Move to Meditate Artwork
Season 3 - Episode 4

Open Your Hips to Sit

25 min - Practice


Bex guides us in a practice that focuses on inner and outer hip work in preparation for sitting. We focus on the legs and hips, moving through a series of Trikonasana (Triangle Pose), Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Side Angle), and Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon). We close with a short 3-minute seated meditation.
What You'll Need: Mat, Block

About This Video


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Welcome, I'm Bex and I'm back and we're going to do a practice without a Chaturanga, without a down dog, with a lot of inner and outer hip work. So if you feel like you really need your Chaturanga, your down dog, you can pause and do three quick sun salutations, or you can be a little curious what it's like to work the legs right away. So find yourself in the center of your mat the lengthwise, okay? And then just allow yourself to ground. We're going to do some hopping wide, okay?

If hopping doesn't feel good for you, just step your feet. I will hop my feet wide, land them, and then turn my heels in and my toes out, and bend the knees. So some people call this goddess, some people call it temple, horse. If I was lying on the ground, I'd call it frog. Whatever you want to call it, make your body into the shape where your knees really stack above your ankles. So what I see most and what I feel in my body is that dripping of the knees forward, and I want us to get the inner lining of the legs to feel expansive.

So sit into that space, and at first you're just going to kind of rock side to side, and the inner lining of my legs immediately goes, oh, okay, she means business right now, right? So that's how I want it to feel for you. If your hips are up really high, sit a little deeper, right, get into it, till right into that soil of the pelvis, and then you will weave the fingers any way you like behind your head. So we're weaving the fingers behind the head in an effort to lower the pelvis, and at the same time orient up, inner lining of legs are working. So just breathe in through the nose, out through the nose, and every time you exhale, see if you can get a little marinated more in that pelvic flow.

Inhale, exhale. One more time. In, out, right? Eventually I feel warm, heat, my cheeks feel like they're pinking up. So now you will take your right elbow towards your right thigh, and I feel like I'm levitating the pelvis, so I'll sit deeper, inhaling, come up through center, exhaling, side bend, my head is pushing into the back of my hands, and then inhale up, less grippy in the toes, sit a little deeper, exhale over, inhale, stay low, be really stealth, exhale, inhale.

Now final round, so you just like ask, hey quads, can you work a little more? Sure. Okay, sit, over as I exhale, inhaling, coming up, exhaling, going over, and then inhale, come up, straighten the legs, take the arms down, right? In that moment there's a rinse, there's a wash, whatever you want to call it, my heart beats a little bit, sit right back down in. This time you have the hands as assistants, your own assistants.

So you will roll the right shoulder and bend the left elbow and look over to the left and get a little low, tone the low belly, and then inhale through center, exhale, right? Right arm is bent, left arm is straight, and you just lift and twist, no yanking, it never sounds fun to yank. That's one complete round, inhale, two more rounds, right arm straight, left elbow bends, belly tethering navel, inhaling, and go, exhale, twist, inhale, center, final, final, exhale, inhale up through center, and then exhale, twisting. Now I'm already twisting to my right, so I'm going to take my right hand down and my left hand down, pivoting on left toes, right heel in its own lane, bending that right knee. And then right here, I'm just going to feel what's happening in the body.

And then slowly you can take the block underneath your left hand and put the right hand on the right thigh, hip, or I'm going to go for right arm up, and then a slow little circle, and I'm keeping my elbow bent, so the circle is right at the upper arm bone, three times in one direction. I started counterclockwise, you can go clockwise, and then three times the other way, every once in a while, as I'm breathing, I'm noticing, oh, hey, left leg, keep straight, push back. It's getting a little naughty in its behavior. And then slowly I put the hand down, mostly straighten the right leg, bow the head. There's that feeling, oh, okay, back of the leg.

I'm going to move my block just a little bit more to the back of my mat, because I know when I switch, I'll be on that side. Bend to that right knee, come back through center, turn the toes in and the heels out, inhale with the chest, and then exhale, fold. So here you are in separate leg stretching, Prasadapadottanasana. Your fingertips are orienting the same way as your toes, and your elbows will bend. And I like this position after that twist so that my legs can come into this place where the right and the left are working the best that they can for balance, right?

Maybe it feels like symmetry, we're not a symmetrical being, we work for balance. Hands on hips, inhale up, and then here's the hop or the step, feet together, right? And in that moment, I use a little shimmy. And then right there, I just feel, ears, shoulders, pelvis, knees, ankles, feet. And so I use that pause as like a mini meditation for my legs, for my breath.

