The Ashtanga Practice Artwork
Season 2 - Episode 3

Hip Focused Flow

55 min - Practice


Rosemary guides us through a ashtanga-inspired dynamic vinyasa flow with a focus on opening and strengthening the hips. This practice promotes flexibility and generates inner heat. You will feel fluid, juicy, and energized.
What You'll Need: No props needed

About This Video

Mar 02, 2015
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Hi and welcome back. So today we're gonna be working with a hip-focused Vinyasa flow practice. Hip strengthening and definitely some really juicy hip opening towards the end of the practice. If you'd like a block or a bolster or two, feel free to grab one. You won't necessarily need them, but if you're feeling a little tight or sticky and you want the extra support, feel free to grab them.

I also want to say before we jump in that the hips can be home to a lot of emotions, sometimes anger, sometimes grief, sometimes who knows. So just be compassionate with yourself through this practice, during, and if it stirs something up after, go for the ride, enjoy, and be really patient, compassionate with yourself. Okay. So starting on the back in Supta Baddha Konasana. We're just gonna lie back, soles the feet together, knees open.

And if your hips are fairly tight and you'd like to take blocks or bolsters underneath the thighs for a little added support, that can be really, really nice. And just ease yourself back. And then rest the right hand on the heart, the left hand on the low belly and let the eyes close. We'll take a few moments here to settle, ground, let yourself arrive for your practice. Begin to feel that gentle rise and fall of the breath underneath the hands.

And begin to move the deep fall breath down into the hips and the whole bowl of the pelvis. So the hips are associated with our first chakra, which is essentially our foundation, our core relationships, our home, our livelihood, our health and well-being. A lot going on there in the first chakra. So as you're moving through your practice today, gently hold that in your awareness, and think about a really strong, steady, flexible, healthy foundation. A few more breaths here.

Expanding with each inhale. Deepening relaxing with each exhale. And consider your intention for your practice. And let's keep the hands where they are so we can feel the vibration as we open with a sound of Om. So exhale all the breath out and then together a big inhale.

(singing) Om. (singing) Om. (singing) Om. (singing) Om. Take another moment of stillness here.

And then gently let the eyes open. Draw the knees together. Hugs your legs in towards the chest, wrap the arms around the legs, and rock yourself a little side to side. And then knees go wide, hold the outer edges of the feet for a simple happy baby. You can keep this neutral, or you can rock it a little.

You can even play with lengthening one leg and then the other. Just saying hello to the hips. And then draw the legs back in. Cross the ankles and gently rock yourself a little forward and back, massaging the spine. And when you're ready, rock yourself all the way up.

Coming onto the hands and the knees. So hands in line with the shoulders, knees in line with the hips. Spread the fingers really wide and warming the spine with some cat-cow. As you inhale, lift the tailbone. Let the belly drop a little.

Lift the heart and the gaze. As you exhale, round the back, tuck the tailbone, tuck the chin, pull the belly up towards the spine. Inhale again, lifting tailbone, heart, gaze, exhale to round. Again together, inhale. And exhale.

And then a few cycles, a few breaths at your own pace. You can keep it really simple in this one plane of movement, or if you'd like, you can circle through the head, neck, shoulders, hips, kind of spiraling the spine. Just any direction, any pace that feel best in your body. One more breath. And then draw it back to a neutral spine.

Root the hands, inhale, tuck the toes and exhale, press it all the way up and back. Downward facing dog. And easing into this. Give yourself about five to ten deep, slow, steady Ujjayi breaths. You can peddle the feet, maybe shifting the hips a little side to side.

Taking the breath into the backs of the legs, the length of the spine, soft through the neck. One or two more breaths. And then with your next inhale, roll the body forward into plank pose, shoulders over the wrists, just pause for a moment, strong through the center. And with your next exhale, go back to downward facing dog. And just a little flow between these two.

Inhale, come forward into plank. Exhale, downward facing. Inhale, roll it forward. Exhale, go back. Last one.

Inhale, forward to plank. And exhale, back to downward facing dog. Then slowly with your next inhale, begin to walk the feet forward towards the front of the mat. Uttanasana, standing forward fold. Feel free to take a soft bend in the knees.

