It may not be the safest idea for an expectant momma to train for an ultra-marathon, race through the lake waterskiing, or hit the trails mountain biking, but she can and should still do moderate exercise. During my pregnancy, prenatal yoga was my saving grace. It strengthened my muscles, increased flexibility and balance (which I lost as my belly grew), and helped me mentally and physically prepare for labor. I've already led you through a sequence to open tight hips and hamstrings, and here's another one that will stretch your hips and back, which should alleviate some of the lower back or pelvic pain many pregos complain of.
As someone who runs, bikes, and sits at a desk all day, my hips can always use a little extra love. If you suffer from tight hips and hip flexors, give this relaxing pose a try. Like Pigeon, it's a pose you can spend minutes in and allow gravity to further increase your flexibility.
|Sanskrit Name: Utthan Pristhasana|
English Translation: Lizard Pose
- Begin in Downward Facing Dog. Step your right foot forward between your palms keeping your hands on the floor.
- Lower your left knee to the floor, and release your elbows to the floor as well. Either rest your hands palms facing down on the mat, or bring your hands together in prayer position.
- Continue to squeeze your right knee toward your body and keep your gaze in front of you to encourage your hips to lower toward the floor.
- Stay here for at least five breaths. Then come back onto your hands. Tuck your back toes and step your right leg back. Take a vinyasa and step your left foot forward to do this pose on the other side.
I like to add this pose into my sun salutations, after the third or fourth round, when my body is warm and ready for a deeper opening of the hips.
Blue skies and a warm breeze totally motivate me to exercise outdoors, so I've been doing lots of running, biking, and hiking. My muscles are becoming stronger, but they're also getting tighter, especially my hips. If you're in need of a good hip stretch, give this Pigeon variation a try. Bending your bottom knee next to your thigh intensifies this stretch so you also feel it in your quad, shin, and the top of your foot.
To learn an easier modification, read more
I feel quite regal in a Warrior 1 pose while really working my quads, but the Humble Warrior is possibly one of my favorite yoga poses ever. This variation of the classic pose is an intense stretch for the hips, chest, and shoulders. So much to love . . .
|Sanskrit Name: Baddha Virabhadrasana|
English Translation: Bound Warrior Pose
Also Called: Humble Warrior
If you want to see a more advanced version of this pose then read more
Tight hips are a common complaint among active people, especially those who run, ski, or bike. Pigeon and Double Pigeon are two of my favorite stretches for opening up my hips and stretching my glutes. If you're looking for a new variation to add to your stretching routine, give this one a whirl.
- Sit on the floor and bend your left knee so it is parallel with your tummy.
- Bend your right knee and place it on top, so your ankles and knees are stacked, and your shins are parallel. You'll know you're doing it right when you gaze down and see that your legs make a little triangle.
- You may find your top knee to be way high up toward the ceiling — it's OK, it just means that your hips are tight. Working on this stretch will help to open those tight hips.
- Place your hands in front of your shins and walk them toward the right so both hands are beside your right thigh. If you're flexible, lower your forearms to the floor. To increase the twist, lift your right arm into the air and gaze at your palm while pressing your left elbow against your right knee.
- After 30 seconds or so, place your right hand on the floor, walk your hands back to the center, and walk them all the way over to the left side. To increase the stretch, raise your left arm in the air and gaze upward.
- Walk your hands back to center when you're ready and then sit up. Straighten both legs out in front of you. Then do Double Pigeon with the right leg on the bottom, and repeat walking your hands first to the left, and then to the right.
Why is it that so many of the things we do daily like sitting at a desk, running, biking, and walking make our hips so tight? I combat this daily tightness by doing stretches like Butterfly or the even more relaxing Supported Sleeping Butterfly that both open my tight hips. I also like the yoga position descriptively titled Head to Knee, but my favorite hip opener is Pigeon. Here's another variation on the yoga pose, so add this stretch your routine.
Music: "Diana," by Troika
To learn how to do this hip stretch read more
Between sitting, running, biking, or driving a long commute, most of us suffer from tight hips. The seated T-hip stretch lengthens tight glutes as it opens the hips. It is a more intense variation of Double Pigeon, so ease into this move.
- Sit on the floor with both legs out in front of you. Bend your left knee so it's parallel with your torso. Then bend your right knee and place it on top of your left ankle (and your right ankle on top of your left knee), coming into Double Pigeon.
- Now use your hands to help wiggle your feet away from each other, keeping your shins in one straight line, and making a T-shape with your legs. Flex your feet, lean forward, and press your palms into the inside of your ankles.
- Hold there for at least 30 seconds and then release. Then straighten your legs out in front of you and do this pose with your right knee on the bottom.