21-Day Meditation Challenge Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 9

Practice 3: Open the Hips

15 min - Practice


We open up the hips a little bit to make it easier to sit for our meditation.
What You'll Need: No props needed

About This Video

Jul 01, 2017
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So let's open up the hips a little bit to make it easier to sit and meditate. We're going to start reclining. So just lie back on your mat and essentially find shavasana. Straighten the legs out, relax the arms out to the sides, and close the eyes. And just take a moment to come to your breathing and to deepen into ujjayi breathing.

Through the nose, mouth closed, elongating about five counts in and five counts out. Hear that soft sound that ujjayi breathing makes. And let's take another full and complete round of breath here. And then, of course, continue to breathe deeply. But now we're going to draw the knees into the chest.

So you can start by bending your knees, placing your feet on the floor, and then go ahead and take both knees into the chest. This is appanasana posture. Take a deep breath, breathe into your low back, breathe into your hips. And then a simple twist. Release your knees over to the left, just two bent knees to the left.

You might need to slide your left shoulder, your left ribs, a little to the left. And then begin to twist to the right. And you can turn your gaze to the right so long as it doesn't aggravate your neck. If there's anything sensitive happening in your neck, then just keep your head centered. And then just take a couple of deep breaths as you twist, rotate your spine.

Every exhale, try to turn the upper body a little bit more to the right. Let's do this for one more breath. And then let's change. So try to keep the knees together, come back to the center, and then release your knees over to the right, adjusting the right ribs a little to the right, and turning the upper body to the left. And again, turn the head unless there's anything sensitive happening in the neck.

And you would just keep your head centered. And breathe deeply each time you exhale. Twist a little bit more to the left. And let's give this side one more full cycle. And then again, let's try to keep the knees together, inhale, come back to center.

Just gently realign yourself, hug your knees in. And then you're going to release your feet to the floor for thread the needle pose. This will help us open the hips. So cross your right ankle over your left thigh, flexing the foot. And with your right hand for a breath, push the thigh away from you.

And this is making your leg rotate open in your hip socket. Then you're going to reach your right hand through the hole. Left hand's going to come around the outside and either grab the back of the leg or the front of the shin, whichever position is more comfortable for you. Flex your feet, and as you pull your left knee in towards your chest, you're trying to push your right knee away from you. And then breathe deeply here.

Every so often as you continue to breathe, try pulling the left knee in a little bit closer and maintaining that push of the right knee away. So you release across your outer right hip. This will aid in sitting crossed legs for meditation. Take another breath. Go a little deeper as you exhale, then we're going to lift the upper body.

So first breathe in. And then exhale, lift the upper back, contract the belly, and pull in, knee to nose, nose to knee. And stay one more breath here. Little more compact as you exhale, it gets the hip further, and then release it all the way down. Drop both feet to the floor, take a nice deep breath.

And then side two. So you're going to cross the left over the right, flex the foot, push the knee away. Again, you're asking the thigh to rotate open in the hip socket. And then thread the needle. Left hand is going to come through the hole right around the outside and either grab the back of the leg or the shin, whichever one, you know, feels better, feels like you have better grip.

And then pause here, keep breathing, knee draws in, right knee, left knee moves away. Rotating your hip open. Pull the right thigh in a little bit closer. Take another round of breath, going a little deeper, feeling it in your outer left hip. And then again, we're going to stay here, take a nice big inhalation, exhale, lift the upper body up off the mat, pull the right knee in near the nose, contract the belly and then stay here, take a big breath in, exhale a little bit deeper and then lower and release all the way back down.

Take a nice big breath at the bottom and then we're going to transition ourselves to sitting. So just bring the knees into your chest, hold the backs of the legs and rock yourself up. And as you come up to sit, you're going to come into Sukhasana. So you're going to cross shins and calves in the middle and you're going to flex your feet. Feet are aligning with the knees, so you're kind of walking the feet apart and making the shins parallel, right?