Feel free to drop the hands to the earth, or take hold of opposite elbows. You might even sway the upper body a little side to side. About three breaths. Sway to center. If you do have hold of the elbows, release the hands to the Earth.

And pause here. From here, keep a soft bend in the knees, keep the head heavy and slowly, on an inhale, begin to roll the body all the way up to stand. When you arrive, exhale, roll the shoulders down the back. Step the feet together. Hands to prayer at heart center.

Samasthiti. Let's take one grounding breath together. Inhale and exhale. Surya Namaskar A. Inhale, reach the arms out and up.

Exhale, bow out and down. Inhale, halfway up, exhale, hop or step back. Lower knees first or Chaturanga. Inhale, cobra or upward facing. And exhale back, downward facing dog.

Just three breaths here. At the bottom of your third exhale, take a soft bend in the knees. Hop or step to the front of the mat. Inhale, come halfway up. Exhale, bow and fold.

Inhale, rise all the way up. Exhale, draw the hands to prayer at heart center. And again, inhale, out and up. Exhale, fold. Inhale, halfway.

Exhale, hop or step back. Lower as you choose. Inhale, lift the heart. Exhale, downward facing. Again, three breaths.

Long through the spine, shoulders rolling away from the ears. Send the sit bones towards the sky, the heels towards the earth. Bottom of the exhale, bend the knees, hop or step forward. Inhale, lengthen. Exhale, fold.

Inhale, all the way up. Flat back. Exhale, hands to prayer at the heart. Once again. Inhale, out and up.

Exhale, fold. Inhale, halfway. Exhale, hop or step it back. Through the Vinyasa of your choice. Scoop the heart up.

And back for three breaths. Bottom of the exhale, bend those knees. Hop or step to the front of the map. Inhale, lengthen. Exhale to fold.

Inhale, rise all the way up. Exhale, hands to prayer, heart center. Surya Namaskar B. Bending the knees. Inhale, scoop the arms up.

Exhale, fold, out and down. Inhale halfway. Exhale, hop or step it back. Through the Vinyasa. Ground that left heel, right foot forward.

Inhale, Warrior one. Exhale, hands to the earth. Step back and lower. Inhale, lift the heart. Exhale, go back.

Right heel down. Left foot forward. Inhale, rise. Exhale, release. Step it back.

Flow it through. Downward dog. Three breaths. And exhale, soft bend in the knees. Hop or step forward.

Inhale, lengthen. Exhale, fold. Bending the knees. Inhale, Utkatasana. Exhale, Samasthiti.

Once again, bend the knees, inhale, take it up. Exhale, fold forward. Inhale, halfway. Exhale, hop or step back. And through.

Right foot forward, left heel grounds. Inhale, Warrior one. Exhale. Hands to the earth. Step back.

Through the Vinyasa. Left foot forward, right heel grounds, inhale, rise. Exhale, take it back and through. And downward facing. Stay here for a few breaths.

Long through the spine. Soft through the neck. One more breath. And we'll move directly from here into a few low lunges. So inhale, take the right leg straight up and back.

As you exhale, step that right foot forward. Release the back knee down, and begin really simply with the hands interlacing on that front thigh. Right, guide the hips forward. Lift from that deep low belly. Ease the torso back, breathing into the left hip flexors.

Couple breaths here. If this is enough, stay with what you've got. If you'd like, inhale, take the arms up. Palms open or interlaced, press it out. Tall through the spine, deep breath.

And then from here, as you exhale, a few options. You can release that right forearm to the thigh and reach the left arm up and over from here. Or you can take the right hand down to the earth or a block and then ease up and over. So you're continuing to open through those left hip flexors, rolling the torso up and extending over. A couple more breaths.

Leg strong. Inhale, drop back to center. And exhale, release. Simple step it straight back. Take the Vinyasa or let it go.

And second side. Inhale, left leg up. Exhale, step it forward, release the back knee. Very simple low lunge. Take the hands up onto that front thigh.

