Bend It Like Bex Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 7

Deep in the Hips

35 min - Practice
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Bex leads us through a flowing standing sequence to warm and open our hips before introducing a creative pattern she calls "Balance Beam" to stretch the notorious IT band. We peak with Goddess Pose before dropping into some deep low lunges and yummy hip stretches, including Frog Pose. Your hips will feel loved and ready for anything.
What You'll Need: Mat

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(crashing waves) Welcome, I'm Bex and this is a sequence for unpacking the hips. So, we'll begin in a comfortable seated meditation. If sitting's not comfortable for you, you can recline. Close your eyes. As the eyes close, begin to deepen the quality of your breath.

See about softening the hinge of the jaw. Give the whole head permission to kind of slide back and lengthen up, as there's buoyancy in the sternum, so you feel very upright without tension. And then as you ground the sit bones down, see if it's possible to soften where the thigh bones come into the pelvis. So, let this guided awareness of your shape give you spaciousness in any area that tends to hold on. Any time a thought arrives and it distracts you from the breath or the sensations in the body, simply notice the thought and then if possible, return to the breath.

So in this seated practice, it's very brief and yet it can yield the benefit if you just take some time to hone in on that inner light that you can simply reclaim by just taking a pause. Then bring your hands to your heart center in prayer as you set an intention for this practice. It can be a motivation, dedication, mantra, or with the theme of releasing anything that's not serving you in the pelvis and the hips. Chin draws towards chest, heart rises. Inhale, open your eyes.

As you open your eyes, you come on to all fours. Come onto all fours and begin by just simply leaning forward and back and side to side and you might even notice that right away there's a little sweet spot that you'd want to hang out in. So, you go forward and back and you lean right and you maybe hold and breathe there and just feel what's happening, so that you can give yourself some time. Leaning to the left, breathe here. Then come back through center.

Pick your left leg up, flex the foot. It's like a little donkey kick and then you will simply stir the thigh bone, three times around and notice how it's gliding as you breathe and then you'll reverse, inhaling and exhaling. So the hands are pressing into the mat and the arms are like columns and that feedback goes all the way back in and just round your back when you're complete exhaling and then inhale, feel the length in the spine, shoulders release away from the ears and return to that neutral space. Lifting the right leg, flexing the foot, circle around, doesn't matter what direction you're inclined to go in. You just allow for that and breathe and after you've completed the rounds, you go the other direction and if you get four in there instead of three, that's fine.

I just noticed I did an extra one on that second side. And then release. Round the back, exhale. Inhale into extension. Flex the feet and send the hips up and back.

And so as you come into down dog, you'll pedal the feet. You let the feet pedal, maybe walk the hands forward, walk the feet back. Just begin to delight in waking up the body and breathing and feeling how the gentle self is ready to receive the practice. So a couple waves of rippling from down dog to plank, as you round, you'll just kinda loop the body forward. When the shoulders stack over the elbows and wrists, you can round and come back.

And let the breath be natural and organic, so maybe you find you're inhaling or exhaling one way or the other way or just tuning in even deeper from the ground force all the way up and through the bones. Inhale, lift the right leg up. Point and come onto the left big toe as you point the right foot and then flex and lower the left heel, and then simply cicle around the right foot, the leg in the air, three times and then the other way as well. Bend the knee, lift the thigh higher as you feel the foot drip over to the left side, lengthen through the left side as well. And then, quietly step the right foot forward.

Gaze forward, sit deeply into the outer right hip. Step the right leg back, inhale to the plank clearing and charging the legs. Exhale, downward-facing dog, feet come back together. Lift the left leg, point the left toes and you point the right foot, so you come up onto the right heel and then lower the right heel down and circle around the left ankle, the leg in the air, and go both directions please. And then you will bend the left knee, lengthen so the front of the hip gets a nice awareness of breath.

And then step the left knee forward, foot lands on the mat. Gaze forward. Step the right foot to join the left. Grab for an opposite elbow and fold into Uttanasana. Let the arms dangle.

Bend one knee then the other. Breathing here and then both knees bend, ripple up super slowly, chin to the chest as you come all the way up, reach the arms up and then thread the hands to the heart center in prayer. Close your eyes for a moment. Take this moment to just recalibrate and arrive in the body. Ground through the feet.

Reinfuse your intention, dedication, motivation. And then open the eyes. Inhale, the arms come up. Exhale, fold forward and down. Inhale, lift the chest, Ardha Uttanasana.

Exhale the right leg back, ease forward and then take the left leg back. You can hold the plank steady here or if you like, lower all the way to the floor, rolling the thigh bones in and taking a little cobra, inhale. Exhale, release. Sliding through child's pose if that pleases you or reversing the plank and coming back into downward-facing dog. Feet come together.

