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Season 2 - Episode 8

Happy Hips

45 min - Practice


Self-trust is an advanced practice. Robert guides us in an accessible yin-like sequence designed to stretch and open our hips through long, deep holds. We begin with a full-body scan and relaxation to release any tension. We then move into a slow and meditative practice that will quiet the mind and make space for what arises.
What You'll Need: Mat, Blanket

About This Video


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(waves crash) Hey there. How's it going? My name's Robert. Welcome to Yoga and Me time and if you've practiced with me before, welcome back. If you're new to me, nice to meet you.

I hope what I'm sharing with you is beneficial so we'll see how that goes. So one thing I want to say up front right is we're going to be working a lot through the hips. It's, it's like a yin yoga approach right, so we're going to be holding postures semi passively for a minute, maybe two minutes on each side. If there are sides so what we want to do is and I'll guide you through this is work not to this maximum extreme crazy stretch. Somewhere you can hover there, you can still breath, okay and again, I'll guide you through this but the idea is to stretch the hips, open the hips but not too much right.

One more little thing right there is this idea right that I've heard and I've actually experienced myself that the hip region of your body holds on to a fair amount of luggage, baggage, some stories, pain, emotional pain, I don't know. For you maybe nothing but for some, we're all different but there is a rumor around there that if you start to open this region up, you may feel something, I don't know so if in the middle of the night after you've practiced this, you wake up bawling and crying, or really happy, maybe it's because you've opened your hips. Maybe you let go of some stuff. Again I don't know, I'm just, just sharing something I think is accurate but so let's do this right. So the first portion of the sequence will be on your back.

So go ahead and find a comfortable position on your back and we'll begin. Okay so if there's anything you need to do in advance go for it. For now, one or two ways right. Bend the knees, plant the feet, maybe let your knees draw toward one another if that feels all right. You can even start with the bottoms of your feet together, opening your knees or lying completely flat, legs long.

(breathes deeply) Just begin to connect to the breath. Inhalation, the exhalation. Let's do what we can to start with a very clean slate meaning let's start with as little tension and stress, like physical tension and stress in the body as we can, okay so I'd like you to close your eyes, begin to scan your face, the facial muscles for any holding any tension. For me, I feel it if I'm not conscious I start to bring a lot of holding around my forehead right between my eyebrows. You can call that your third eye if you'd like.

My eyes, so I kind of by default will grip there so maybe you do that. Can you loosen that region up a little bit? Soften the muscles around the face, the jaw. Take a relaxed inhalation, relaxed exhalation. See how your shoulders feel, your chest, your belly, your arms, relax your chest, your belly, shoulders and arms.

Let the neck roam from side to side. Relax your neck. As you approach this practice, first of all you can do this anytime in the day or if it's your morning routine, your morning wake up, right you can approach it that way, like I'm just beginning to kind of like find my breath, my body start with minimal tension and open up my hip region right or if it's at night, this can be a really nice calming practice to send you off into sweet dream land. Okay. Take as much time as you need to find your breath and release tension.

So let's do this. I'm gonna offer this up a few times during the practice. I want you to fully breath in, like really fully inhale, hold the breath for a moment, create that tension or pressure, and when you're ready, open your mouth and let all of that air out. (breathes deeply) Draw the right knee in towards your body, hold on to your hamstring or maybe your knee, interlacing your fingers, lengthening the back of your neck and pull it right down the center line but then from here your starting point I want you to really roam around. I want you to feel for almost like lubricating the hip joint the hip socket.

If your back feels uncomfortable, try bending that left leg and placing the left foot down and now with this movement, find some fluid breathing. (breathes deeply) Let your right hand be the only hand on that knee. Reach your left arm out and open the hip. (breathes deeply) So I say open the hip, basically what I'm saying is is take the knee from center line over as far out wide as you can. (breathes deeply) Take that knee as far out wide as you can, hold it there and then slide like reach your right foot up over the knee, slide your right hand up toward your calf, your ankle, or maybe even the outer edge of your foot for the half happy baby posture.

