5 Minute Grounding Hip Opening Sequence – Yoga with Kassandra
As a yoga instructor, the number one complaint I get from students is that their hips are too tight. Usually I guide them towards seated or reclined poses that help improve hip flexibility, but stronger standing poses can also be very effective at increasing mobility in this joint. Learning to engage some muscles while relaxing others is a powerful way to practice and a great way to improve your practice.
There are no props required for this sequence so let’s get right into it!
Follow along with Kassandra as she guides you through the poses:
Don’t have time to watch the video? Below are photos and explanations of each pose:
Start in a Warrior 2 stance by bringing your left foot forward and your right foot back, aligning the front heel with your back arch. Bend deeply into your left knee until the knee is stacked over the ankle and the thigh is almost parallel to the ground.
The hip opening comes from actively engaging the glutes to help the left knee press open towards the little toe side of your foot.
Keep actively pressing into your back foot as you reach the arms out, palms facing down towards the floor. Stay in this pose for a few breaths and feel free to flow into exalted warrior to stretch the side waist.
From Warrior 2, bring your back foot in a few inches to narrow your stance and straighten your front leg to move into Triangle pose. As you send your hips back, lean your chest forward without dipping towards the ground. Align your right shoulder over the left and stay long through the spine. Press firmly into both feet and feel the legs engage as you breathe into the pose.
Keep pulling your right hip back to get a nice stretch into the side of the hip and waist.
The goal of this pose is not necessarily to get your hand all the way to the floor but to instead stay long through the torso as you stretch into the hips and hamstrings.
Come out of Triangle pose and step to the top of your mat. Stand on your left leg as you cross your right ankle over the top of your left thigh. Be sure to keep your right foot flexed to protect your knee.
As if you were sitting down in a chair, start moving your hips back while leaning your chest forward until you get a nice stretch into your right hip and glute. For most people this will be intense enough, but if you’d like to go deeper, you can drop your hands to the floor instead of keeping the chest lifted.
This Standing Pigeon pose is a great way to build balance and coordination while inviting the hips to open up more.
From your Standing Pigeon pose, straighten the left leg and pull your right knee in towards your belly, either by holding on to the back of the thigh or the front of the shin. Keep the spine straight as you use your arms to pull your right thigh a bit closer towards you, stretching deeply into the hip flexors. Notice if you’re gripping the floor with your toes – instead, evenly distribute the weight through all four corners of your left foot.
Play with the opposing forces of grounding into that left foot while lengthening the spine by reaching through the crown of the head. Hold for a few breaths and repeat the sequence from Warrior 2 on the second side.
To get into this variation of Temple pose, step your feet wide with heels in and toes out. Bring your palms to your thighs as you bend the knees generously to drop the hips. We want to engage the glutes to prevent the knees from buckling in, similar to what we did in Warrior 2.
Use your hands to help the knees open up wider and stretch deeper into the inner groin. To get a shoulder release at the same time, drop your right shoulder down, pressing into your right hand, and pull the left shoulder back.
Take a few breaths and switch sides by dropping the left shoulder down and pulling the right shoulder back. Hold for a few breaths, then move slowly out of the pose by straightening the legs.
Doing this sequence is a fantastic way to improve hip flexibility, but truly the only way to create lasting mobility is to work on it consistently. If you want to become more flexible, you need to do these hip openers on a regular basis while holding the poses for at least five deep breaths on each side. By combining this standing sequence with some passive yin style yoga poses, you’ll be on the right path towards great hip mobility.
I hope you enjoyed this short sequence! Please leave me a comment below and let me know if you have any feedback, questions or concerns.
Hang out with Kassandra on her YouTube channel, Yoga with Kassandra