Inhaling and exhaling. Step the right foot forward, inhale, look forward. Step the left foot forward, and then exhale, fold. Inhale, come all the up breathing. Reach up.

Exhale, hands to the heart center in prayer. Inhale, lift up, reach up, look. Exhale, fold forward and down. Inhale, lengthen. Exhale the left leg back.

With the right leg leading here, pause for a moment and extend the arms. Reach and breathe. Exhale the hands to the floor. Take the right leg back. Inhale to the plank.

You have the option of going immediately into downward-facing dog or child's pose or slowly moving through, rolling over the toes, standing in the arms, taking upward-facing dog, downward-facing dog. If that doesn't excite you, you know you have low cobra or skipping it all together. Step the left foot forward. Extend the arms. Hover the chest over the thigh.

Lengthen through the skin and the back calf, the right leg. Place the hands down. Step the right foot forward. Inhale, lift the chest. Exhale, fold.

Inhale, come all the way up. Reach and stretch. Continue the flow now. Exhale, fold forward and down. Inhale, lift the chest.

Take the right leg back. Sit deeply into the left thigh. When you think, "I just did this side." You did just do this side. Lower the back knee to the mat and mostly straighten the left leg, folding in. If you wanna a little more, you can flex the left foot and climb the hands in closer and breathing here.

I prefer to have the back foot flexed, but if you like the toes down that's fine too. Bend the left knee, flex the right foot. Find your way into the plank and then do what excites you, either hold the plank to down dog or slowly cycle through Chaturanga, the yogi push-up, to low cobra or upward-facing dog to downward-facing dog. Then, step the right foot forward. Inhaling here and lower the back knee down, mostly straighten the right leg.

Flex the foot. Breathe here. Bend the right knee. Step the left foot forward. Inhale lift the chest.

Exhale, fold. Inhale, come all the way up, reaching, stretching and then exhale, hands to the heart center in prayer. Close the eyes. Deepen the quality of the breath. Open you eyes, bend your knees, fingertips touch the mat and bring your seat back for Utkatasana, fierce pose.

The arms come up framing the ears and then simply fold forward and down, Uttanasana. Inhale, lift the chest. You can step into the plank or hop into the low push-up, whatever you prefer. You come from the plank and then slowly exhale your way rolling over the toes, inahling upward-facing dog. Exhale, downward-facing dog.

Step the right foot forward, turn the left heel in. Inhale, come into warrior one. In warrior one, settle into the pelvis. Settle into the hips. Feel them descend as you lift through the center of the chest.

Breathing. Deepen the breath. Lift and spread the toes and then gently take the hands behind the back. As the hands come behind the back, fold. Let the head hang, right shoulder on the inside of the right knee.

If the neck feels like this is too much, you can move the head any way you prefer. Gently place the hands on the floor. Right leg back, plank pose, either skip the vinyasa and go into down dog or take a child's pose or cycle through. Step the left foot forward. Turn the right heel in.

Inhale, the arms come up, so you feel the connection from the feet all the way through the fingertips. The right ribs kinda slide forward as the left ribs slide back and the ears float back. Hands come behind you. This time, take the unfamiliar clasp, the clasp that feels like it might be somebody else's hand. Hang the head and the left shoulder on the inside.

Smooth the breath out. Hands down, left leg back. Move through anyway you like to down dog. I'm gonna take plank, Chaturanga, rolling over the toes, Urdhva Mukha, upward-facing, Adho Mukha, downward-facing. Now, step the right foot forward directly in front of the left as if you were going onto a balance beam.

Almost when you look back, the heel and the toes are aligned. The back heel is off the mat, so there's a good legs distance in between your feet. Fingertips are on the floor. Bend the right knee as you exhale, and then inhale, extend it. You'll get to find wonderful sensations through the outer right hip.

So you bend, and then you extend. One more time, bend and then extend. The hands are either tented fingertips of if it's available to you, you place the palms on the floor. Fold, breathing. Every once in a while, I like to self-assist and lift my right hand, put my thumb in the crease of my right hip, the front crease, and let my right fingertips move my right outer hip back.

Left leg is strong. Right hand down. Now, I'm going to step, as well as you. You're going to step the left foot, the back foot, forward into the right lane. So when you look down, it looks like your leg is on the wrong foot.

So, with the cross of the right foot in front, you'll simply forward fold with cross legs. Then, inhale, lift the chest. The right leg will go out to the right, like a dog at a fire hydrant. It might not lift as high as you think it will go. You just appreciate that it lifts 'cause you ask it to and then you exhale and it comes right back and you place the right foot in front of the left, crossing the legs.