So this is now gonna be a deeper version of the knee to chest and knee out wide 'cause you've got a hold here right so the hold is actually creating this pressure as you kind of pull the right knee or the right thigh in the direction of the floor. Lengthen the neck, take a breath in. (breathes deeply) And breath out. Go directly to the space which for me is way up in my upper upper inner thigh, my hip crease there. That's where I feel it most and now what I'm gonna do is bring all of my awareness and focal point and breath to that space.

(breathes deeply) See if I can use that long relaxation or relaxing exhalation to create some space there. I'm holding up here but if you find that you're really rounded here and you can't put your head or your back down, please hold farther down. It really does make it a little bit more accommodating. Okay now bring that right heel in towards your belly and keep the knee out wide and then bring the foot right, the heel of the foot across toward the left side of your body and get a little pigeon stretch here. (breathes deeply) Bend the left leg, place that ankle on top of the left thigh, bring the foot down, left foot down, again lengthen the back of the neck, gently guide that right knee away from you.

(breathes deeply) Can you during this experience, the theme these days for me with meditation and during this ossina, during the postures, is finding pleasure in the experience, in the process, in the practice. Doing it for the sake of doing it 'cause it feels good to let go of everything else and just drop in to the simple pleasure of stretching, moving, and breathing. Lift your left foot up, deepen the posture by holding on to either your hamstring, the left hamstring or the shin. Use a little arm strength to create the pressure or the tension so this recline pigeon pose, keep your knee open. You can even use your right elbow to press into under your thigh right, keeping the knee open.

Point your right toes up and exhale deepen. (breathes deeply) This is meant to be done slowly, taking your time to genuinely connect right so the yoga piece yoga is union correct. Something like that. To yoke, to bring together, so can you kind of get into this idea of intimacy. This concept of intimacy between your breath and your body.

Merge the two and then you add right this stretch, these deep sensations and connect to that. Release. (breathes deeply) Release the right foot down, hug the left leg in. (breathes deeply) Extend your right leg out or keep it bent, whatever feels better on your back. So left knee in and then roam around.

Roam through the wreckage of the hips. Circles, rolling your ankle. (breathes deeply) Like a deep, deep, deep relationship where you're really genuinely caring for whatever region of the body you're stretching. Release the right hand, let the left hand guide that knee, that hip open out to the left. If you want to hold on to the outer, like I've got it here or the inner.

(breathes deeply) Some postures or positions will be like whoa. There's like a big wow factor right. (breathes deeply) Begin that but also maybe you can find just as much interest or pleasure in the postures or positions that don't have as much wow factor. Hey that knee is way out right? (breathes deeply) Take that half happy baby version, so the foot comes up, hold on to either the calf, ankle, outer edge of that foot, you can bend the right leg.

(breathes deeply) Again, huge deep stretch for me. Inner crease of that hip there. Way up in my inner left thigh. (breathes deeply) My positive internal dialogue is rolling. I'm letting go of some of the negativity that might be there unless I make a conscious choice to shift it, to switch that default negative internal dialogue that I think a lot of us might have.

(breathes deeply) And all it takes is a conscious effort to switch it. (breathes deeply) Okay now that you've opened that up, bend that right leg, bring the foot across the body, hold that right hand on to the foot and create a little pigeon action. I'm bending but I can also straighten. Keep those left toes pointed up. So this is pigeon pose lying on your back.

(breathes deeply) Now place the ankle, left ankle on the right thigh, bring the foot down, before you hit up the full pigeon, see if you can bring that foot down and guide that hip open. Here's a little bit of a release there that happens. (breathes deeply) In the beginning of the practice I asked you to search that, the unnecessary tension right so maybe you're still doing that but the idea really is like okay where is it not necessary? Where am I holding that might be habitual tension in my body? (breathes deeply) Let it go.

