Yoga for Strengthening & Stretching the Hips

A) Runner’s Lunge

Bend your front knee to 90 degrees, making sure that your toes are visible and that the knee is stacked directly over the heel. Place your hands on either side of the foot. Lengthen and engage the extended leg. Release tension in the neck by keeping it straight as an extension of the spine.

B) Downward Dog

Ensure that the feet are hip-width apart and the belly button is pulling in and up toward the spine. Your palms should be flat with the index fingers pressing into the floor. Press the heels toward the ground until you feel a stretch in the backs of your calves and hamstrings.

C) Downward Dog Split

While in downward dog, lift one leg into the air and breathe for five breaths. Return to downward dog, then repeat with the opposite leg.

D) Crescent Lunge

Begin in runner’s lunge pose. Bring the back knee to the floor and let the foot lay flat. Sweep the arms overhead. Draw in the lower belly to protect the spine. Begin to sink down into the hip while simultaneously engaging the abdomen.

E) Pigeon Pose

Start on all fours. Bring your right leg forward and angle your right shin under your torso, bringing your right foot to the front of your left knee, behind your left hand. The more your lower leg is parallel with the front of your yoga mat, the more intense the sensation will be in the hips. Slide your left leg back, straighten the knee and point the toes. Make sure the leg is behind your body, not drawing outward, and your heel is pointing up to the ceiling. Draw your legs in toward each other to help keep your hips square. Inhale and lift your upper body, coming onto your fingertips, hands shoulder width apart. Draw your navel in, your tailbone down, and lift your chest.

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