Today in the tech session at Lifestyles Family Fitness in Seminole we will be working on hip alignment while doing lunges and the lunge twists.
Using a chair as a visual tool to see the knee & hip placement during the various movements. We will also use the chair for Warrior II and some other moves.
Sitting in the chair on the very front edge so that both sitting bones are in contact with the chair bring right leg to outside of chair as if you are heading into Warrior II. The right heel is touching the leg of the chair as well as the calf and the knee is bent over the seat. This is the external rotation of the femur as well as the optimal 90 degree angle of the knee/thigh. Now lets have a look at the hips and shoulders (this is the hard part) the hip bones in the front of the body are pointing directly forward and the shoulders are over the hips. The butt is not sticking out behind the tailbone is tucked so the spine has its natural curve (Think Tadasana). Already this is a huge stretch, however we haven’t even addressed the left leg yet. The left leg~ start with the left foot near the left front leg of the chair the knee will be bent. Slowly slide the foot leading with the heel back but keeping the hip pointers facing forward, tail bone tucked as in Tadasana, shoulders over hips. Lift arms out to sides opening from the midline outward the arms are active and the shoulder blades are sliding down the back lifting and opening the heart center. This is Warrior II welcome it into your body….. feel it… make friends with it. Many in class found this difficult as I still do this is the true feeling of the hips open and in alignment. Lets play further. Do the other side and notice any asymmetries of the body.
Let’s explore how we can use this information for many of the postures. Move the chair so that the front edge is parallel to the thigh bone. Come into a standing lunge, both hip bones are facing forward and notice the thigh~ is it parallel to the front edge of the chair or is the line from the knee to the hip at an angle? If it is at an angle you are putting undue stress on the knee bring the femur bone where it meets the hip in alignment with the knee. Making sure the knee is over the heel/ankle and the knee cap is facing the 2nd – 3rd toe. So now you can use this alignment and add a twist towards the knee and see if you let the hip pop out. Now try this same set up with Warrior II, and see if you can keep the bent knee in alignment as you work to open the back hip flexor. The Side Angle posture is a great one to practice this way using the chair as many of us let the hip pop out.
What is your abdominals doing in all of this? They should be lifting up and in to help support the back. Not like you are going to take a punch to the stomach but with intention to support the back and for sure not just hanging out.
The chair like the wall is a true teacher. Mr Iyengar says the whole world is a yoga prop so use it.
I did add a feel good stretch where you kneel in front of the chair putting your elbows on the chair shoulder width apart, hands together in Namaste position then moving the knees back and bringing the head down between the upper arms (like in a Downward Dog position) and feel this wonderful stretch in the shoulders and back yum yum.
Play with this information and find some new awareness. Till next time .
Breathe Deep, Breathe Full… Breath is Life …if you only half breathe you half live. Namaste