Q: I've heard so much about hip-openers. Why are they good for me?
A: Hip-openers are some of the most requested asanas in my classes as they bring release in many areas that are tight and bring a sense of release across the board to many practitioners. What many students do not understand is that virtually our entire practice of yoga is a big hip-opening opportunity. There are over 20 muscles that cross the hip (the collection of inner thigh muscles known as the adductors, the collection of outer thigh muscles known as the abductors, the hip flexors in front, deep lateral rotators in back, and more), so any movement that stretches any of these muscles could be considered a "hip-opener." For this reason, we could argue almost every pose is effectively a "hip-opener."
Q: What are the specific benefits of hip-openers?
A: Tight hips affect everything from your ability to get into Wheel Pose to simply being able to pick up something off the floor. When hips are tight, they increase the load and cause overuse of the spine. In addition to the benefits of improved range of motion and circulation and decreased back pain, opening the hips can create an energetic shift or release as well. Yogic tradition holds the hips as a storage ground for negative feelings and pent-up emotions, especially ones related to control in our lives. Hip-opening can also create space for the birth of new ideas and new pathways. Opening the hips gives us access to freedom in the body and in our own unique expression -- creatively, physically, sexually, and spiritually.
Click here for a hip-opening sequence by Baron Baptiste.
Bethany Lyons is a powerful leader, creator, community builder and co-founder of Lyons Den Power Yoga, Manhattan's only Baptiste-style yoga studio. Bethany is a classically trained ballet dancer, Certified Baptiste Yoga Teacher and Master Instructor at SoulCycle. In co-founding Lyons Den Power Yoga, Bethany seeks to showcase the endless possibilities all around us and to show up in a big way for her students and in her life.