Okay, there are two sides on the body, so we'll do the other one. Hop the feet, pivot for a god, goddess, horse, temple. This time the variation is to sit low and to bring the arms out in front. We're going to go into the chest, so when the arms come wide, the chest comes forward. When the arms come together, the chest rounds.

Two more, forward, inhale, exhale, last one, inhale, chin can lift, exhale, chin can lower. Then I'm creeping and I'm crawling over, right to my left side, placing the block under left hand, I mean right hand, I don't know, I got confused, I confuse myself all the time. Left hand on thigh, maybe hip, and then slowly those stirs, right, and I look back, each leg in their own lane, right, and sometimes I feel like the block support, I might need to bend the elbow, and then going the other way. It's just nice to have the block on my team, right, on my team here. And then I feel that twist, some alignment, some ripples through the spine, hand down, I'm going to move that block again, back toward opposite side, and then straighten here, breathe.

And then a little bend, climbing hymns in between feet, I'm going to do another variation of prasadipadottanasana, this one with my peace fingers grabbing, big toes, inhale, lengthen, exhale, fold. And so the temptation is to like, jet the chin forward, let the skin on the back of the neck go, lean forward, use the energy in the arms, and make the breath really significant. Right, that breath helps you organize the body, and then slowly, this time, hands on the mat, when you hop the feet together, bend the knees and roll up, right, so that rolling allows for an unspooling shrug, shoulders up to the ears, and then down the back, landing again, resetting ears, shoulders, pelvis, knees, ankles, eyes open, big step or a hop, a pivot on the right foot, left heel like a sliver forward, I always think of when I'm setting up for warrior two, the back heel is like just a sliver forward from the back edge of the mat, not distance wise, but angle wise, and you sit into warrior two, right, and in warrior two, the inner lining of your right leg is already like, yeah, I've kind of hung out in a goddess, I got this, so you'll look over that right shoulder, and then you'll just peek inside, could I sit deeper, sure, can I breathe more, yes, right, and sometimes I like to look back and just see, okay, there I am, arms are level, inhale, mostly straighten that right leg, and then shore up the stance, I like to, heel to heel or heel to arch, that's a preference, and then a little micro bend as you slide into uttita trikonasana, extended triangle, and when you are there, if you need the block, use it, right, I'm a big fan of the support of the accessory of the block, I feel like it pretties up the pose every time, so if looking up is a lot for your neck, you can look to the side, that's really fine, or down, there's an elongated sense through the right side body, right, right leg working with vigor without locking the knee, left ribcage rolling up and back, and then as you're extending that arm, just checking in, right, where can I breathe? Bend the right knee, come up through warrior two, sit deeper in, extended side angle, okay, so here you have the form on the thigh, the first modification would be to have the left arm straight up, right, the second would be to pull it over, and then if this feels really easy for you, you could place the right hand outside the right ankle, you could use the block, I'm gonna use the block since the transition is into one of my favorite shapes, so again those left ribs, the ones on top rippling up and away from the navel, the right thigh orienting almost horizontal or maybe horizontal, shin bones vertical, precision will lead to the power of long stretch through that left arm, now I find if I place my left hand on my left hip, then I will slide in my right foot and just today I'm gonna do that so that I can transition and lift my leg, now you can keep the hand on the hip and the hand on the block, if you don't need the block, right, if the block seems like oh actually I don't need you right now, then you can take it away, then slowly you can lift, the tricky part is the dristy, and then the courage of riding the wave, so riding the wave means everything is destabilizing us, we're on a moving planet, so how can I ride it, how can I feel it, how can I accept it, and then land, I'm gonna grab hold of that block, sneak it attack over to the other side so it's there for me when I need it, and then slowly hop my feet back together and just kinda stand, there's a lot that can come up, there's a lot of stuff that can get pushed down in the body, we wanna move it, so we can free up more space for light, for gratitude, okay, second side, hop it, pivot, left foot this time, right heel further away, platform of the feet, earthing you, bend the knee, right and then every time you might be like hmm I got a little smidgen more I can go for, so I'll sit there, yeah, the legs are working vigorously, arms work now, and the arms you fine tune the balance of the arms in their energy, and in this moment you really wanna feel the skin saran wrapping around your fascia, your insulation, the muscle and the bones, because the arms have a lot of energy, they haven't done a down dog or a plank, slowly mostly straighten that left leg, shore up the stance, I certainly like to, slurp that left thigh bone in, again as you elongate, landing left hand where you like, gaze can be down to the side or up, feeling outer edges of feet grounded, and then really cascading breath through body, micro bend then big bend to come out of that, then forearm to thigh, right arm can be straight up, could be over, left hand could be down, and then again this is where I just have to feel in my body, oh wow I like to hold a lot of tension in my right side body, and oddly enough my left side of the neck, so I just kinda, okay, come on legs, let me work and breathe, right hand right hip, right as it lands there, again today's transition variation is to slide the heel in, I don't always do that, block forward outside left and then there you are, in your Ardha Chandrasana, and then if you don't need the block, for me sometimes the block throws me a little off, today's one of those days, then you start to look, I can see my toes, I know I'm okay, and I reach the right arm up and I really feel the long lines of energy, and anyone who knows me knows I love this pose, I've been crushing on it for a couple of decades, it makes me really happy. And then slowly I look down, I gracefully land, I take the block with me again, tricky like that I am, and this time I'm just gonna come over to the right side of my mat, I'm gonna move my left leg in the left lane and my right leg in the right lane, and coming into lounge lizard, or a low lunge with active back leg, so hands on the inside of the knee on the right, or forearms down, I have the block here, if I needed the block, and sometimes just because I can put my forearms on the ground doesn't mean I need to, so I might use this block and I'm externally rotating my right thigh a bit, so I'm on the outer blade of my right leg, and then my left leg, it kind of wants to sag, I gotta pull it in, right, breathe, use engagement as a strength, engaging with myself in this conversation, and the conversation is usually the one I don't want to have with myself in my pelvis, time to unpack, to stop judging, to stop telling you hamstrings you're tight, right, it's such an old story, I now believe it, might not even be true, so hands come down, I'm gonna keep the block there, and simply step the right foot back and the left foot forward, each leg in their own lane, and then I'm gonna use the block again, and externally rotate, and as I use it, I'm gonna really say thank you block, I'm not gonna bad mouth anything else, and on this side I'm gonna invite the external rotation, and whether the range is bigger or smaller, I'm not gonna compare sides, I know that one side drives a car and it uses the right leg more than it uses the left, so I'm just gonna kind of finesse the breath.

