If you’re spending a lot of time outside this fall, particularly if you’re training for a long race or hiking, you’ll probably experience hip flexor tightness, which can lead to low back pain. The hip flexors are located at the top of your thighs and attach to the back of your pelvis. They are responsible for you being able to lift your knees, so work overtime during long runs or hikes. Lunges are great poses for athletes (and humans generally) to stretch out tight quads and hip flexors and prevent them from causing back problems. I also use lunges often in my yoga classes to help loosen up the hips for deeper stretching. I know it’s a big faux pas as a yoga teacher, but I don’t speak Sanskrit, so I’ll just refer to them as high and low lunge.
Start in down dog and step one foot forward. Lower the back knee and top of the foot. Keep the hips squared to the front and start to ease the front knee past the ankle. This pose is great for releasing the hip flexor on the front leg, and also helps stretch the ankle of the back foot if you keep the heel pointing straight up.
Take the low lunge into a quad and hip flexor stretch on the back leg by tucking the back toes and lifting the back knee. In high lunge make sure that the front knee stays directly over the ankle. Press the back heel firmly back to increase the stretch. Add in a stretch for the chest and shoulders by interlacing your fingers behind your lower back.
Watch the video below for more info!
For more moves great for tight hips, check out these workshops at Mind the Mat, coming up this weekend!
Hip Opening Workshop:
Learn how to open up your hips safely to sit in lotus pose with ease on Saturday September 19 with Naomi Gottlieb-Miller. Click here for more info.
Yoga for Athletes:
Olivia Sheldon, an amazing and experienced yoga teacher in Alexandria, is holding a workshop focused on yoga for athletes this Sunday from 1 – 3p. Increase your overall flexibility, improve your stability and agility, and learn valuable poses that help reduce the risk of injuries. This workshop is designed to enhance all other forms of exercise and athletic endeavors and give you an edge. ALL Levels Welcome, Athletes-at-Heart Encouraged.
Click here for more info.