By Kimaya Singh
A great deal of tension often resides in the hips. When the hips are tights, it is often the case that the lower back area is tight as well. This can lead to chronic lower back pain, such as sciatica. The hips can become tight from sitting too long at a desk or in a car. The hips can also become tight from any number of athletic activities, including running, skiing, basketball and tennis. In addition, the hips are commonly a repository for undigested emotional pain, stress and tension.
There are a wide assortment of standing and sitting Yoga asanas that effectively target tension in the hip area. By practicing a number of these asanas on a regular basis, you will be able to consistently release deep held stress and tension in both the hip and lower back areas. The release of muscular tension in these areas will increase your somatic sense of well-being, help you maintain optimal spinal alignment and allow your mind to become more spacious.
Ardha Matsyendrasana or Half Lord of the Fishes’ Pose
Ardha Matsyendrasana is a wonderful seated Yoga asana that will energize the entire spine, stimulate your digestive fire and relieve sciatica and lower back pain. This pose will also stretch out the side torso, neck, shoulders and hips. In classical Yogic texts, this posture is even reputed to destroy most deadly diseases and awaken the Kundalini Shakti energy that resides at the base of the spine.
To practice Half Lord of the Fishes’ Pose, come to a seated position on your Yoga mat. If your hips are particularly tight today, you may wish to sit on a folded blanket. Take a few complete Yogic breaths. With your next exhale, fold your right leg in and place your right foot against the inside of the left leg. Place the left foot outside of your right bent knee. Keep the sole of your left foot flat on your mat and your left knee pointed towards the sky.
When you inhale the next time, bring the right arm up beside your right ear, and then place your right elbow on the outside of your left knee. Keep your fingers pointing toward the ceiling. As you breath out, apply gentle pressure to your left knee with your right elbow in order to increase the stretch. As you breath in, release the stretch a little bit. Continue this pulsating expansion and contraction for five complete breaths. With the next inhale, raise the right arm along side your right ear and release the pose. Come back to an easy sitting position on your Yoga mat. When you are ready, repeat Half Lord of the Fishes’ Pose on the other side.
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