Have you ever found yourself uncontrollably smiling in a yoga pose, and suddenly weeping in another? Perhaps you went into yoga class with no specific goal or intention in mind. You simply let go and let it flow. But out of nowhere, emotions arise and you have no idea why!
When we work with the body, we are undoubtedly working with the mind, but also the energy system, which serves as the bridge between the body and mind. Yoga is a powerful practice that helps us progress internally and externally, and release that which does not serve us, including negative emotions.
Many people store excess tension and built-up negative emotions in their bodies. This can, unfortunately, cause a variety of unsettling physical and mental disorders that can have a negative effect on our overall wellbeing.
The hips are one of the main areas of the body that store this toxicity. Hip-opening yoga poses can prove to be one of the best solutions to release these emotions.
Here are 7 yoga poses to aid you in letting go of negative emotions:
It’s a pose of ultimate power, with your entire body engaged – including the hips. With proper alignment, you can work towards freeing up the hip joint and release any pent-up tension, both physically and emotionally.
How to do it: Bend deep into the front knee, focusing on pressing your back heel firmly into the ground, and feeling an outer rotation of the thighs, which will all help gently open your hips.
Lunges are great for targeting the groin, thighs and inner hips. Sitting for prolonged periods of time, whether it be from traveling or working, can cause the body to feel stiff, which leads to tightness and can ultimately stir up negativity, or allow it to settle into the body.
How to do it: Begin in a high lunge and then lower your back knee to the ground. Since your back knee is planted, it’s safe to continue pressing the hips forward. With each breath, allow yourself to sink into the hips a little deeper.
Nothing sounds more like releasing negativity than a pose referred to as “happy.” This calming hip opener offers a gentle way to let it all go.
How to do it: Lying on your back, bend your knees into your chest, holding onto the inner or outer blades of the feet with your hands. Using the strength of your arms, press your knees towards the floor. Gently rock from side to side to provide your spine with an indulgent massage as you inhale calmness and exhale tension.
This pose is all about the hips, but can often prove difficult for some.
How to do it: First, become aware of your form, ensuring that your hips are square to the front of the mat, and that your back leg is extended in line with the hips with your toes pointed straight back. Inhale to lengthen your spine and chest, and then let it all go with a deep breath as you slowly hinge your torso forward towards the mat. Once you’re there, allow yourself to truly let go as the negative energy is released and your physical tension lets up through this deep hip opener.
Low Yogi Squat (Malasana)
Squats dig deep into the lower body. This empowering pose allows you to both stretch your hips as well as open up your lower back (an important combination!).
How to do it: To get into it, stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips, toes facing outward. Bend your knees and squat low until your hips are hovering above the ground. To intensify the stretch, bring your palms to heart center and press your elbows against the inside of your knees.
Standing Figure 4 Pose
One of the most beautiful things about balancing poses is how important it is to have a mental focus. This allows your racing thoughts to dissipate.
How to do it: Lifting one leg high, rest the lifted ankle on the opposing thigh (above the knee joint) as you begin to bend into your standing leg and sink back into chair pose. Keep the lifted foot flexed for safety. You can bring your palms to heart center, and press your elbows to the foot and the knee of the crossed leg. This will allow your hips to open more, as you bend deeper into your standing leg. Option: fold over the bent leg for a deeper stretch.
Cow Face Pose (Gomukhasana)
An incredible hip opener, this pose requires a good amount of warm-up prior.
How to do it: Sitting in a relaxed seated position, bend the left knee so the knee faces straight ahead. Cross the right knee on top so the knees stack directly above each other. This is an intense hip stretch, but if you want to turn up the volume a bit more, you can gently fold your torso over your legs.
When we dig deep into our hips, we gain access to freedom in the body. This in turn allows us to express ourselves creatively, spiritually, physically and sexually. If you find that your hips are incredibly tight, be patient and use your breath to guide you as you release into the journey of opening up and letting go.
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