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Tag Archives: vinyasa sequences

Yoga and Your Hips, Part III

Before we get to the post, a quick, shameless plug for my upcoming trainings. You can join me live at my 500-Hour Yoga Teacher Training in San Francisco, London, or Hong Kong. I also have three separate online teacher trainings, focusing on arm balances & inversions, sequencing, or anatomy.

These are, hands down, my 15 favorite hip opening yoga poses.

Creating a balanced, effective hip-opening sequence is simple if you know how the hip muscles are laid out. When you don’t have for a map for their hips, you’re at a higher risk for overstretching your hamstrings and external rotators compared to your hip flexors and adductors. Teachers make this mistake in their sequencing regularly and, as a result, hamstring insertion injuries are one of the most prevalent injuries in modern yoga.

If you haven’t read them already, start with Yoga and Your Hips, Part I and Part II . The model of the “5 Muscular Compartments of Your Hips” in Parts I & II is the same approach that I take when I teach anatomy live and online. (And If you want to learn even more about yoga anatomy and yoga sequencing, you can join me in my yoga anatomy course or yoga sequencing course.)

The sequence here contains my three of favorite postures for each compartment of your hip. I practice this sequence several times a week and I still love the feeling of space and mobility it gives me. I hope it helps you feel good in your body, too!

One quick thing before the sequence breakdown: If you’d like to be among the first to know about our new posts, sign up for our newsletter. As a thank you, we’ll send you a free arm balance guide, plus 5 sequences that are not on the blog!

15 Hip Opening Yoga Poses

Hip Compartment #1: Hip Flexors

Pose 1: Anjaneyasana
Keep your back thigh vertical here. Why? Because keeping your back thigh vertical and stacking your pelvis and spine directly over your thigh helps stretch your quadriceps and hip flexors.

Pose 2: Anjaneyasana
Lower your hips forward and down to isolate and stretch your hip flexors, especially your rectus femoris.

Pose 3: Anjaneyasana
Leaning into the side bend from Anjaneyasana helps stretch your obliques and quadratus lumborum along with your hip flexors.

Hip Compartment #2: Adductors

Pose 1: Malasana
Malasana provides a thorough, inner leg stretch while also flexing the knees and hips deeply.

Pose 2: Prasarita Padottanasana with bent knee
Bending one knee and pressing your forearm against your thigh allows you to create a deep, sustained stretch on the entire adductor group.

Pose 3: Bound Side Angle
The action of binding in this posture provides you with a shoulder opener in addition to the adductor stretch.

Hip Compartment #3: Hamstrings

Pose 1: Parsvottanasana
This foundational standing pose allows you to focus on stretching one set of hamstrings at a time. This may be more effective for students with tight hamstrings than stretching both sets of hamstrings at time like you do in Uttanasana.

Pose 2: Prasarita Padottanasana
In addition to stretching your hamstrings, this pose also stretches your adductors.

Pose 3: Standing Split / Warrior III Hybrid
While similar to Parsvottanasana, this one-legged standing posture provides a deep, isolated hamstring stretch.

Hip Compartment #4: External Rotators

Pose 1: Pigeon Pose
This bittersweet posture uses the weight of your entire body to stretch your external rotators.

Pose 2: Ankle-to-Knee
Placing one ankle on the opposite inner knee externally rotates your thighs even more deeply than Pigeon Pose.

Pose 3: Reclined Pigeon
Clasping your leg and reclining in Pigeon Pose stretches your glutes, external rotators, and abductors.

Hip Compartment #5: Abductors

Pose 1: Reclined Gomukhasana
Reclining in Gomukhasana allows your entire body to relax and settle, while providing you with a deep abductor stretch.

Pose 2: Gomukhasana
This classic seated posture provides efficient leverage for opening your abductors.

Pose 3: Gomukhasana with sidebend
Including a sidebend in this posture gives you a deep abductor stretch while also releasing tension in your obliques and quadratus lumborum.

15 Hip Opening Yoga Poses | Jason Crandell Yoga Method

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30-Minute Morning Sequence

30 Minute Morning Yoga Sequence | Jason Crandell Vinyasa Yoga Method

Practicing first thing in the morning has never been easy for me. But, I’ve adapted to the early hours by creating a simple, brief sequence that slowly eases my body open. It’s illustrated above. In fact, doing a mellow practice in the morning is something I’ve started looking forward to—and, yes, I usually savor a cup of coffee prior to the first pose, or along with the sequence. Call the yoga police if you must. If I want to do a more demanding practice—which I usually save for the afternoon—I can easily use the sequence above as template. Once I get my body moving and generate some momentum, I can insert more challenging postures or include some demanding standing pose combinations.

This sequence is simple, balanced, and brief since it’s designed to help you be consistent with your practice in the new year. You’ll start in Child’s Pose to release tension in your back before transitioning into a simple twist and forward bend. I start 99% of my home practices this way.

You will pick up intensity once you get into Down Dog and do both sides of Lunging Quad Stretch. Linger over these poses as long as you like. While you’re doing these postures, establish a long, slow breathing cadence. From there, you can insert any style of Sun Salutation you want to practice at this phase of the sequence. Do between 3-10 rounds. (Check out this infographic for Sun Salutation A and Sun Salutation B, if you need more info about Sun Salutations.)

Poses 7-10 are a straightforward combination of standing poses that will strengthen your legs, open your hips, and condition your entire body. If you want to include additional standing poses or sneak a few arm balances into your sequence, this is where they should go.

The sequence concludes with a mild backbend, a neutral posture, and seated meditation. You’re welcome to intensify your backbends by including Bow Pose (Dhanurasana) or Upward Bow aka Wheel Pose. (You can go here for a tutorial on Upward Bow.

And if you sign up for our newsletter, we’ll send you a free downloadable PDF of the sequence above. Make sure to print it out and get as many coffee marks on it as want. Enjoy.

6 TIPS FOR LAUNCHING A SUCCESSFUL HOME YOGA PRACTICE IN THE NEW YEAR!

The most important thing about practicing this time of year is to be consistent about getting on your mat. Sequence, duration, and intensity matter less than the habit of practicing. In my experience, students who fail to launch a consistent home practice do so for three reasons:

1. Their expectations and practice are overly ambitious given their time constraints and competing demands.

2. They try to do too many postures and make their practice overly intense.

3. They expect their home practice to feel the exact same as their favorite yoga class. When home practice doesn’t feel the exact same, they throw in the towel.

If your resolution for the New Year is to practice more consistently at home, try avoiding these pitfalls and including the following three keys to success for launching a home practice:

4. Focus on postures you love. Practice them frequently and shamelessly.

5. Focus on brief, sustainable practices that you look forward to returning to time and time again.

6. Once you’ve established a consistent home practice, scale up your intensity and focus on postures that are challenging for you.

{illustrations by MCKIBILLO}

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