Okay, pigeon. So recline pigeon, hold on to either your shin or your hamstring. I like the shin version personally. Press the left elbow in to the inner left thigh to keep the hip open, point the left toes up, ground your back, lengthen your neck, breath in. (breathes deeply) Breath out.

(breathes deeply) Stew around in that area right kind of explore maybe you find one spot, one flavor right that feels interesting. Sometimes the natural thing is to get so deep in a pose where all of sudden your face gets tight right. It's like (groans) and all you can think about is like when is this going to be over? Right number one it's up to you. You can end it any time just okay.

(breathes deeply) But do do that. Don't let the face collect all of that tension. That's an immediate indication that you may be too far in the pose. Okay we've been here a little while. Let's exit on out.

(breathes deeply) Bring the left foot down. Let's take one version of the full happy baby. We've done single on each side so bring the knees in and you can based on your availability here with your hips and all that jazz is take your hands on the inside of the legs, wrap your fingers around your shins just below the kneecaps, let your feet relax and then let the arms kind of lengthen out to support the knees and this is more of a passive happy baby. (breathes deeply) And stay with this option all of this is prepping us also for some deeper hip openers about to come. So stay here or reach up, get your hold, breath in and breath out, lower down.

(breathes deeply) Use a little arm strength to deepen it if that's of interest to you and what's nice about this pose for me is that it gives the opportunity or balance to rock from side to side without rolling over. Rocking side to side will kind of massage my back while getting into the hips and happy baby. (breathes deeply) Some folks like to straighten the leg, that might feel good, might get into the hamstrings that way. Maybe straighten both. (breathes deeply) All right breath in and exhale.

(breathes deeply) Take one or two breaths, put the bottoms of the feet together, hips open. (breathes deeply) Again pleasure. Just being in the experience. Okay we're gonna roll over onto our right side so bend your knees and roll onto your right side, pause there. (breathes deeply) So again like I said in the beginning, this is either your morning practice which is nice right.

You're taking the time in the beginning of the day to (breathes deeply) just kind of move your body in a way that might help you feel good throughout the day right. Okay push up. (breathes deeply) On to your hands and knees. Take a relatively wide knee child's pose. Actually do this.

Bring your knees more hip width. Try that first 'cause we're gonna eventually open them up quite a bit. So child's pose. (breathes deeply) Stack your fists, your palms. You can bring it all the down.

I actually have a hard time right now bringing the forehead to the mat so instead of bashing myself and going like why can't I do that? I see other people do it. It just doesn't matter. Find a place that allows you to be comfortable in the pose. Right here feels perfect for me.

Pause here breath. I understand also that if you're practicing this right now and this child's pose doesn't look quite the same, like yours doesn't look quite the same, maybe you're up here a little bit farther. You know, it looks different, just that's okay. It's going to look different okay. Now we're going to progressively get wider and wider so.

(breathes deeply) Bring the knees as wide as the mat, set the seat back. Now you might be feeling those sensations you were feeling when you were on your back in happy baby. Upper inner thighs, that hip crease there. Now I can bring my forehead down, I've got a little more room. (breathes deeply) Soften the shoulders, soften the facial muscles, relax into the experience, intimate relationship breath body.

It's an opportunity really the whole practice especially in this type of practice. It's an opportunity to kind of come back home right there's a lot of like going, going, going, doing, doing, doing, achieving, but every once in a while it might feel nice to quiet down and settle back into yourself. (breathes deeply) Okay from here there's a little bit of a transition period okay so we're gonna come on up. (breathes deeply) I've got a blanket here. So if you have a blanket, it doesn't have to be any one type of blanket, just something that will give you some support for your knees and your ankles as we move into these next variations so I'm gonna take it like so.

