The hip joint is a ball-and-socket joint formed between the thigh bone and pelvis. It facilitates rotary movement essential in walking and provides stability as weight-bearing joints. Yin yoga helps to maintain flexibility in the hip joints while hydrating and strengthening the ligaments and tendons. In this sequence, appropriate stress will be applied to the groin, inner thigh and outer hip areas. Practitioners need to exercise caution that no localised pain around the knee joints are felt at any time. Knee pain is often due to compensation for relative stiffness in the hip joints. It is better to modify the pose to ensure that dull sensations of stretch and pressure are mainly around the hips.

1. Wide Knee Child  

Sit on your heels with the big toes touching, then bring the knees apart until a light stretch is felt in the inner thighs. Bend forwards to bring your chest towards the mat, resting the  forehead on your forearms. Try to keep the buttocks weighted on or towards the heels.

Target areas: stretch to groin and inner thighs

2. Swan

From Child pose, glide forwards onto your hands and knees. Bring the right knee behind your right wrist and rotate the hip so that the right heel is resting in front of your left hip. Straighten and slide the left leg back and keep the trunk as upright as you can. You may need some padding under your left kneecap and right buttock. Continue with #3 Sleeping Swan on the same side.

Target areas: stretch to outer hip and thigh of front leg and hip flexor of back leg, mild low back compression

3. Sleeping Swan

From Swan, bend forwards to bring the chest towards the right knee, resting the forehead on your forearms. You may also choose to rest more propped up on a bolster, especially if there is any pain in the front knee. Rest in Child pose when you come out of Sleeping Swan.

Target areas: stretch to groin, outer hip and thigh of front leg

Remember to repeat poses #2 and #3 on the other side.

4. Shoelace

 

Sit cross-legged then slowly bring the left knee on top of the left. When the left leg is on top, the weight will be shifted slightly more towards the right sitting bone. Try to ground through the entire pelvis as you round the spine forwards. Rest the hands or forearms on the floor in front of you. To release, uncross the legs slowly and lean back. Move on to #5 Dragonfly before repeating Shoelace on the other side. 

Target areas: stretch to low back, outer hips and thighs, compression in groin region. 

5. Dragonfly

Sit upright with your legs stretched out in front of you, then slowly bring the legs apart until you feel a mild stretch in the inner legs. You can choose to stay upright or bend forwards to the point where the chest is still lifted and the spine is not over rounding. To release, hug the knees into the chest seated. Remember to repeat #4 Shoelace with the right knee on top.

Target areas: stretch to groin, inner thighs and low back areas

6. Sleeping Butterfly

Set up the bolster on an incline with two blocks at medium and high levels. Sit in front of the bolster and lie back onto it, add padding behind the head if needed. Bring the feet together then drop the knees out to either side. The closer the heels are to the pelvis, the stronger the stretch in the inner thighs, so choose an appropriate level of intensity.

Target areas: stretch to groin and inner thighs

 Finish the sequence by hugging the knees to your chest then turn to one side before sitting back up.

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