And then hand on block, other hand on block, stepping forward, gonna shake it out a bit, sit down, landing, alright, I'm gonna find that place where I'm gonna use my block again for Virasana in meditation, you could be on your bolster, you can be cross-legged, some people like a reclined meditation as long as you can stay awake, so I'm just gonna place it under my sit bones, point my feet back, I like to roll my calves occasionally, they're going back, settle in, it's a shorter meditation, so establish that comfort, and then pull it into the vortex of your breath, right, land in the cave of your heart, alright, land in the cave of your heart, keep length in the spine, if you feel like you're leaning forward, up right, so you're just past halfway now. So, how can you breathe in such a way that you can feel the benefit of the sitting practice moving through you? And how can you breathe in such a way that says, I am here? And how can you be curious about a now-centric breath that gifts you, it really gifts you this present moment? If you see a calling for sitting longer, go ahead, if you want to recline in Shavasana, feel free, I will seal the practice, hands, heart, center, and prayer, self-care is essential, we start with ourself, namaste.


2 people like this.
Wow! This is the perfect pre-holiday shopping (or pre-any-crazy-busy-day) practice. Short and very sweet, hitting all the right spots and squeezing in the all-important self-care that’s so easy to neglect during hectic days. Thank you!
1 person likes this.
We get caught up in flows and forget that every pose requires attention. I can see this would lend itself beautifully to any pose in the Standing Series.
1 person likes this.
perfect and creative
1 person likes this.
perfect for pre-sadhana.
1 person likes this.
2 people like this.
BEX, I love this beautiful and powerful practice. I enjoy the leg work, and still feel all the energy and heat. (Nice withut down dogs and planks for a change) I have no arches in my feet and do use blocks to help with balance. My knees are cranky so I was not able to get myself into a gorgeous Goddess, but I did feel the work in my quads.
I feel opened, energized and stretched. Lovely meditation at the end. So grateful for this sessionđŸ’œ
1 person likes this.
I love to return to this practice thank you
Such a great practice for leg strength
Such an opening practice
I love yoga
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