And begin to ease the hips forward. Breathing into the right hip flexors. As the hips move forward, take the torso back a little bit and actively lift from that deep low belly. That's gonna open those right hip flexors a little bit more. Couple more breaths.

Keep the hands here, or inhale, take the arms up. Keep it open or interlace and press it out. Then with your next exhale, you choose. Release the left forearm to the thigh, or take that hand outside the hip to the earth or a block. Keep the torso rolling open and reach it up and over.

Deep breath. Right down into the right hip flexors. Stay with it. And then use the inhale to draw it back up. Exhale, release, step back, through the Vinyasa or let it go.

Returning to downward facing dog. Take a few breaths here, just gather the energy. And then with the next inhale, again, right leg goes straight up and back. With the exhale, step that foot forward, shifting into a high lunge, or Crescent pose. Inhale, take it all the way up.

From here, clasp the hands, interlace the fingers, release your index finger. Take a really big inhale then exhale, bend both knees, bend the elbows, ease almost all the way down. And inhale back up. Exhale, bend, Inhale, up. Exhale.

Inhale. Couple more. Exhale, bend and rise. Bend and rise. Good. Couple more breaths in this lunge.

Really deepen in the front knee. Press back through that left heel. Lift up through the belly. From here, shifting into tree pose. So take a big inhale, press off the back foot and rise to balance on that right leg, drawing the left foot in and up.

And hands to prayer at heart center. Take a few breaths, just settle into it. If you're steady, arms can go straight up to the sky. And then let's draw the hands back to prayer if the arms are up. And from here, cross that left ankle over the right knee.

Keep the left foot flexed. Protect the knee joint. And slowly sink the hips back and down and breathe into that outer left hip, left glute area. Couple more breaths. To come out of it, you can simply release that left foot and jump right back through the Vinyasa or if you wanna play with a little arm balance, plant the hands.

Deep, deep bend in the elbows to make that shelf with the upper arms. Look forward a little to help with the balance. And then pick up the right foot. Reach it back, and take it into downward dog from there. If you want the Vinyasa, roll through.

Otherwise, just pause. Meeting in downward facing dog. Take a breath. Inhale, left leg to the sky. Exhale, step it forward.

And coming into high lunge second side. Clasp the hands, lift the first finger straight up to the sky. Take a big inhale and exhale, bend both knees and the elbows almost all the way down. Inhale, back up. Exhale, bend.

Inhale. Exhale. Rise. And fall. Rise.

And fall. Inhale, come on up. Then exhale, sink down into it, really deep bend in the front knee. Press back through that right heel, tall through the spine. With the next inhale, transitioning up into tree pose.

Balancing on that left leg, draw the right foot in and up. Take the hands to prayer at the heart center and steady the breath. If you want to add the arms, inhale, reach it up. Feel that right knee drawing back a little bit. So the inner thigh's parallel to the front wall, getting opening through the hip.

One more breath. And then let's draw the hands back to prayer at the heart center if the arms were up. Keep the left leg strong. Cross the right ankle over the left knee, flex that foot. And slowly, sinking back and down through hips and sit bones.

Kinda ease into it, finding your edge, breathing into the outer right hip and glute muscles. Couple more breaths. And again, it's your choice. You can simply release the right foot and jump back through Vinyasa, or keep the legs as is, plant the hands, make that shelf with the upper arms, take a little weight forward into the hands, look forward a little, and then try picking up the left leg, reach it back, and into downward facing dog. Take a breath here.

And then through the Vinyasa or pause. Good. Again, gathering the energy. Come on back to your own center and your intention. And pressing through the hands.

Inhale, sweep the right leg back to the sky. This time as you exhale, open that hip by bending the knee. Keep equal weight on the hands. Try to send the left heel to the earth. Breathe into the outer right hip and the back of the left leg.

Then inhale, straighten it up. Exhale, right knee comes outside of the right elbow. Inhale, go back up, and exhale, step the right foot foreword, ground your back heel. Warrior two. Inhale, left arm opens you.

