Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Hip Opening Yoga Sequence

After nearly 4 straight months of morning sickness (more like all day sickness), I'm back in the yoga saddle! What a wonderful feeling. Today I thought I would share a sequence that focuses on ever important hip openers. This is great for all yoga practices, but is especially wonderful for expecting mamas.

If you are interested in other prenatal sequences, check out my Under the Weather Gentle Yoga Sequence (omit the last two reclining postures depending on what trimester you are in) or my Light Stretchy Yoga Sequence (modifying the twists to gently open away from the legs and omitting the reclining postures).

A few things to keep in mind during a prenatal practice are:
1) Creating and maintaining a lot of space for your little one (aka no intense folding, twisting, or squishing of the abdominal region).
2) Focusing on strong, steady breathing which reaches deep down into your abdomen. Your belly should expand during each inhalation, bringing lots of oxygen to both you and the baby.
3) Paying very close attention to your body and how each individual pose feels to you. It is much easier to overstretch muscles during pregnancy due to increased production of the hormone Relaxin.


*  Gentle Cat & Cow vinyasa: Start on your hands and knees, making sure your knees are directly below your hips and your shoulders are in line with your wrists. As you exhale, gently tuck your chin in toward your chest and round your spine up toward the ceiling into Cat. As you inhale, gently move into Cow by allow your stomach to sink down toward the floor and lifting your chest toward the ceiling. Flow slowly and evenly between Cat and Cow, following your breath.

Garland Pose: From your hands and knees, shift your weight back into a squatting position. Separate your thighs slightly wider than your torso. As you exhale, lean your torso forward and fit it snugly between your thighs, extending straight through your spine. Bring your palms together and press your elbows against your inner knees.

Low Lunge: Come back onto your hands and knees. As you exhale, step your right foot forward between your hands, aligning the right knee over the heel. Keeping your left knee on the floor, shift it back until you feel a comfortable stretch in your left front thigh and groin. Inhale and lift your torso upright, sweeping your arms up toward the ceiling. Cast your gaze up toward your fingers.

Extended Triangle: Release from Low Lunge and come up into a standing position with your feet about 3 ½ - 4 feet apart. Turn your left foot in slightly and your right foot out about 90 degrees, aligning the right and left heels. Raise your arms parallel to the floor. As you exhale, extend your torso out directly over the the right leg, bending from the hip joint, not the waist. Rest your right hand on your shin, ankle, or the floor. Stretch your left arm toward the ceiling, in line with the tops of your shoulders.

Wide Legged Forward Bend: Return to standing with your feet about 3 ½ - 4 feet apart, moving your feet so that they are parallel to each other. As you exhale, lean your torso forward from the hip joints. As your torso approaches parallel to the floor, press your fingertips onto the floor directly below your shoulders. Extend your elbows fully.
*  Gentile Forward Bend Open Twist: Remain in Wide Legged Forward Bend with both hands on the floor in front of you.  As you exhale, gently twist your chest open to the left.  Drop your right shoulder toward the floor and open your left shoulder toward the ceiling. If you are pregnant make sure your hips remain parallel to the floor, concentrating this twist in your upper back/chest to protect your abdomen.

Eagle Pose: Return to standing, bringing the feet about hip distance apart. Bend your knees slightly, lift your left foot and, balancing on your right foot, cross your left thigh over the right. Hook the top of the left foot behind the lower right calf, balancing on the right foot. Cross your arms in front of your torso, elbows bent, so that the right arm is above the left with your right elbow in the crook of the left. Your forearms should be perpendicular to the floor and the palms of your hands should be wrapped around so that they are facing one another.

Bound AngleRelease back to standing. Come into a comfortable seated position with your knees bent and dropped to the side, soles of your feet pressed together, and your heels in toward your pelvis. If your groin or hips are tight, raise your pelvis on a folded blanket.

One Legged King Pigeon: From Bound Angle, shift your weight and square your hips over your right knee. Slowly extend your left leg back, straightening the knee, and descending the front of the thigh to the floor. Position the right heel just in front of the left hip. The right knee can angle slightly to the right, outside the line of the hip. The left leg should extend directly out from the hip.

Wide Stance Child's Pose: Release from One Legged King Pigeon into a kneeling position. Touch your big toes together, sit on your heels, and separate your knees as wide as you can. As you exhale, lay your torso down comfortably between your thighs and extend your arms out in front of you.

** Repeat this sequence on the opposite side**


  1. Hey! I just stumbled upon your blog and I looove your yoga sequences! Loved seeing your baby bump pics too! Keep it up and congrats on the little one! xo

    1. Well aren't you sweet! Thank you so much :)


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