Relieve pain and stress with these simple poses from Radiant Yoga, which just opened a new studio in Town Center Crossing.
“We are a culture that sits a lot, and sitting a lot causes tightness in our hips,” says Radiant Yoga owner Angie Eckenroth. “We are also a culture that carries around a lot of stress, and for a lot of us we carry stress in our hips.”
A common cause of lower back pain is tight hips, so a lot of times when we are dealing with lower back pain it’s actually our hips causing the pain, she explains. That’s why it’s important to keep our hips healthy, especially for those of us who are runners or bicyclists, two sports where tight hips are a common occurrence.
For some easy relief, Eckenroth suggests trying these poses:
Standing Straddle Splits (Prasarita Padottanasana)- Stand with your legs 4 1/2 to 5 feet apart. Point your big toes slightly towards each other. Place your hands on your hips. Inhale and stand up tall. As you exhale bend forward and place your hands on the ground, walking your hands back so that your fingertips are in alignment with your toes. Then relax the head and the upper body, drawing the top of the head towards the floor.
High Lunge (Alanasana)- Begin standing. Fold forward at the hips and put your hands on the ground. Step the left foot back into a lunge, keeping the leg straight. Lift your torso up and bring your hands to your hips. Press down with your right foot. Square your hips with the front and stretch your arms up overhead right along side your ears, shoulder width distance apart. Hold for 5-10 breath cycles. (One cycle is an inhalation and exhalation.) Repeat these steps on other side.
For people who are still working on balance, modify this pose by grounding the back knee into a kneeling lunge.
Lizard (Utthan Pristhasana)- From a kneeling lunge, take both hands to the inside of the foot. Slide the back knee back as far it will go. Flatten the back foot while pressing the big toe firmly into the ground. Sink the hips down towards the earth, pressing your hands into the ground. For a deeper sensation in the hips, lower down to your forearms.
Pigeon (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)- From lunge or kneeling lunge, walk the foot to the opposite side of the mat so you are crossing the shinbone in front of the hips. For tighter hips, keep the heel closer to the pelvis. Lengthen out through the back leg and make sure the back leg is aligned directly behind the hip. The hipbones should stay facing forward. For a deeper sensation, walk the hands forward and fold forward over the front leg.
If you have knee pain in this pose, try the “pigeon against the wall” pose below.
Pigeon Against the Wall- Begin in a reclining position with your legs extended up the wall. Keeping the sits bones (buttocks) against the wall, cross the left ankle over the right leg. Start sliding the left ankle down past the right knee and if the ankle will not go past the knee, keep the ankle above the knee and on the shinbone. If the ankle is below the knee, then begin to bend the knee keeping the sole of the foot flat on the wall until you feel a deep stretch in the left hip. Keep the left foot flexed and the tailbone on the floor. Repeat these steps on the other side.
Cobbler’s Pose (Baddha Konasana)- From a seated position, bring the soles of the feet together and let the knees fall open towards the floor. Wrap your hands around the ankles. Sit up straight to maintain a nice long spine. For a deeper sensation you can fold forward over the legs.
For more from Radiant Yoga visit their studios in Overland Park or Leawood, which offer a wide variety of yoga classes, including beginners, Vinyasa, Slow Flow, Mixed-Level, Indo Board and Hot Yoga, as well as yoga-related workshops, or get more information online at radiantyogakc.com.