Virabhadrasana B. Take your time, settle into the alignment. Wide open through the hips. Wide open through the heart center, extending out through the fingertips. Deep breath for three and two and then exhale, reverse your Warrior, slide the left hand down that left leg, reach the right arm up and over.

Breathe into the right side body. Let the inhale float you back up and exhale into side angle. Any variation. Forearm to thigh, hand to the earth, inner or outer. Maybe even a bind or a half bind.

Long through the left side. Deep full breath for three two... Plant through the feet. Inhale, Warrior two. Just for a moment.

Exhale, reverse. Stay there, inhale. Exhale, hands to the earth. Step back through the flow. Inhale, left leg to the sky, exhale, open the hip, bending the knee, just gently ease it up and over.

Then inhale, lengthen it up. Exhale, draw left knee outside of the left elbow. Inhale, go back up. Exhale, step that foot forward. Ground the back heel.

Right arm opens you. Inhale, Warrior two. Steady gaze out past the left finger tips. Opening through the hips, extending out from the heart center all the way through the fingertips. Really big inhale.

Exhale, reverse. Reach it back, breathing into that side body. Let the inhale draw you back up and exhale, side angle. Again, any variation that serves. Do what feels best in your body.

Extending through that entire right side body, really long. One more breath. Inhale, float it up. Exhale, release. Hands to the earth.

Step it back and roll through. Downward facing, take a breath or two here. And again, inhale, right leg goes to the sky. Exhale, open the hip, bend the knee. Inhale, lengthen it up.

Exhale, right knee outside right elbow. Inhale, back up. Exhale, step it forward. Ground the back heel. Inhale, Warrior two.

Exhale, reverse your Warrior and then keep this, as you inhale, just lengthen that right leg, get really long through the side body. Take a breath or two. Try to keep that length. Inhale, float the torso up. Exhale, reach way, way out and then down, Trikonasana, triangle pose.

Reaching out through the fingertips, long through the spine. Really engaging through the legs. Couple more breaths. Then press through the feet. Inhale, drop back up into Warrior two.

As you exhale, take the hands down, step it back into plank pose. Pause here, root the right hand. Spin to the outer edge of the right foot for Vasisthasana. Left arms sails up to the sky. If that's enough, keep what you've got.

If you want to try lifting that left leg, or even grabbing the big toe, and extending the leg to the sky, feel free. One more breath. With the exhale, release into plank pose. Stay there, take a big inhale, strong core. As you exhale, Chaturanga, or go back to downward dog.

Inhale up. Exhale, back. Take a breath here. Inhale, left leg up. Exhale, open the hip and the knee.

Inhale, back up. Exhale, knee outside of the elbow. Inhale, rise. Exhale, step it forward. Root the back heel.

Inhale, right arm opens you, Warrior Two. Exhale, reverse again, take it back. Stay here, and inhale, lengthen the left leg. And feel that length in the side body. Strong through the legs, extending through the left fingertips.

Try to keep that length, as you inhale, come back up. And exhale, reach out and then down. Triangle second side. Place the left wherever it serves. Reach the right arm straight up.

Long through the spine. Sacrum drawing in towards the body. Few more breaths. And pressing through the feet. Inhale, come on back up.

Warrior two. As you exhale, release the hands to the earth. Step back into plank pose, and again, pause here. Root the left hand. Spin to the outer edge of the left foot for Vasisthasana, second side.

You're free to stay right here. Maybe lift the right leg a little. Maybe grab the big toe and extend that leg up towards the sky. With your exhale, release into plank. Pause, take a big inhale, strong core.

Exhale, lower. Inhale, up. Exhale, downward facing dog. Deep, full breath. Come on back to your center.

From here, with your next exhale, walk the hands to the back of the mat towards the feet and then grab the big toes with first two fingers and thumb. Inhale, lengthen and exhale, fold, Padangusthasana. Take a little weight forward into the front of the feet. Relax the neck and just move all that heat and energy you've generated into the entire back body. Then inhale, come halfway up.

Keep the grip of the right big toe with that right hand and exhale, just plant the left hand out in front and to the left of the left foot a little. Transfer the weight over to that left side, and inhale, pick up the right leg and reach it straight out to the right, or has high as you can. Breathing five, four, three, keep the spine long. Two. And exhale, release.

