Yoga for Hips - series post #2

The hips are complex joints that have the ability to make several different movements, and also have a great impact on the way our lower backs feel.  For this reason, the next pose in our Hip series is Crescent Lunge.  This superb pose strengthens, lengthens, and gives us a solid base to support our spine.

  1. Stand with your feet hip width apart and the space between the 2nd and 3rd toes facing forward.  Practice standing here with strong legs by slightly squeezing in about 2" above your ankles and squeezing out 2" above your knees.  This should distribute your weight more evenly over your feet.  Remember what it feels like to have that action in your legs.
  2.  Step back with one foot, both knees remain bent and the back heel is lifted.  You're not on a balance beam, make sure your feet are wide for stability.
  3. Notice your feet, press down evenly through the inner and outer feet.  Next, engage your legs again.  This means that the area 2 " above your ankles hug in slightly and the area just above your knees hugs out slightly.  Notice your front knee.  It should track over the ankle but not beyond.  Your front knee may want to hug in, don't let it, keep the area just above both knees pressing out.
  4.   Now that the legs are in place, extend the tailbone toward the back heel, and scoop the front sitting bone toward the front knee.  Both legs are staying engaged as described in step 3.
  5. Begin to straighten your back leg if you are able to do so while maintaining steps 3 & 4.  Otherwise, back knee can remain a little bent.
  6. Bring your arms over your head, and attempt to bring your shoulders over your hips.  Your pinkie fingers will face front.  
  7. Make your spine a little longer.  First, lift your front and back ribs away from your pelvis equally.  Lift your midspine by allowing your shoulder blades to lift toward your hands.  Lift the very top of your head toward the ceiling.

Hold this pose before repeating all of the steps on the other side.  You may want to start with 30 seconds, and work up to 2 minutes or beyond.  Try to keep all of the muscle action while taking long full breaths.  

Keep practicing Pose #1.  We'll keep building a hip practice as the weeks continue.

Namaste - Beth