I'm going to lie it down like so and get it nice and perfect. Then we're gonna come back into child's pose all right and the child's pose this time is going to be a really wide knee version. All right so what we're doing is we're kind of prepping for what's called frog. So I want to set up with knees as far forward on this blanket so that my feet maintain ground on the blanket. Otherwise my ankles are gonna be on the wood floor or whatever surface you're on.

So first thing is as wide as you can get, bring your big toes to touch and then settle your hips back as far as you can. All right we'll take five breaths here. (breathes deeply) Right away I notice that I'm holding in my shoulders so I'm gonna figure out how to like with a little bit of breath work (breathes deeply) and a little bit of like just knowing that I have free license to figure it out. (breathes deeply) There's a certain amount sometimes that you kinda have to support yourself but now I think I've got it. Now I've got it.

A couple more breaths. (breathes deeply) Sometimes it's nice to turn your head from side to side. Okay so if this is a super sweet spot for you and you want to stay here, by all means or the next phase is to keep your knees pretty wide. Now instead of bringing the big toes to touch, you're actually gonna bring your feet out and you can see how my knees, from my knees my shin, my lower leg starts to shoot straight back, heels back, toes out. Now don't be surprised if you can't go as far back right.

This is like oh boy. Right there. So what do I do from here? Do I, why am I even doing this right? You might ask yourself that.

Like I'm kind of asking myself right now, like why do this? Doesn't feel that great, but what I'm gonna do is I'm going to pull out that little piece of trust in my back pocket. Every time I drop into the yoga practice, I trust. If I find that middle range of movement right, that moderate stretch and I drop into a good position right. A position that allows me to relax and have it be somewhat passive.

I enjoy feeling the breath fall in and fall out. (breathes deeply) After a little while, I don't need an answer necessarily. I don't need to know why I'm doing it. I'm back into that feeling of like I'm just doing it as if I were listening to music or if I were enjoying something. There's no real purpose right it's just for the simple pleasure.

So it wouldn't be super pleasurable if I had this extreme version where all I was thinking about was getting out of it. So find that position, soften the rest of your body. (breathes deeply) And so maybe like I said before, maybe there's a lot of holding in the hips that you don't even realize right some emotional luggage that you're carrying around. Maybe. Let's just pretend there is for a moment and for the next five breaths, feel as if every long open mouth exhale (breathes deeply) something is releasing.

Again just trust. Trust. (breathes deeply) Last one, breath in. (breathes deeply) And exhale everything. (breathes deeply) Now be extremely mindful as you exit.

(breathes deeply) So begin to minimize. Boy okay so the first little progression here is now bringing your toes. I'm kind of almost stuck I feel. (laughs) Okay, my knees I brought in a little bit closer, big toes now touch, now that wide we kind of reverse it right and work back into a child's pose. Like oh okay, why didn't I just do that the whole time?

(laughs) That feels a little bit easier. Maybe even more narrow. Yes okay. (breathes deeply) Okay. (breathes deeply) Go ahead and come back up.

(breathes deeply) Pause. (breathes deeply) And relax the shoulders, sit up tall. (breathes deeply) Okay. So before we move on to the next which is pigeon, prone pigeon, one thing that I, it's like for especially in the beginning, like if you're accustomed, you're in the beginning and you're figuring out how far go to go into poses, if you have a like a some spicy food right like let's use burrito. I love burritos, tacos, all that and I just love hot sauce.

You know sometimes I just go and I put too much on so all I'm doing is I'm eating this thing and I'm, it's just on fire and I can't wait for it to just be over. I can't enjoy it right, it's like done. Okay fine and now it's like the meal wasn't enjoyed so these postures can be kind of treated like. Like enjoy the meal, enjoy the process a little bit so hopefully that resonates with you. It definitely comes into my mind when I'm practicing these poses like just enjoy it.

Don't try to rush through and try to go too big right. So anyway, enough chit chat. On to the next. Pigeon pose so if you've got the blanket like so it actually might be nice to roll it up, this will help you get a little prop here. So roll it up into a long burrito.

