The Beginner Yoga Pose This Trainer Does Every Day To Target Hip Issues

mindbodygreen Editorial Assistant By Sarah Regan
mindbodygreen Editorial Assistant

Sarah Regan is a writer, registered yoga instructor, and Editorial Assistant at mindbodygreen. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Have Hip Issues? Here's The Beginner Yoga Pose This Trainer Swears By

Anyone who's practiced yoga for a time understands the great irony of "beginner" poses. Yes, they're simple—but just because they're simple doesn't mean they aren't effective. Which is why when we asked personal trainer and yoga instructor Todd McCullough, aka TMAC, for his go-to yoga pose, we were surprised that his answer was one of the foundational yoga poses.

For low-back and hip pain, McCullough is bullish on warrior 1, or Virabhadrasana I. In fact, the mbg class instructor and collective member says he does this pose nearly every day.

While he admits it may come as a surprise, McCullough insists it's perfect for targeting those areas while also working your whole body: "I know, right? It's not too exciting," he says. "But I have a lot of low-back and hip issues, and there's not a pose out there I can recommend more for you to really get into the hips than holding warrior 1 for about 45 seconds to a minute. I do this pose almost every day."

And he's absolutely right: A proper warrior 1 requires external rotation in the hips, which helps to open up and decongest the joints, and solid legs and an engaged core help support and stretch the spine.

How to do it correctly.

To get into warrior 1, begin in mountain pose at the top of your mat. Lightly step your left foot back about 3.5 to 4 feet. Keeping your back leg straight, bend your right knee so it's stacked over your ankle, making sure your right knee stays in line with your right hip (there's a tendency to let knees fall inward). Your right foot should point straight ahead, with your left foot angled out about 45 degrees. Both heels fall in one line.

Shifting weight into the outside edges of your foot will help open up your hips. Power down through your feet and legs, and on an inhale, lift your arms up so your biceps are by your ears. You can spread your fingertips wide, actively sending energy toward the sky, or bring your hands into prayer above your head, maintaining that same engagement in the arms. Relax the shoulders.

Be sure to keep your tailbone tucked and abdominals engaged to support your back. The more you tuck your tailbone and straighten out the spine, the more you'll feel a lift in your core and chest.

Hold for 45 to 60 seconds and release. Switch sides.

And that's how you warrior 1! This pose is sure to come up time and time again in Vinyasa classes, and you can also do it on your own for a quick dose of movement. For more movement inspo from TMAC, check out his class full of 20-minute HIIT series and more.

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