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Hip stretches for an absolute beginner

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2020 9:01 am    Post subject: Hip stretches for an absolute beginner Reply with quote

Hello all,

Wishing you all a happy day.

I am seeking guidance on how to start my journey toward opening my hips. My goal is to simply be able to sit cross legged on the ground. Doesn't have to be a perfect lotus. Something like this would do: https://comps.canstockphoto.com/young-yogi-attractive-woman-in-half-stock-photos_csp46534737.jpg

Right now, I can do something like this:


If I sit and lay one knee on the ground, the other can stick up at a 45 degree angle from the ground, at best. Or, I can sit with the soles together and push both knees toward the ground with my elbows, in which case each knee is about a foot and a half away from the ground. Even doing this, I feel no stretch.

I search all over the place for a yoga exercise that I could start with, but it almost seems as though nothing exists for someone who is as inflexible as I. Every "beginner" video on Youtube etc. seems to start with pigeon pose or something that I cannot even get close to doing. Whenever I try to follow along and do something that even vaguely resembles what the instructor is showing, I feel absolutely nothing in the hips, and then I end up getting immensely frustrated and give up.

I would be grateful for a routine that I could adopt and stick with every day, but I am losing belief. I feel like I am so crippled at this point that nothing will make a difference. After becoming aware of how uncomfortable I have been for three decades I want to do something to change it but I feel like I am locked into my fate now.

Any advice would be greatly welcome.

Thank you
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Joined: 23 Sep 2006
Posts: 1130
Location: Vancouver

PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 1:01 am    Post subject: Why can't I get my knees to the floor? Reply with quote

There is a useful mantra I advise all yoga students to adopt: “What stops me?” (You can learn more about this here.) The answers are either tension or compression. If the answer is tension, then over time you may be able to work through this resistance and obtain greater range of motion. However, if the answer is compression, you may have reached the ultimate limits of what your body can achieve for that pose, in that direction. Trying to get more range of motion, when what stops you is compression, may lead to injury and frustration.

So, what is stopping you from getting your knees to the floor? If it is tension, felt in the inner groins, keep working. Postures like Butterfly and Straddle may help you. But if you are stopped by compression, a stuck feeling in the back of the hips, you may have reached your limits for this lifetime and you can practice now accepting that this is your unique, physical limit. (This is explained in depth in my book Your Body, Your Yoga.)

I hope this is helpful!
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