While some practice yoga to calm their mind, others do it to increase strength.
If you’re after an exercise to focus on opening your hips and working on building your butt muscles, check out these five yoga moves.
1. Wide Legged Standing Forward Bend
Benefits: Stretches hamstrings, calves and hips, and strengthens feet, ankles and legs, as well as shoulders and upper back.
• Stand with your feet 3 - 4 feet apart and place your hands on your hips.
• Stretch tall through your torso and fold your upper body slowly over your legs.
• Place your hands flat on the floor, shoulder width apart, and begin to stretch your torso forward.
• If you want a deeper stretch, try to bring your head towards the floor. If you can’t touch the floor, step your feet out wider and practice with a slight bend to keep your hamstrings engaged.
2. Half Lotus Pose
Benefits: Opens up the hips, knees and ankles.
• Sit on the floor with your legs extended, spine straight and arms at your sides.
• Bend your right knee and bring your knee as close to your chest as you can.
• With both hands, bring your right ankle as far up to your left hip as possible – never force this position. If necessary, allow your foot to rest (with your sole facing upward) on the crease of your knee.
• Once in half lotus position, move your torso in big circles to loosen up your hips, before coming into a forward bend over your legs. Breathe deeply into your hips.
• Centre yourself into an upright position. Reach the crown of your head up to lengthen the spine, dropping your shoulders down and back.
• Breathe deeply in through the nose and into the belly. Hold this position for as long as comfortable, before switching legs.
3. Downward Facing Dog
Benefits: Stretches arms, legs, shoulders, back, hamstrings, calves, arches and hands.
• Stand with your feet hip distance apart, your arms by your side.
• Keeping your back straight, move forward and place your palms flat on the floor, your hands pointing forward and spread apart (if necessary, bend your knees).
• Step each foot backwards until you are in push up position. Your hands should be beneath your shoulders.
• Lift your hips towards the ceiling until your body makes an inverted V shape.
• Place your chest towards your knees, keep your eyes on your toes and press heels towards the floor. Breathe deeply as you move into the pose with each exhalation.
4. Happy Baby Pose
Benefits: Stretches the hips, strengthens the arms and shoulders, calms the mind and relieves stress.
• Lie on your back and breathe deeply. On the exhale, bend your knees into your belly.
• As you inhale, grip the outsides of your feet with your hands – use a belt looped over each sole of your foot if you can’t hold your foot directly with your hands.
• Open your knees slightly wider than your torso, and bring them up towards your armpits.
• Position each ankle directly over your knees, and flex through your heels.
• Gently push your feet up into your hands as you pull your hands down, creating a resistance.
Benefits: Opens the hips, legs and chest, strengthens legs, calves and abs.
• Standing up, lift your torso and turn both feet out, so your heels are pointing in.
• Bend your knees and elbows at 90-degree angles, so you’re moving into a squat position.
• Hold the goddess pose for five deep breaths.
• Return to start position and repeat.
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