How clever was that. So middle of the mat all right. Now from here and I'll guide you through this is we'll start with the left knee forward so go ahead and bring your left foot forward and then walk it over toward the right side of the mat, bring the knee down and then this little burrito thing is underneath my right hip or my left hip sorry and then directly under my right hip crease, hip flexor okay. So this enables me to come into the pose with some support, some full support. Sometimes you'll just put a block underneath your hip or roll up a blanket underneath that left side but this I personally love so I feel supported, I feel good.

My left foot like I cued to you in the other hip reclining pigeon poses, is really activate. Point your left toes forward. This will really activate and secure your knee okay. Any funky knee position or nunky, nunky, funky knee feelings, stay away from that. Extend your right leg back as far as you can.

So this position here where you place your hands on the mat might be that place right where it begins to become too intense or too spicy so if that's the case, you know maybe walk back up a little bit, maybe you can put more of an angle on the left leg right so a little bit like where the heel draws toward the blanket more so find that and then from there maybe you're able to kind of draw the forearms down. (breathes deeply) The sensation and feeling here for most people is going to primarily be here. My gluts, IT band, outer thighs so maybe that's the same for you. So I'm gonna keep going. I'm gonna keep walking out and do this little action here.

(breathes deeply) Begin to allow the breath to fall in and fall out comfortably. I'm not really placing that much emphasis on a real breath pattern. Just want to allow the breath to flow. (breathes deeply) And if the pose was too spicy, too intense, the breath might be way up in my chest and choppy right. We want it to flow.

We want to really like especially in a lot of these poses we want to touch in on the the parasympathetic nervous system right. Part of the nervous system that promotes relaxation, calm, releases or relaxes stress. The other side would be the fight or flight which is very necessary for our survival in our lives but we don't want to overdo it. So this is helping to balance it. See if from here for the next couple of moments you can actually melt every single muscle that you can.

(breathes deeply) Your head can rest on the mat now. (breathes deeply) Start your exit strategy. You're gonna push back up and what might be nice, it's another hip thing but it's a little bit more relaxing and passive is take this burrito tube thing and move it. (breathes deeply) Push up on to your knees. Now come on to your stomach and bring that left knee out, kind of like you did with frog.

Arms out into like a field goal shape, head resting to your right or even your left. (breathes deeply) Take a couple breaths here. After pigeon right your knee is kind of in and compressed. It's a nice way to passively open it. (breathes deeply) Be patient with yourself.

Be kind. (breathes deeply) Okay so now pigeon on the right side so now you kind of push up, bring yourself back to table top, tube back into play if that's what you're working with, bring that right leg over, settle, knee protected, left leg nice and long and actually with that left leg before being in pigeon so deep it feels good now to really open it up so you might feel that as well. Okay feeling supported, feeling like I've got the right temperature of the posture. My house right, talk about that sometimes, building this house and then living comfortably in the house. (breathes deeply) Your own home here so let's settle.

(breathes deeply) We talk a little bit about that stress. The stress is the significant cause of a lot of discomfort in the body. So the more we can learn to recognize when it's present, (breathes deeply) and have some basic tools to help release it, let it go (breathes deeply) we're giving ourselves a pretty good chance of not letting stress take over so one of those tools is the exhale. (breathes deeply) Really let that exhale work for you. (breathes deeply) Not only in releasing some of the stress in the posture, just that emotional stress that mental stress.

You have to acknowledge it first so notice it. (breathes deeply) I think I'm pretty close to balancing it out. If you want to stay a little longer, stay a little longer. (breathes deeply) Start to push yourself back up. (breathes deeply) Remove the tube once again, come back into table top, lie down on your belly, take that right knee out to the right like you did on the other side with the left.

Find this position, arms in a field goal position, head resting if you can. (breathes deeply) Okay nice. Come back up. (breathes deeply) Push back into a child's pose. (breathes deeply) Work your way on to your back again right where we started kind of coming full circle, hug your knees in.

