Basically let me begin by reminding you that yoga begins in your home by simply sitting on the floor. We did this as children. We all sat easily in a cross-legged Indian sitting position, but other positions such as virasana, wide angle pose are common for children; but as adults we have lost this ability. With Hip openers we are attempting to regain the ability to move freely, getting up and down from the floor with ease, and have the freedom from the pain of stiffness caused by lack of mobility. This series of hip movements are a preparation to help to open the hips and legs move towards the posture that is one of the most important of all the asanas according to the oldest texts on hatha yoga; Padmasana or Full Lotus.
The early Yogis practiced Hatha Yoga so that they could be free of pain while sitting for long hours meditating in the posture of Padmasana. With this in mind I believe that all postures lead to this pose. All practice prepares the dedicated student for stillness in meditation.
Each variation increases the intensity of the Hip stretch. Move to the next pose only when you feel that your body is free of strain. Switch legs in each variation.
Sitting on a firm folded blanket to lift you will help to free the hips and spine until no longer needed.
Sit on the floor. Fold your left leg in front so that your left foot is positioned beside your right hip. Cross your right leg on top of your left so that both knees are stacked on top of one another and the foot is moving to the opposite hip. Stay in the pose for one minute and then switch sides.
Sit in the same cross-legged position. In this variation, move your feet out so that they are in a straight line with your knees. Lift your spine and if you are able to extend your spine upward and outward, then move forward. Hold this posture for one minute and then switch sides.
This position resembles the front leg as in pigeon, sometimes called double pigeon pose. Sit with one leg bent in front of you with your heal in one line with your knee. Take the opposite leg and place the foot on top of the opposite knee. Hold the pose for one minute and then switch sides.
In all 3 variations
-Lift the spine, lengthening with each inhalation. Sustaining your lift on each exhalation.
-If you can go deeper, begin to lift upward and extend outward continuing to lengthen your spine as you stretch forward.
-Surrender to the breath and allow yourself to go all the way forward. In each variation imagine yourself extending your chest up and over your legs.
Look forward to one day moving into being able to practice Padmasana as described in the “Gheranda Samhita”
“Place the right foot on the left thigh and similarly the left one on the right thigh, also cross the hands behind the back and firmly get hold of the big toes of the feet so crossed, place the chin on the chest and fix the gaze on the tip of the nose. This posture is called Padmasana. This posture destroys all diseases.”