Get Into Your Groins

Use this sequence of yoga poses to open and stretch your groins.
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Use this sequence of yoga poses to open and stretch your groins.
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My dictionary notes that the English word groin "perhaps" derives from the Old English grynde, which means "hollow." The groins are indeed hollows, located at the junctions between the thighs and pelvis. For the purposes of yoga instruction (though this is not technically correct according to anatomy textbooks), we can distinguish between the front groins and the inner groins. The front groins refer to the creases running from the hip points (the two little bony knobs a few inches to either side of the navel) diagonally down and into the pubic bone (the front bottom of the pelvis), which together form a "V" shape. The inner groins extend from the creases between the inner thighs and the perineum (the fleshy base of the pelvis). Any groin sequence should work with both these pairs of groins.

Groin Sequence

Total time: 45 to 55 minutes

The groin sequence begins with three reclining (supta) poses.

  1. Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose)
    Start in Supta Baddha Konasana with the back of your pelvis flat on the floor. Then after a minute or so, place a block underneath your sacrum. You will eventually place the block at its highest height, but the sensation is too intense, you can lower it. (Total time: two to three minutes)
  • Supta Virasana (Reclining Hero Pose)
    If you can't recline comfortably on the floor, make sure that your back torso is well-supported on a bolster. Place a heavy sandbag on the front groin of the bent leg, right over the head of the thighbone. Keep each leg in position for two to three minutes. (Total time: four to six minutes)

Alternative: If Supta Virasana is painful for your knees, review the instructions in our Poses section. If you still find the pose uncomfortable, take a low lunge at the wall as follows: Start by facing the wall. Place your right big toe at the wall and slide your left knee back into a low lunge. (The top of your left foot and left knee will rest on the floor.) Press your hands into the wall for support. Repeat on the other side.

  • Supta Padangustasana (Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose)
    Hold each leg vertical for one to two minutes, then open the leg out to the side (resting the outer thigh on a block) for the same length of time. (Total time: four to eight minutes)
  • Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose)
    Stay in the pose for one minute. Then step the right leg forward into the leg position for Eka Pada Rajakapotasana.
  • Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (One-Legged King Pigeon Pose)
    Lay your torso down on the inner front thigh for one to two minutes. Then step lightly back into Adho Mukha Svanasana, hold for 30 seconds, and repeat with the left leg forward for the same length of time. (Total time of steps four and five: five to seven minutes)
  • Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend) with a variation
    With the legs wide, bend your right knee and shift your torso to the right, snugging it against the inner thigh. Keep the left leg strong, pressing the inner thigh out to the left. Hold for one minute. Inhale back to center, then repeat to the left for the same length of time. Finally, perform the full pose for two minutes. (Total time: four minutes)
  • Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)
    Perform with the bottom arm pressing against the inner thigh. Hold each side for one to two minutes. (Total time: two to four minutes)
  • Vrksasana (Tree Pose)
    Hold each side for minute. (Total time: two minutes)
  • Upavistha Konasana (Wide Angle Seated Forward Bend) with a variation
    First twist to the right for one minute, then to the left for the same length of time. Return to center and fold forward for one to three minutes. (Total time: three to five minutes)
  • Janu Sirsasana (Head-to-Knee Pose)
    Fold forward for two minutes on each side. (Total time: four minutes)
  • Malasana (Garland Pose)
    (Total time: two minutes)
  • Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)
    Place a block underneath your sacrum for support. (Total time: two to three minutes)
  • Salamba Sarvangasana (Supported Shoulderstand) with a variation
    Come into Shoulderstand and then bend the knees and press the soles of the feet together in Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose). (Total time: three minutes)
  • Savasana (Corpse Pose)
    (Total time: 10 minutes)