There are over 20 muscles around the hip. These include the hip flexors in the front (used when lifting up the knee), the inner thigh muscles which adduct, or lift the leg out to one side, and the outer thigh muscles which abduct, or bring the leg inwards.

We practised a range of moves in the class lying on our backs and using belts to hold the leg in position in order to try and stretch deeply into some of these muscles – the ones that often get tight if we spend a lot of time sitting, or exercising on a bike. Why do these stretches? Well, for one thing, they make lots of other yoga poses easier!

They also improve mobility, stimulate blood circulation and help ease back pain. The focus we need to do them, using the breath to ease more deeply into the postures, is also very calming. In yoga terms, hip openers are said to shift or release energy and tradition holds the hips as a storage ground for negative feelings and pent-up emotions, especially ones related to control in our lives. Hip-opening might even create space for the birth of new ideas!

The notes below are a reminder of our practice. You can follow up with cat/cow, dog and sun salutations.