As the New Year approaches, we may find ourselves writing out or thinking about our New Year’s resolutions, intentions, or goals for 2019. With this sometimes comes the feeling of failure as we reflect on our lofty 2018 resolutions and how, perhaps, we did not achieve them. I offer this yoga practice as a way to release the emotions that may come with meditating on our intentions for 2019. I chose a hip opener sequence for the New Year as hips are very interesting in that they store many emotions from fear to sadness to anxiety. One explanation for this is the positions we retreat to for safety when we respond to fear or sadness. A common response is protecting ourselves by pulling our knees to our chest or through fetal position. As we move through the following hip opener sequence I encourage you to take deep breaths and be aware that you may start feeling emotional as your hips begin to release.
We’ll begin in Downward Dog, walking out the feet, switching the weight and perhaps leaning into one hip and then the other. After five deep breaths move through a Vinyasa. As we meet back in
Downward Dog, we’ll lift our right leg to the sky circling it Clockwise for two breaths and then Counter Clockwise for two more breaths. Repeat with your left leg as we start to warm up our hips. As we meet back in Downward Dog, we’ll lift our right leg and bring it through to the front of our mat for Warrior II. Your right foot is turned out so your toes are pointing to the front of the mat, while your left foot is slightly pivoted inwards. Your arms are strong and stretching in both directions as your hips stay in one line and you breathe into the expansiveness. After five breaths here cartwheel your hands to frame your right leg and slowly bring your right foot back to meet your left in plank. On your next exhale move back to Downward Dog and lift your left leg, bringing it forward to Warrior II.
After five breaths
Pivot your left leg forward so both feet are parallel in a wide-legged stance. Clasp your hands behind your back and hinge forward into a wide-legged forward bend. You can remain still here or move back and forth bending each leg, whatever you need to continue to feel the hips open. On your fifth breath slowly rise and take a breath while standing as you turn your feet our slowly. We’ll move into Malasana or Garland Pose, squatting and keeping the heels on the ground as your palms touch in prayer and your elbows press slightly against your inner knees encouraging them to open. Stay here for five breaths and then we’ll meet back in Downward Dog. Walk out your feet once again.
On your next inhale
Raise your right leg and bring it forward for Pigeon Pose. The right knee is forward on the floor with the shin diagonal while the left leg is straight behind, rolling inward. A block under your right hip bone could help facilitate keeping your hips square. Slowly then bend forward, extending your arms while breathing and trying to relax into this intense stretch. Stay here breathing deeply for two minutes. When you are ready, slowly rise up and move to Downward Dog. You may lift your right leg, drawing circles and then feel the difference as you take a breath in Downward Dog. Lift your left leg and bring it forward to Pigeon, noticing that this hip could be different than the previous and making the correct modifications with a block to keep the hips square.
We’ll end this hip opener sequence laying on your back in Supta Baddha Konasana, Press the soles of your feet together, bend your knees and draw them towards your pelvis as your knees drop open. Relax here, and take deep breaths as you meditate on how you feel after this yoga practice.
This year I encourage you to create New Year’s resolutions that are attainable. For example, instead of practicing yoga every day, practice once a week. Or maybe you can’t make it to a class so you practice this sequence at home or in the park when you have the time. Or perhaps you allocate one week in the year to dive into a magical yoga retreat. However it may look into your life, I hope you enjoy this hip opener sequence as a small way to begin starting fresh this New Year. May we all have a happy and healthy 2019!