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Benefits of Hip Openers in Yoga

Benefits of Hip Openers in Yoga

Hip-opener poses and asanas are some of the most popular and requested types. They bring release to areas of tightness that many people suffer from.

As there are over 20 muscles that work across the hips, such as adductors in the inner thighs, abductors in the outer thighs, hip flexors and lateral rotators, it’s important to give these a good stretch. Any movement that stretches these muscles is a hip opener, but there are certain poses that give these a deeper release.

If you have tight hips, it not only can affect your ability to get into certain yoga poses but can also affect your day to day life. You might find it hard to bend down to pick things off the floor, or experience pain when exercising. Tight hips can also cause over-use and over-loading of the spine, leading to back problems. If you suffer from back pain, hip-openers can help ease this, as well as improve your range of motion and improve your circulation.

Spiritually, the hips are also a storage point for negativity and pent-up emotions. Hip openers let us create space for new ideas and release these negative emotions, giving us freedom of both the body and mind.

With that in mind, we’re going to look into some of the major benefits of hip-openers, and why you should incorporate more into your yoga practice.  

1. Hip Openers release stress on the spine

As mentioned, tight hips can increase the load placed on your spine. This can affect everything your spine does - from bending over to more intense weight exercises. If you’re an avid gym-bunny, or not, tight hips can hinder your motion and cause pain.

Overuse and overloading the spine is the most common cause of lower back pain. If left unchecked, this pain can spread to the rest of the body. Hip openers help by increasing the flexibility in your hips, naturally distributing your weight.  

Hip opener poses to decrease stress on the spine include cow face pose, where you sit crossed legged, stacking your knees and folding forward. It’s ok to use a block if you can’t get your posture right. This is a great pose to sit in for a while to release the hips.

2. Hip openers can release emotions

You may already know that emotions can be released through yoga. Much like how we hold our stress and anxieties in the neck and shoulders, we hold negative emotions in our hip muscles. Opening up the hips can create a release of pent up emotions and feelings, that we may have been repressing and burying deep - stopping us from feeling freedom, creating space for new ideas.

3. Hip Openers build strength

As we age, the risk of breaking a hip increases. The hip is the largest ball and socket join in the entire body.

As we’ve said, there's a load of muscles working around the hips, that are essential to the movement of this joint. Any kind of movement of this area, including yoga poses can create a stronger frame for the joint - reducing the risk of injury.

4. Hip Openers help alignment

These types of yoga poses and asanas can help all of your joints in the lower body come into alignment. When your hips are tight, this can cause misalignment, affecting your back, knees, and even affecting your feet. Giving your hips more strength and more flexibility can re-align your lower body for greater mobility and added strength.

5. Hip openers expand creativity

The hips are energetically associated with the sacral chakra - which is the creative centre. Focusing on this area and releasing tension helps to unlock the sacral chakra and expand our creative mind.

By Amy Cavill

Want to reap the benefits of hip-openers? These four yoga classes focus on happy and healthy hips.

Take a class today to open your hips and increase your flexibility today!

1. Keith Allen - Hip Opening Heaven

2. Shy Sayar - Posture Therapy: Glutes

3. Bhavani Maki  - Yin / Relax: Hip Openers, A Key to Freedom

4. Rob Loud -The Heart & Hips: The Beauty of Assymetry

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