slo yogafest

Today I’m teaching a hip opener class at the SLO Yogafest.  I thought I would document what I do here in case someone needs a reminder later.  Yummy hip openers indeed.  Hip openers are some of the most challenging stretches you can do because the hips aren’t stretched in any of our day to day activities.  Yet, they are the most rewarding by releasing low back pain, knee discomfort, sciatica, and improving blood flow to the lumbar spine, intestines, and reproductive organs.  The hips are also the emotional storehouse of the body.  They house a good portion of your tension and stress and as you start releasing the pelvis and softening that tissue the rest of your body effortlessly shifts into natural alignment.  It’s amazing how opening the hips will help resolve old aches and pains everywhere else in your body, from your neck, back, to your knees and ankles.  If you need details on any of these poses check out this Tight Hip Anonymous sequence.  It links to detailed photos and descriptions of each pose.

Childs pose with knees wide
Downward facing dog
Rag doll
Chair to 1 legged chair with hands to floor
Other side
Take it to the floor
1/2 pigeon
1/2 pigeon with back leg pulsation
Double pigeon
One legged forward stretch
One legged forward stretch with side opener
Wide legged forward fold
Other side
If time and mojo is right, do wide legged forward fold second time with friend
Paschimotanasana forward fold
Frog?

Oh, I almost forgot to include notes from Amy Swanson’s class on Funamentals of Vinyasa Yoga.  I loved it.

  • Vinyasa actually means breath, although we refer to the middle sequence in Sun Salutations the “high push up, low push up, upward facing dog, downward facing dog” as a connecting Vinyasa.  The Connecting Vinyasa is like wiping the slate clean, giving your body a fresh start for moving forward to the next postures.
  • Halfway lift should be onto fingertips if in uttasana you can align your fingertips with your toes.  Otherwise your hands should be on your shins.  You should also have  a bit of a back bend in your halfway lift to help the shoulder blades get into place and set up your chaturanga correctly.
  • Balls of feet.  You should be on the balls of your feet when you step back into high pushup not just on your toes.
  • Quads. They should be engaged, lifted, and strong in high push up, with the inner thighs spinning inward and up.
  • Shoulder Blades.  Should be moving down your back toward your buttocks as they were in halfway lift.
  • Tops of Shoulders should not drop as you lower.  You should only go so low that your biceps are parallel with the ground and your elbows at right angles and pause.  You have to make a conscious effort not to let the top of the shoulders drop even if you can keep the rest of your arms in alignment.
  • Your hands should be gripping the mat and pulling you forward.
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