Hips are the control center of the body and the foundation to our overall fitness and health and should be an integral part of a weekly routine. Having healthy hips doesn’t mean they are hyper-flexible; it means maintaining the right amount of tension and awareness in them.
This routine is about cultivating overall hip health. For maximum benefit, treat this workout as a gentle flow class, building awareness through each inhale and exhale. For this workout you will need: A yoga mat, two foam blocks, a blanket and a bolster.
This flow begins by increasing your overall awareness of how your hips move.
5 REPS EACH SIDE
A. Step to lunge forward, planting front foot firmly on the ground. The back foot should have the heel raised.
B. Bend both knees into a deep lunge then return to standing.
C. Repeat lunging the opposite foot forward.
TIP: Swing your arms in opposition, while keeping your knees at 90˚.
HIP HIKE AND CIRCLE FROM BLOCK
5 REPS EACH SIDE
A. Place one foot firmly on the middle of a brick and lift the opposite foot off the ground.
B. Rotate the hip of the free leg in a circle. Reverse the direction halfway through your set.
C. Switch legs and complete opposite side.
TIP: To help with balance, place one hand on the wall.
With these poses, you will gain insight into your hip strength and flexibility.
OPEN CHILD INTO CHILD’S POSE
3 TO 5 BREATHS
A. Kneel on the floor with knees hip-width apart and your big toes touching. Sit or gently move your bottom toward your heels, placing your hands on the ground behind you.
B. Gently arch your back with your head facing towards the ceiling and your chest open. Enjoy this gentle chest opener for a few breaths.
C. Reach forward with your torso and arms, laying your head on the ground. Repeat.
5 BREATHS EACH SIDE
A. With feet hip-width apart, place one foot on the middle of a brick.
B. Flexing at the hip, gently lean over, reaching your hands toward the floor.
C. Rotate your torso toward the foot on the floor, reaching your hands outwards.
D. Return body to centre and switch to other side.
TIP: Use a second block for balance.
These more challenging poses strengthen the hip area.
5 BREATHS EACH SIDE
A. Place left foot forward near the top of the mat and gently lean over, placing your left hand on the ground on the outside edge of your left foot.
B. Raise your right leg, using your left arm for support.
C. Rotate your chest and head upward toward the right side of the room, reaching your right arm up towards the sky. Gently rotate your rooted leg to support this pose.
D. Bring both hands down to the centre, leaving the right leg extended and lift the left arm upward, rotating your body to the opposite side. Repeat on other side.
TIP: Use a brick or block to modify this pose. For balance, use the wall to support the extended leg.
MALA INTO FROG GLIDES
30 SECONDS TO ONE MINUTE
A. Standing with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, move into a deep squat, keeping knees wider than your torso (Mala pose). Press elbows against knees with palms together.
B. Place hands, knees and legs on the floor, in lying squat position.
C. Slide knees in towards each other and then out away from each other. Repeat for set.
TIP: Place a towel on the floor to help your knees slide.
5 BREATHS EACH SIDE
A. Place your left foot back in a long stride and allow your right knee to fall to the right side. Let the back knee drop, placing your fingers on the ground for balance. The front knee should be close to your wrist and hips should remain neutral or pointing to the front of the mat.
B. Walk your arms forward and, if possible, bring your forearms to the ground. Repeat on opposite side.
Appreciate the beauty in your body and how your hips support each movement.
BRIDGE WITH BLOCK
A. Lie on your back and place a block under each foot, bending knees to 90°.
B. Press down on your feet, gently lifting your hips toward the ceiling. There should be a feeling of internal rotation of the thighs and hamstrings, an extension of the hips and a vacuuming effect in the diaphragm as you tighten your abs.
TIP: Lead with your pelvis, but maintain the focus on your rooted legs.
A. Lay on your stomach on top of a folded blanket.
B. Place your forehead on a block and arms, elbows at a 90° angle, on the floor.
C. Legs are extended behind you, knees bent at a 90° and hip-width apart. This is an external rotation of both the pelvis and hips. Allow your body to open up, and experience this natural release of the hip .
TIP: For added support, use a pillow under your head.
THE HIP STORY
As a yoga teacher and former professional and amateur athlete, I strongly believe in the importance of integrating breath and movement for daily health and vitality; and also for pain management when required.
Repetitive movement creates stress and the potential for damage, leading to pain. Our body communicates through sensations. Pain is our body’s way of telling us to slow down, take a deep breath and a step back.
Yoga provides an environment of awareness linking breathing with the process of receiving and releasing tension. It is a type of built-in architecture. This awareness kept my body supple and strong right up to hip surgery three years ago to repair an athletic injury.
Since the surgery I have new insight into the phenomena of pain and pain management. Pain management is complex and involves body, mind and muscle memory. Yoga provides an alchemy that includes breathing and awareness of the present moment. Movement is also an integral part of my pain management practice, integrating yoga, manual therapy, physiotherapy and meditation. Pain may be present, but it does not define me.
ANN’S NOURISHMENT PLAN
Food is an integral part of my healthy lifestyle. I add nutrient-dense fuel to my body every three hours. Protein is vital, especially when healing. Choose food high in potassium and magnesium to help manage inflammation.
Steamed vegetable and one or two eggs
A nutrient-dense shake. Mint, pineapple and coconut water is my current favorite combination
Soba noodles, sliced organic chicken pesto and steamed seasonal vegetables
Trail mix made with ½ cup nuts or seeds, dairy-free dark chocolate chips and cranberries
Salmon, local vegetables and wild rice
Coconut kefir, chia seeds, pineapple and raspberries