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7 Vin and Yin Poses to Open the Hips

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When you think about water do you think about fluidity, movement, and liquid? Or do you think about stagnant and still?

The element of water is connected to the hips. For this practice, we will start with some circular motions, where the pose is fluid. And then as we move to the Yin poses, we will be still as we open the hips further.

1. Hip Circles – Begin in table top. With the hands under the shoulders and knees under the hips. Start to trace big circles with the hips, going to the left first. After a few rounds find a strong table top again. Then lift the left leg up. Start to trace big circles with the knee, opening it out to the side, forward, down and back.

2. Gate Pose – Step your left foot forward between the hands, coming into low lunge and pressing the hips forward and down. Lift up, bringing the hands to the hips. Bring your right toes to the left edge of your mat, opening to the long edge of your mat. Straighten the left leg, and turn the foot in. Bring the left hand on to the thigh, and right hand up to the sky. Take a side bend, sliding left hand down the leg and reaching right hand to the left side. Lifting back up, set the right hand down to the floor and reach the left hand up and over for a counter stretch.

Return to table top and repeat 1 and 2 on the other side.

3. Plank to Down Dog – Come to downward dog. As you inhale, lift up on to the toes and ripple forward in to plank. As you exhale, bend the knees and lift back up to down dog. Take a few rounds like this, in a circular motion. Then step forward to the front of your mat in Rag Doll fold. Bending your knees and clasping opposite elbows. Let your head be heavy as you sway side to side . Roll up to standing.

4. Star to Goddess Pose – Turn to face the long edge of the mat. Take the feet wide, turning the heels in and the toes out. Extend your arms overhead in Star Pose. Exhale, bending the knees and elbows as you sink down in to Goddess. Inhale rise, exhale sink. Keeping it fluid, melting the two poses together.

5. Warrior 2 Movement – From down dog, kick the left foot up and then step it through between the hands at the front of the mat. Spin the back heel down, lifting up and extending arms front to back. Bend in to the left knee in Warrior 2. As you inhale, straighten the legs and lift the arms up overhead. As you exhale, sink back in to Warrior 2. Moving in and out for several rounds.

Repeat on the other side.

6. Swan – From table top, bring the right knee behind the right wrist. Square the pelvis, finding the symmetry. Then take it deeper, folding down. Use any props to support yourself here. Holding on one side for 2-5 minutes. Then repeat on the other leg.

7. Butterfly Fold – Coming to a seat, bring the soles of the feet together as you drop the knees out to the sides. It’s up to you how close you bring the feet to the groin. Begin to passively fold down, by rounding the spine, turning the palms up, and letting the arms rest. You may opt to support the head with a block or props, or let gravity do the work.

Want to get in on a full 45 minute class centered around the Water Element and opening the hips? Check out the Vin to Yin class below.


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