Take a breath. And second side. Plant the right fingertips. Grab that left big toe, first two fingers and thumb. Shift the weight over the right and inhale, lift the left leg out to the left.

Long through the spine. Press out through that left heel. Breathing five, four, three, two, exhale, release. Keep the feet right where they are. Just open them out a little bit.

Turn toes out, heels in. And sink the hips and the sit bones down to the earth for a simple Malasana. Hands come to prayer at the heart center. Tall through the spine. Lifting a little through the low belly.

Reconnecting with your foundation. Beginning to draw the energy back down towards the earth. Few more breaths. And then just release the hands to the earth. Drop the head, sail the hips to the sky, returning to your Uttanasana, standing forward fold.

Inhale, come halfway up. And exhale, walk yourself back to the front of the mat, returning to downward facing dog. Rest there, or through a Vinyasa together. Inhale, plank. Exhale, lower.

Inhale, lift the heart. Exhale, downward facing dog. As you're ready, inhale, take the right leg up and back. And with the exhale, draw the right knee and shin towards the front of the mat for pigeon. If you'd like any support underneath that right sit bone, please take the time to grab it.

And then once you're settled, inhale, lengthen up through the spine. And exhale, walk yourself all the way out and down. Pigeon pose. We'll be here for a full ten breaths, so really take your time. Directing the breath down into the hip and glute muscles, low back, sacrum.

Anywhere you feel resistance, guide the breath there. About three more breaths. And slowly inhale, walk the upper body back in and up. Let's keep the weight to the right and exhale, simply swing the left leg around for double pigeon, ankle to knees. So be mindful of the knees here.

You want to keep the feet flexed, protecting the knee joints. If this left knee is pretty far away from the right ankle, you can slide a block or a blanket between, make just a little hammock with the hands for support. If you're comfortable in the full expression of the pose, simply stay here, working with what you've got. Or inhale, reach the arms up. And exhale, fold forward.

Again, ten breaths. Take your time and just notice how the pose shifts simply by being here and breathing into any areas of contraction or resistance. Couple more breaths. And then slowly inhale, walk it back in and up. And we'll simply shift to the other side from here.

So lean back, unwind the legs, and take the right shin on top. Keep the feet flexed, legs engaged. Again, any support you need between that right knee and left ankle. And then you choose. You can simply stay tall, breathing into what you've got or inhale, arms up and exhale, fold forward.

Tens breaths right into the hips. Just another breath or two. And inhale, walk it back, in and up. Keep the weight to the left this time and exhale, swing that right leg back for pigeon, second side. Set it up mindfully, pad that left hip if you need to.

Then inhale, lengthen. And exhale, easing all the way out and down. Ten breaths. Two more breaths. And slowly inhale, walk it all the way back in and up.

And exhale, just draw that right leg forward. Let's take once last cleansing Vinyasa. Cross the ankles, plant the hands. Hop or step back and wash it all away. From downward facing, take a big inhale.

Exhale, soft bend in the knees. Come all the way through to sit. And then simple lie back. Draw the knees in towards the chest, rocking just for a moment. And as you're ready, plant the feet on the earth, just about hips distance.

Rest the arms alongside the body. We'll take one very gentle back bend. Pressing through the feet, scoop the tailbone, lift through the hips. If you have a block and you'd like to slide it under your sacrum, feel free. Otherwise, as is, or maybe clasp the hands, crawl the shoulders in and under.

And take your breath down through the heart, the belly, the hip flexors. The whole front body. With the next exhale, release, melting down. And returning to Supta Baddha Konasana. Soles of the feet together.

Knees drop open. Again, if you'd like any support under your thighs, feel free to get it. Then rest the right hand to the heart, left hand to the belly. Close the eyes. Move your awareness back down into your hips and the whole bowl of the pelvis.

Notice any changes since the opening of your practice. And again, meeting whatever arises with patience and compassion. Few more breaths. And draw the hands outside the thighs. Support the legs as they draw together.

