Okay, we’ve done the primary back muscles with Baby Cobra. We’ve done the butt muscles with Bridge. We’ve gone twice ‘round on the core with Dead Bug and some tougher variations on Dead Bug. Most recently, we scoured our hips to learn their range of motion.
So far, we’ve been concentrating on building strength, stability and endurance in the critical posture muscles, but that’s not enough, so now we’re going to dip into the next critical area of proper posture, flexibility.
One of the problems of gluteal amnesia, “dead butt syndrome,” is that it feeds a vicious cycle of weakened/underused butt muscles and tight/overused hip flexors. This leads to over-curvature of the lumbar spine, swayback, and puts you at increased risk of lower back pain or injury due to misuse and overuse of the lumbar muscles.
So, let’s loosen up those tight hip flexors with the dragon lunge.
- From plank/push up position, bring your right foot inside your right hand.
- Make sure your right shin is perfectly vertical
- Lay your left leg down, instep down (sole up), toes pointed straight back
- Straighten up, placing both hands on your right knee
- Position your shoulders directly above the knee, and keep them there
- Keep your body square to the front
- Start with your right knee bent 90°
- Relax your weight gently into your right leg
- This is where you will begin to feel your left hip flexor stretch
- Gently arch your back, lifting through the spine
- Lift your chin, looking upward
- I recommend not looking up more than 45°
- In other words, look toward the corner between the wall and the ceiling, not straight up
- Repeat for the right hip flexor
That’s it, nice and easy. When I began practicing yoga regularly (three to four times a week), this was one of my warm up postures. Many years of running, and hockey, and driving, and sitting in front of a computer for a living left me with very tight hip flexors. Loosening them off before class really helped my yoga practice.
In addition, as they became accustomed to the stretch, I would feel a pleasurable little “pop” as the tension released. 15 years ago, if you had told “born in the steel factory” Andrew that yoga would actually make stretching feel good, he’d have laughed in your face. But here we are.
That’s it, a simple posture, for a gentle stretch and release of the hip flexors. Perform each side once, holding 30 to 60 seconds, however long it takes to get your flexors to feel right.