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Don’t Get Bent Out of Shape — Open Your Hips!

Posted By Jill Miller On December 19, 2011 @ 4:27 pm In Fitness, Health & Wellness, Healthy Aging, Yoga | Comments Disabled

Bent out of shape [1]Few things outrage me more than bad posture. I get really bent out of shape when I see people who are literally bent out of shape. It is so simple to improve your posture [2], and it is totally free and requires no gym membership.

Here are some Don’ts:

1. Don’t lean into one hip and cock it off to one side.

2. Don’t slump your spine like a willow tree.

3. Don’t emulate the posture of Paris Hilton.

Here are some Do’s:

1. Stand up straight.

2. Point your toes forward.

3. Have some respect for your own structure.

Okay, good, glad I got that off my chest.

Why is bad posture bad for you?

The reason your posture hurts my feelings, and yours, is because poor posture creates significant changes over time in the soft tissues of the body – its muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia – as well as the hard tissues like bone, cartilage and discs.

The short form equation is this: Bad Posture + Time = Degeneration and Pain [3]

The new normal?

Before this blog becomes too full of scolding, I also want to acknowledge that, for many people, their bodies have become so used to poor postural habits that walking the “straight and narrow” can actually be very uncomfortable and challenging to maintain as a “new normal” in their bodies. This is where corrective exercises like Yoga Tune Up® [4] play a role on helping the body to lengthen the tissues [5] that have become locked into an unhelpful holding pattern, or to strengthen tissues that are weak [6] and unsupportive.

There are about a zillion different exercises that you can do to retrofit your body from inside out, but improving your posture can be dramatically affected by going after the largest joints in your body: the hips.

Help your hips in 6-12 minutes

The tissues of the hips and pelvis are a postural roundabout between the legs and feet below them and the spine above them. Improving the hips’ mobility and stability [7] will directly impact the whole body, and your basic upright posture will be a bit more uplifted and balanced. And it can be done in just a few minutes per day!

Do this Leg Stretch Series on a block 3-4 times weekly (up to six times per week if you are extra active) and you will see a significant difference.

1. You will need a yoga block [8], a strap [9] and a wall.

2. It is also helpful to have a timer [10] so that you can time your holds. Hold each pose for the exact amount of time. Time your poses anywhere between 45 seconds and 2 minutes.

3. Breathe deeply and consistently throughout.

Leg Stretch #1

  • [11]Prop your pelvis on a yoga block and firmly place right foot on wall with toes pointing skyward.
  • Wrap the fingers around the left big toe, or wrap a strap around the left foot’s instep while straightening the back of the left knee.
  • Feel stretching in two places at once: the back of the left thigh (hamstrings) and the front of the right thigh (hip flexors).
  • Breathe deeply for 45 seconds up to 2 minutes, then switch sides.

Leg Stretch #2

  • [12]Prop your pelvis on a yoga block and firmly place right foot on wall with toes pointing skyward.
  • Hold onto the back of the left heel with the left hand, or wrap a strap around the left foot’s instep while straightening the back of the left knee without letting the pelvis lean off of the brick.
  • Feel stretching in three places at once: the back of the left thigh (hamstrings), the left leg’s inner thigh (adductors) and the front of the right thigh (hip flexors)
  • Breathe deeply for 45 seconds up to 2 minutes, then switch sides.

Leg Stretch #3

  • [13]Turn the right foot and leg to the right 90º so that side of the right foot is on the floor while the sole of the foot is on the wall with toes pointing towards the right. Adjust the brick so that it fully supports the side of the right hip.
  • Hold onto the side of the left foot with the right hand, or wrap a strap around the left foot’s instep while straightening the back of the left knee.
  • Guide the left leg across the body until the left foot touches the floor.
  • Feel stretching in any of the following places at once: the back of the left thigh (hamstrings), the left buttocks, the lower back.
  • Breathe deeply for 45 seconds up to 2 minutes, then switch sides.

Let me know how it goes!

Find these moves and more on my Post-Athletic Stretch Routines [14] or get an entire postural retrofit with my Yoga Tune Up® At-Home Program [15].

Practice yoga at home with streaming videos on GaiamTV.com! [16]


Article printed from Gaiam Blog: http://blog.gaiam.com

URL to article: http://blog.gaiam.com/dont-get-bent-out-of-shape-%e2%80%94-open-your-hips/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://blog.gaiam.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/iStock_000017428389Small.jpg

[2] improve your posture: http://life.gaiam.com/article/4-ways-improve-posture

[3] Degeneration and Pain: http://life.gaiam.com/article/perfecting-your-posture-relieve-chronic-pain

[4] Yoga Tune Up®: http://www.yogatuneup.com/

[5] lengthen the tissues: http://blog.gaiam.com/blog/loosen-up-how-to-stretch-your-way-to-flexibility/

[6] strengthen tissues that are weak: http://life.gaiam.com/article/5-yoga-poses-build-muscle

[7] Improving the hips’ mobility and stability: http://life.gaiam.com/video/yoga-studio-stadium

[8] yoga block: http://www.gaiam.com/product/cork+yoga+blocks+9+x+6+set+of+2.do?SID=WG117SPRTAPEMACS&extcmp=life_prod

[9] strap: http://www.gaiam.com/product/organic+cotton+stretch+strap+8ft.do?SID=WG117SPRTAPEMACS&extcmp=life_prod

[10] timer: http://www.gaiam.com/product/enso+clock+salubrion.do?SID=WG117SPRTAPEMACS&extcmp=life_prod

[11] Image: http://blog.gaiam.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/180Leg-Sretch-1-block1.jpg

[12] Image: http://blog.gaiam.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/181Leg-Stretch-2-block1.jpg

[13] Image: http://blog.gaiam.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/182Leg-Stretch-3-block1.jpg

[14] Post-Athletic Stretch Routines: http://www.yogatuneup.com/products/quickfix-yoga-dvds

[15] Yoga Tune Up® At-Home Program: http://www.yogatuneup.com/yoga-at-home-fitness

[16] GaiamTV.com!: http://www.gaiamtv.com/category/yoga-studio-0?chan=GaiamLife&utm_source=GaiamLife&utm_medium=Web&utm_campaign=10day

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