And back in towards the chest. Arms wrap around, rocking gently. And returning to happy baby for a nice, sweet release through low back and the sacrum. Keep it neutral or let it rock a little. Again, you can play with lengthening the legs.

Whatever feels good here. Again, noticing any shift in energy through the hips. One more breath. And then a big inhale and exhale. Release.

Shavasana. Extending the legs all the way out and down, let 'em roll open. Rest the arms alongside the body. Palms face the sky. Move anything obstructing your heard or neck.

Just release it here. If you need any support in Shavasana, bolster a blanket under the knees or cover the body or the eyes. As comfortable as possible. And once the entire body is at rest, pause here, take a big inhale, hold that breath in at the top for a moment. And then open the mouth.

Exhale, let it go. And rest. As you relax the body, invite the mind to relax. Invite the heart to relax. Invite even the subtle energetic body to relax as well, allowing for the integration of your practice.

Gently bringing your awareness back to your body and your breath. If you have the time and space for a longer Shavasana, feel free to stay here. Otherwise, slowly on an inhale, reaching the arms up and over and extend out through the fingers and the toes. And on an exhale, bend the knees, feet to the earth and gently roll to the right and guide yourself all the way back up to a comfortable seat. And once you've arrived, let the eyes close again, rest the hands wherever they're comfortable.

And we'll take a moment of stillness here, transitioning from the practice into the rest of the day. So tall spine, soft through the shoulders and simply let your awareness follow the flow of your breath. And keeping the eyes closed, draw your hands to prayer at the heart center. We'll the close the practice together with the sound of Om. Energetically gathering up all that energy.

Your efforts, your intentions and offering them up and out for the benefit of all beings. Together big inhale, (singing) Om. (singing) Om. (singing) Om. (singing) Om.

And gently inhale. Soft fall forward with the exhale. Namaste. So thank you so much for sharing the practice. Again, if any of that deep hip work stirs up anything at all, meet it with a lot of spaciousness and ease, curiosity.

Enjoy the rest of your day. Thank you so much and Namaste.


Diana P
3 people like this.
I keep coming back to this one, I love how I feel during and after it! I do it before bed and it helps me destress from the day and sleep better, but I also feel so much more peaceful and centered the next day. And I loooove Rosemary's teaching style :)
Rosemary Garrison
Thanks Diana! And apologies for my delayed response- I'm still learning this system. ; ) With many blessings, R
Stefani N
1 person likes this.
I love this but wow are my hips so tight! I do have a question regarding pigeon pose....should I roll out on the hip/thigh of the bent leg, or is it more of a "splits" position where you keep the hips centered? THANK YOU! I love your style and relaxing voice!
Rosemary Garrison
Thanks, Stefani! So happy to hear it. Great question- yes, it's best if you can keep the hips centered in pigeon. So… grab a blanket, bolster, pillow- whatever you've got- and slide it under the glut/ sit bone of the front leg. This will help to open the glut/ hip muscles far more affectively than rolling out onto the thigh. You'll feel it! ; )
Millie D
1 person likes this.
Absolutely loved that class Rosemary!! Thank you so much for sharing. It was the perfect combination of challenging postures and ones you must give in and surrender to. Namaste xxx
Rosemary Garrison
Thanks, Millie, that means so much! I'm happy it's working for you. Another fun hip opener is coming soon… keep an eye out! Namaste. Xxo, R
Lindsay S
Fantastic practice. My hips have been so tight after having my first back by and that felt amazing! Will probably keep coming back to this one :)
Rosemary Garrison
Thanks, Lindsay! This is so good to hear. ; ) We have another hip opener coming in January as well- stay tuned if you love a good hip practice. Many blessings, R
Angel B
1 person likes this.
Hi from Texas! Rosemary, thank you so much for preparing and leading such a beautifully balanced flow for the hips. This has been part of my morning routine for the past week. Can't wait to try the rest. With Love, Angel
Rosemary Garrison
Hi Angel, thanks so much! I'm thrilled if it's helping. Another great hip focused practice is coming in January (along with many others). I hope you love it! Happy New Year and many blessings, R
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