It was so exciting, we'll do it two more times. Inhale, lift the right leg out to the right and then exhale, slide it right in front of the left. One more, out to the right, and then down. Ripple up very slowly. When you get all the way up, reach up.

Stretch up. Grab hold of the right wrist with the left hand and do an assisted side bend. Navel tethers to the spine and then inhale, come up. Exhale, release the arms down. Place the left foot down.

When you look down now, you'll recognize each leg. Inhale your arms up. Exhale, fold forward and down. Inhale, lift the chest. This time you'll simply step the left foot back.

I mean the right foot. I was confused. Step your right foot back so your left foot is leading. There's that same distance. You're on that balance beam.

Simply bend the left knee and then inhale, straighten. Bend, straighten. Bend, and then straight, and then fold. So as you fold, the breath will cascade through the body, pouring through. And then you can do the self-assist if you like.

The left thumb in the front crease of the left hip and the fingers on the outer rotators, smoothing the breath out, deepening that quality of breath here. Step the back foot forward and into the left lane. So when you look down, again now, there you have it. The left foot is in front. Fingertips on the mat, fold for a moment here.

Take the left leg out to the left when you inhale. And then exhale it comes forward and across. Appreciate all the sensations and see if you can just watch them and not label. Inhale, left leg out and then exhale, release. Inhale, left leg out.

Exhale, release. Fold here. Roll very, very slowly all the way up. Reach up. Grab hold of the left wrist with the right hand.

Arms frame ears and then let the body lean over to the right. Smooth the breath out. Inhale, come up. Exhale, release the arms, feet back into that space of right leg, left leg. Hands at your heart center in prayer.

Close the eyes. Steady yourself. Open your eyes. Inhale, breathe and reach up. Exhale, fold forward and down.

Inhale, lift the chest. Exhale, step to the plank or hop smoothly to the low push-up, rolling over the toes, low cobra or upward-facing dog, downward-facing dog. Step the right foot forward please. Come into warrior two. So as you come into warrior two, you settle right back into the feet.

Give yourself some guidance in the pelvis, maybe a little narrowing of the frontal points of the pelvis. So you reach out and look over that right shoulder. Then slowly sit deeper into the right thigh and reverse the warrior. Inhale, come up through center. Turn both your feet out and come into the goddess.

So as you come into the goddess, you let the knees stack over the ankles and the pelvis sits down just a little further. Hands can come into your heart center at prayer. And you wanna just notice that it's called the goddess for a reason, or the god, so the temple. You could sitter deeper into your inner temple and then just let your ears float back. And when it starts to awaken through the outer rotators, you just breathe deeper, grateful for this body, and you breathe deeper and you sit a little deeper till it gets very exciting in the pelvis.

Then, inhale, straighten the legs. Turn the left foot out. Right heel in and come into warrior two, leading with the left leg here. Gazing over the right shoulder to just make sure that that right arm is parallel to the floor and then the left. Breathe deep in and out.

And then simply reverse. The drishti, the focal point, could be down or to the side or up and then you sit a little deeper if that's available to you. Inhale up through warrior two. Straighten the left leg. Pivot on the heels.

This time as you pivot, you'll pivot all the way around and you'll come into lounge lizard. So, if the elbows feel like it's a struggle to get to the floor and you have something close that you want to lean on, block, blanket, feel free to do that. Otherwise, just find a comfortable place. And if there's struggle, you can feel the struggle in your face. I always think of it like this.

If my mat is my mirror, do I like what I see? So, if it pleases you, you can lower the back knee down. If not, keep it elevated and there's a little bit of that sense that maybe the right foot wants to turn out, allow for that. Take one more round of breath. Carefully, mindfully, come onto the hands and then, the left foot will step forward and you will sit deeply into the squat.

Ha, which is so lovely, and you lengthen and you find that space where you breathe. And you remember that in the deep blueprint of your mind and your body. This pose existed. If you don't believe me, go to the park and watch the children sit and talk and nobody, none of them look like they're struggling. They're joyfully squatting, so you find that joy in the pelvis and you unpack it whenever you can.

It's good for your digestion too. Place the hands on the floor. Mindfully, step the right leg back and then you'll be in the lounge lizard on this side. So you come onto the elbows and again, you can turn the foot out. The knee could be down.

I like to squeeze my left inner thigh a little bit toward my left shoulder. And then just smooth the breath out. In and out and whatever's coming up for you, just notice it. Sometimes, you're in the middle of a deep hip opener and you have a memory from third grade. And you just ask yourself, "Do I need that one?

