Hip opening can be challenging, but it's worth the try. When we open our hips, we create an easy flow of circulation between our upper and lower bodies. Plus we can help ease back pain, feel more fluid while walking and even make standing more comfortable.
One of my favorite hip openers is Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana). This is a great intermediate posture that stretches the thighs, groins, psoas, abdomen, chest, shoulders and neck.
There is only one hip opener that I enjoy more and that's the Dynamic Pigeon Flow. This is a cardiovascular hip opener, core strengthener and heart opener for intermediate and advanced yogis. It's a great full-body exercise if you're in a rush, or you can use it for warming up before holding your hip opener for an extended amount of time.
The Dynamic Pigeon Flow has the core strengthening benefits of Knee-to-Nose, with the added benefits of Pigeon, while using only one breath for each movement in the flow. It might be difficult for a beginner, but once you learn the proper alignment and key components, you'll find a deeper opening and full body activation.
Here are the 10 Steps to the Dynamic Pigeon Flow:
1. Start in Downward Facing Dog. Lift your right leg up as you inhale.
2. On your exhale, bring your right leg into Pigeon Pose.
3. Inhale, press your fingertips into the floor to lift and lengthen the spine.
4. Exhale and forward fold your forehead towards the earth.
5. As you inhale, tuck your toes, press yourself up and reach your right leg back.
6. Exhale to lower the right leg next to the left.
7. Inhale to begin the flow on the left side.
8. Feel free to practice a certain number of repetitions (5 - 10 on each side) or move continuously for a certain amount of time (5 - 10 minutes).
9. When you're ready, hold your Pigeon Pose and explore your variations.
10. Consider flipping back into Wild Thing as a counter pose between sides on your final Pigeon Poses.