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Hatha Yoga Poses For Travel – Hip Openers

The hips are an extremely important area of the body. This region forms the intersection between the lower body and the spine, thus requiring both mobility and stability. Often neglected, especially in a society of long-duration sitting sessions, the hips tend to get very tight. If you notice yourself getting sore and tight after a long day at the office, just imagine how you’d feel after a plane trip across the world. In this article, I’ll discuss the benefits of a family of Hatha yoga poses: hip openers.

The hips, like any other muscle, get tight from being stagnant. Travel logistics such as long flights or train rides can be a nightmare for the hips. When you’re sitting, your hips are flexed, meaning that an angle is formed between the torso and thighs. This causes the hip flexor muscles (found on the front of the pelvis) to shorten and tighten, tipping the pelvic bowl and resulting in lower back pain.The benefits of hip opener postures are astounding. One of the main reasons that this family of Hatha yoga poses is so popular is because its benefits can be felt immediately. By lengthening and opening the muscles and connective tissues around the hips, the pelvis tilt is realigned. This can provide immediate relief and flexibility to the lower back. To add, loosening the hip muscles provides more space in the femur and pelvis joints, allowing for increased mobility while walking.

Aside from the physical benefits, hip openers also provide emotional release. The hips tend to hold anxiety and stress. An unfortunate side effect of travel, especially with long flights and layovers, is stress. The body and mind get fatigued worrying over timetables and TSA regulations. The first chance you get, take some time to do a few hip openers. You’ll be happy you did.

Luckily, there are many options of Hatha yoga poses that can help alleviate hip related issues. Some of the most popular and effective postures include lunges, warrior I (virabhadrasana), and bound angle (baddhakonasana). I’ll go over one of my favorites, pigeon (kapotasana).

To setup for pigeon, come to a table position. On the in-breath, slide the right knee forward between your hands. Begin to slide the left leg straight back behind you. Lowing your right buttock toward the floor, begin to bring your right heel in front of the left hip. For a more intense stretch, bring your right foot out further on the left side. Exhaling, extend up through the crown, hinging forward at the waist, lowering your torso towards the left knee. Begin to walk the hands forward, resting either on the forearms or surrendering completely to the posture, resting your head on the ground.

Pigeon is one of the most intense Hatha yoga poses. At first, the deep sensations can be a bit much. Stay present and breathe fully. As you let go in this posture, stress and tension release, providing much needed relief after long periods of travel.

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