This is child's pose as well right so you can always keep that in mind. If child's pose on your prone position facing down doesn't quite work, find it here. Good now bring the bottoms of your feet together, let the hips open, that's a reverse or reclined butterfly bound angle and let the arms come out. Maybe before you do that, take your hands behind your head, lift your head and lengthen the neck, set your head back down. (breathes deeply) Take another breath in.

(breathes deeply) Exhale. Begin to find some sense of relaxation. If it doesn't feel good to have those knees open, bring them toward one another. (breathes deeply) You can always straighten your legs. Allow yourself to kind of fade and melt into some sense of final relaxation.

(breathes deeply) Letting go of all awareness now. The awareness is (breathes deeply) let go. All the focus and attention on your breath and your body now we're letting go of that. Relaxing, relaxing, relaxing. (breathes deeply) Go ahead and bend your knees.

You can stay in final relaxation as long as you'd like or begin to roll to your right side, rest your head on your your arm. (breathes deeply) Begin to push yourself back up. (breathes deeply) Hello again. So hips that's kind of a lot. Be mindful you know how you most likely might be a little sore.

So how you, you know if you feel sore just know it's from that and we'll close out by pressing the palms together. (breathes deeply) And close your eyes for a few moments honoring your effort and your desire to feel better, to make a change in your body. Maybe make a change in your life ultimately. (breathes deeply) Begin to find more comfort, more mobility, maybe even more happiness, more peace. (breathes deeply) Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Namaste. Namaste. (breathes deeply)


Lucie H
5 people like this.
Awesome video! Thank you for being genuine and so accessible. You don't impose anything (belief, pace, range of motion, ...) allowing people to take only what they can/want/need. It really helped me letting things go. Thank you too for the laughs with your "oh Boy" that were right on point :)!
Joan J
2 people like this.
I love Yin, and I have the tightest hips, so any Yin practice that focuses on the hips is so helpful. I enjoy how you let one sink into the postire and languish in the experience. Frog is a challenge, due to my terrible knees, so I needed a block under my hips and a bolster in front to enjoy this position. I walk 2 miles every day so this is wonderful before and after my walk to keep my hips more open. This will be an every day practice for me, thank you for your teaching Robert.
Robert Sidoti
Hi Lucie! It's been 8 months since your comment, so bummed I missed it:( Just wanted you to know I really appreciate your words and am so happy you were able to let some things go. Are you still around practicing with YA?
Robert Sidoti
Hey there Joan ... Practice this before and after a 2 mile walk?! That sounds perfect! I'm glad you were able to block and bolster up to make the pose more accommodating:) Keep on keeping on!!
Jasmine T.
1 person likes this.
45 minutes of awesome! Best hip opening class I've ever had in 12 years of practice. I like the pace and was surprised how relaxed I was in frog, usually I tense up in my shoulders in this pose today I was able to relax. This will be my go to hip opening practice from now on :)
Robert Sidoti
Hey there Jasmine T.!! Sooo happy this practice felt good for your and your hips :) I really appreciate the comments, so fun to hear back from people!!
Blanche P
1 person likes this.
Excellent class slow motion Yin, can you give a traditional yin practice, special request. blanche Pint0. thank you kindly
Robert Sidoti
Hey there Blanche ✌️ Glad you enjoyed the class! I’d love to instruct a yin class, will be sure to let you know:))
Eva V
2 people like this.
Love this class and how you encourage me to stay in the posture. I get cramps under my left foot during the very wide “frog” posture. Have to get out of the posture but gets better when I go back afterwards. Eva
Robert Sidoti
Hi Eva !! Welcome to the ‘foot cramp club’ :)) Happens often in various poses, totally normal - I love that you back out and re - enter without the cramp, a good skill to have on and off the mat 👌✌️ Thanks for commenting and being here!! 
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