I was very fortunate this past summer to have an incredibly free schedule which meant lots of yoga and freedom to move my body. Now that school is back in session, sitting for many hours a day has begun to take a toll on my body. Even though my school schedule affords me a good deal of flexibility, I still need a little extra stretch here and there to keep my muscles and joints feeling great!
Tip! Sitting for any length of time, creates undo stress on the body. Do your body a favor and set a reminder on your cell phone or work computer to get up and take a stretch every now and then. You’ll not only feel better, but, your body will thank you!
Lately, I’ve been exploring hip opening poses in my yoga practice. As individuals, we tend to hold our stresses within our hips, causing them to feel tight and uncomfortable. The goddess pose (or Utkata Konasana) gently helps to open our hips and chest, releasing muscle tension, and, as an added bonus, strengthens and tones the lower body. While hip openers can feel extremely challenging while holding them, they also provide us with a great sense of satisfaction upon completion.
Here’s how to do the goddess pose, which in English translates to fierce angle pose.
Stand with your feet roughly 3 feet apart and turned out toward the corners of your mat. Bend your elbows to shoulder height, palms facing forward. Gently exhale, look straight ahead and begin to squat, bending the knees over the toes. Begin to press your hips forward and the knees back. Drop your shoulders, sliding the shoulder blades down your back and together, keeping your arms active and engaged. Hold this pose for 3 to 5 good honest breaths. To move out of goddess, upon inhalation, straighten the legs, reach fingertips to the ceiling, and exhale arms to the side. Fierce, right!
What are some of your favorite hip opening exercises?