motion

Hip rotations for increased mobility

Injury, pain, and tightness are unfortunately just a few of the things that are commonly associated with the hips.  Making efforts to improve hip mobility can help to manage these conditions.  What is mobility?  Mobility is your ability to control a limb through a specific range of motion.  This is why exploration is such an important aspect of a physical yoga practice.  After all, it’s how you get to know yourself.  You come to more deeply understand your current physical state each time you step on the mat.  More importantly though, you find the keys to unleash your potential.  Practicing hip rotations for increased hip mobility can take you on the path to increased stability, strength, and flexibility in the hips.  Hip rotations for increased mobility can be explored in more unique ways than you might think.

 

Online Yoga for Hip Openers and Flexibility

HIP MOBILITY

October 2022 Immersion

  • Strengthen & Lengthen Your Hips
  • Increase Active & Passive Range Of Motion
  • Learn Anatomical Techniques To Improve Functionality
  • Access a Wider Range of Seated Posture & Hip Openers
  • 12 Classes: All levels appropriate
  • Lifetime unlimited access to all
  • Attend the livestream OR practice the replays any time that’s convenient for you

$148.00

MORE INFORMATION

ANATOMY OF THE HIP

Let’s talk about the anatomy of the hip first.  The hip is a ball and socket joint which means that the femur bone (upper thigh bone) has a little ball on the end (also known as the lesser trochanter) and inserts into the side of the ilium (the pelvis).  The “ball” rotates around in that shallow opening of the pelvis,  where ligaments keep the head of the femur bone in the socket (hip joint).  Ligaments provide stability in the hip joint, while the muscles that surround the hip create movement.  Activating muscles, particularly through range of motion, serve to support those that are hyper mobile in the hips, just as much as those that feel restrictions and/or tightness.  Engaging muscles through range of motion helps to mobilize the thigh bone inside of your pelvis. 

WATCH THE VIDEO: HIP ROTATIONS: TECHNIQUES FOR INCREASED MOBILITY

ACTIVE VS. PASSIVE RANGE OF MOTION

Understanding the difference between the two is essential in being able to understand your body.  It’s possible to believe that you have the capacity for quite a large range of motion, but this may be due to either hyper-mobility, flexibility, or because it’s available to you passively (using the support of someone or something to move the joint to a particular degree).  Active range of motion means that you have the strength to move the joint to a particular degree without any assistance other than your own muscle strength.

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NEXT TRAINING  BEGINS FEBRUARY 18, 2023. ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN

HIP ROTATION TECHNIQUES

In the video, you’ll see the unique techniques Matt offers for you to explore hip rotations within each option.  The actions/techniques can be quite humbling.  This is where patience is a must.

Here are the steps:

Option 1

  • Take your feet wide, with toes forward
  • Bring your feet up to the sky
  • Externally rotate the right leg (like happy baby), while internally rotating the left leg in as much as possible
  • Breath as you alternate
  • You may leave hands or fingertips on the ground in front of you or behind, in order to maintain better control and balance

Option 2

  • Feet are still wide with feet on the ground
  • As you externally rotate one thigh, the other is again internally rotating (creating a 90 degree angle with both legs)
  • It may be helpful to turn your torso towards the leg that is externally rotated
  • Lift the foot of the back leg (the thigh that is internally rotated) and then lower.  Special note: Evert the ankle as you lift the lower leg away from the ground 
  • Switch to the opposite leg (the thigh that is externally rotated) and lift the foot. Special note: Invert the ankle while lifting the lower leg away from the ground.

Option 3

Matt also refers to this option as “Unhappy Boat Pose”

  • Both feet are wide with knees and toes turned out (external rotation)
  • Reach your arms forward for counter-balance
  • Add in hip flexion by alternating the lift of each leg (activating the adductor muscles and core)
  • Finally, lift both legs up at the same time (unhappy boat pose) while continuing to turn your legs out as much as possible as if to turn the toes down towards the ground
  • Finally, release and rest with a passive internal rotation (feet wide, hand back behind you, and knees folding in to rest towards one another)

Online yoga to improve mobility

MOBILITY

ONLINE YOGA IMMERSION

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  • Learn postures: Hanumanasana (Splits), Extended Side Plank
  • Active and passive mobility for shoulders, hips, and spine
  • Improve spinal twists, heart openers, shoulder openers, and hip openers
  • Find greater ease in seated postures
  • Improve mobility and posture off the mat
  • When and how to do active, passive, and isometric stretching

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HOW DOES THIS HELP?

With these techniques, you’re attempting to use the muscles of the hip to encourage active range of motion.  If you take hold of your foot at any time to assist (passive range of motion) you will likely see a difference in what is available to you.  By working on the active range of motion, you are essentially trying to decrease the gap between what is available to you passively vs. actively.  This will help to minimize injury, and improve performance due to the fact that you will have the strength and stability to control the way you move with less outside forces.

These techniques merely scratch the surface of how you can really tap into your potential.  Register for Matt’s next 12 class immersion called: Hip Mobility.

See you on the mat!

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

Video Extracted From: Mobility Immersion

CHOOSE YOUR PATH

NEXT TRAINING BEGINS FEBRUARY 26, 2023 ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN
NEXT TRAINING  BEGINS FEBRUARY 18, 2023. ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN

Continue Learning

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read more
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read more
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read more
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read more
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read more
Open Splits

Open Splits

Open Splits Follow This Flexibility FormulaSAMAKONASANAOPEN SPLITS Open splits is one of those postures that may not always make it into your asana practice, but there are a number of good reasons for it to start showing up more often.  It does require a considerable...

read more

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