We want to keep the feet flexed so that we track the feet and the ankles with the knees, therefore keeping the stretch up in the hips. So we're going to twist here and then we're going to fold. Let's start by turning the palms open, big inhale, circle and reach up, stay here as you exhale, relax your shoulders so you don't overgrip around the ears. Take another inhale, get really tall and then you're going to exhale and twist to your right. So your left hand is going to cross over to your right thigh, your right hand will come back behind you.

Breathe in and go up, breathe out and push, pull with the arms to twist, right? Several times like that, inhaling, going up and exhaling, rotating. And if it's comfortable for you, you can start to really turn your gaze into the twist towards your back shoulder. One last breath and then after the exhalation, return to center, unwinding. Same beginning, palms inhale, go up, exhale, relax the upper shoulders.

Keep the feet flexed, again, breathe in, sit taller and then you're going to exhale, cross the right hand to the left thigh and bring the left hand back behind you. And then again, inhale, up, up, up and exhale, push, pull, turning to your left. And then again, breathing and rotating. And if it feels okay on your neck, turn your gaze into the twist. So it's not leading the twist, it's kind of following the twist.

Go a little bit deeper, one more round of breath, exhale into that rotation and then come back to center and unwind. From here, lift your chest up, big inhale, keep the feet flexed, keep the spine long and exhale, begin to walk it forward. So this is going to take us a little further into that hip opening to prepare us for meditation. I don't want you to round your back, so resist kind of sinking and collapsing. You want to keep the front body really long.

Breathe here a few rounds of breath, Sukhasana with a forward bend. Every so often when you can go a little bit deeper, walk your hands a little bit more forward. Just have one more breath on this side. And then we're going to come on up and change sides. So inhale all the way back up to sitting, right?

So now to be really balanced, we're going to switch the crossing and instead of a twist, we're going to add a side bend. So take a moment to align your feet again, beat aligning with knees and feet flexed, come tall. This time you're going to reach your left hand out to the side on the floor, palm down, and then you're going to turn your right hand up. And as you inhale, you're going to circle and reach that arm all the way overhead, keeping the length at the elbow, not bending the elbow. And then pushing into the opposite palm, big breath.

You're going to round your right ribs up towards the ceiling. Don't let the chest roll down into the floor. Let the chest rolling open and breathe. Keep your head and neck aligned so there's no tension there. And the deeper you breathe, the more you open your right waist.

Going a little bit deeper, if you're quite flexible in your side bends, you can even begin to move the opposite elbow towards the floor. It's going to take it even further or just keep the arms straight and breathe from here. Take one last breath on this side. And then we're going to rise all the way back up, big inhalation. Exhale at the top.

So you feel your whole right side is really open. So now you're going to bring your right palm to the floor, inhale, the left arm up and over. Keeping the head and neck centered, reaching with that top arm so there's no bend at the elbow. Breathe into that side waist. Keeping the chest opening towards the ceiling so you're not at all rolling down and collapsing.

Give it your last few breaths. Remember, you might bend that elbow and move it towards the floor if you want to increase the side bend action. Whenever you breathe, the more those ribs open and it helps you to create length in your spine for sitting. One more breath. And then we'll rise all the way back up, big inhalation.

Exhale once you're upright. Now we're going to fold to balance out and deepen the hip opening. So tall spine, nice big inhale, and then we're going to hinge forward, keeping the feet flexed. Walk the hands forward as you exhale. Resist rounding.

Maintain the length in the front of the spine and just breath by breath, slowly going a little further into your pose. It's really helpful to get this release and opening if you're going to sit in a crossed leg shape or position for meditation. Take a couple final rounds of breath. Go a little bit deeper if you can. Keep lengthening the front body.

Much breath here. And then just gently walk yourself all the way back up. Nice big inhalation. Exhale at the top. And now it should feel natural.

It should feel like you're ready to sit. Bring in your props and begin your meditation. Thank you.


1 person likes this.
brief, simple, effective
Simon ?
1 person likes this.
Thank you Nikki. These little preps are also great for the day ahead sitting at a desk. Blessings!

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