"Is it serving me?" Come onto the hands, step the right foot forward. Super excited 'cause you get one more squat. Breathe here. Then, slowly hands behind you. You'll release and sit onto your bottom and as you come onto your bottom, you'll set yourself up for the figure four.

So, you will take your right foot over your left thigh, flexing the foot, lifting up through the chest. Keep a big flex in the foot and breathe here. Soft through the shoulders. Feeling those outer rotators just breathing as well with you and remember in these kind of shapes, the mantra is I'm here, I'm that, I'm truth. Not, boy, my hips are so tight.

Right, if anyone told you, you were tight all the time, would you wanna relax? I don't think so. So you just notice those nuances of thoughts. And then slowly you'll take that left heel outside your right hip and your right foot will come down, right hand behind you. Take your left elbow outside the right knee and gentle twist, Ardha Matsyendrasana.

So as you gently twist, notice if the sit bones are grounded and slowly begin to twist. Sometimes, there's a tendency to pull the neck and occasionally if you just relax and look toward your hand and move your torso, you'll find it yields a juicy benefit. Then slowly, gently release out of there. In between sides, we'll do Baddha Konasana, so bring the feet together. Inhale, sit up nice and tall and then exhale, fold forward and down.

Inhale, come up. Sit up, press the right foot down, left foot across. Inhale, lift your chest. Lengthen here. So you quiet and you breathe and you watch.

And then slowly, the right heel outside the left. If this is uncomfortable for you for any reason, you can keep the right leg straight and the left foot outside the right knee. Taking the left hand behind you, right elbow outside and twist and breathe. And so, sometimes it really does help to close the eyes and feel the rotation through the trunk. Twisting's so invigorating, rinsing.

Inhale, come back through center. Feet in Baddha Konasana. Lift the chest. Fold forward and down, exhale. Inhale, come all the way up.

Bring the knees into the chest. If your hips feel like that was delicious enough for them, you can take Savasana. Otherwise, you can go for the bonus pose, frog. Feet together. Knees really wide apart, right?

So they go so wide that go, is this possible? Sure! And then you come forward onto your elbows just as you did in your lizard and your feet come out and flex, just like you're in the temple, but you're on the floor. So you shimmy your knees nice and wide and then when you go, wow, there is some serious magic happening. You know you're in the right pose. So you could slide the pelvis back if the magic is not yet happening. And then there might be a moment where you feel like you've just picked the golden ticket for your pelvis.

So I remember the first time I learned this pose. We stayed in it for seven minutes. Because I'm so kind and I really want you to like me, we'll only be here for five more breaths. Coming out wants to be as graceful as going in, so slowly slide the hands back in. Bring the feet together and then slide the knees together and sit for a moment and just breathe.

Every pose has an after taste. Notice this one's. Go ahead and lie down. I'm certain you'll appreciate it. So as you lie down, take a deep breath inhaling and exhaling.

If you want to shake out the legs or shake out the arms, go ahead. Stretch the jaw one more time and the face and then eyes closed. You can always stay here as long as you like. The more time the better. Otherwise, wiggle your fingers and your toes.

Wriggle your wrists and your ankles. Please stretch the arms over the head. Rolling to the right side, knees come into the chest. Just be still for a moment. Slowly up to seated.

Hands at your heart center in prayer. Deep inhale. (chanting) May we have deep gratitude for all the blessings in our lives, seen and unseen. Namaste.

Comments

2 people like this.
did this right after 'clear and strong'... really enjoyed the gentle twist and squats in this class.
CW
2 people like this.
This was exactly what I needed today!
thanks, it is always great to unpack the hips...keep on moving! love love
4 people like this.
Rebecca...Your classes are incredibly insightful, adventurous, and inspire curiosity on and off the mat. Thank you so much for your sharing your wisdom and play! I look forward to more and plan to share with my classes:)
3 people like this.
What a sublime practice - love the spirit of this teacher. High fives, fist bumps, and Oms all around. Thank you!
1 person likes this.
Rebecca, I love love love your teaching style - funny, insightful, poetic even! I feel amazing after this practice. Thank you :)
1 person likes this.
That was amazing. Thank you.
1 person likes this.
Bex, THis class was great for my hips. Glad to be taking your class from my home in Alton Illinois! Hope to geet a class in Corte Madera in August! Thanks!
So happy to hear you all are moving and allowing spaciousness in the body!
lovelovelove
1 person likes this.
Sending you so much gratitude. Just finished Deep in your Hips sequence. My sacrum was out but now its back in baby!! Thank you.
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