Many people have this preconception that yoga teachers are uber-flexible. We’re not. While it’s true that yoga asana does draw in the bendy flexible body, for some of us, we come to yoga for help. Personally, in my body, one thing I really struggled with is hip external rotation. Consequently, this can make poses like goddess, butterfly and pigeon a struggle. In yoga teacher training I learned this quick and easy inner thigh release. Perfect for adding into any yoga warm-up.
While this inner thigh release is done with a yoga block it’s also suitable for other sports, or just daily movement. If you’re looking to increase flexibility in the hips or inner thighs then this is definitely worth a shot. Try adding it to your warm-up and see if you feel a difference.
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Inner thigh release
While tight adductors might not seem a big deal, they can lead to postural issues. Possibly even leading to us altering our walking pattern or cause other issues. If, like me, you know that you have a limited range of movement in this area, then give this inner thigh release a try. Firstly, begin lying on your back with the knees bent and feet on the floor. Then warm up with some windshield wipers, moving the knees left to right. Secondly, come into a pose like reclined butterfly, or seated butterfly.
Why? Because we need to know where we’re starting from, so we can see how far we have to go. This is the time to do a body scan. Notice things like:
- Where does your pelvis connect to the floor?
- Is there a difference on the right compared to left?
- Does one leg open out more?
- Is that true? Or just compensation of the pelvis shifting?
- What’s the relationship of the feet to each other?
- Can you feel any pulling, or holding of tension?
Once you take a minute to assess your body in the pose then come back to the starting position. Place a yoga block between the knees and inner thighs. Preferably, on the medium width.
On an exhale, squeeze the legs into the block. Applying pressure to the block will activate the inner thigh muscles. Hold this for a few seconds. Then, SLOWLY, release. Take about 5-8 seconds to release. In fact, the slower the better. Imagine the muscular tension you created, is melting away.
Take a breath, and then repeat two more times. As you repeat remember the release is super slow! There is nothing to be gained here by moving quick. Be the tortoise not the hare. Slow and steady. Notice:
- Does one leg hold more tension?
- Can you squeeze more on one side?
- Is there more effort required in one leg?
- As you release is one leg able to control more?
- On the release, is the movement fluid? Or jumpy?
- How slow can you release?
- What is your limiting factor to slowing the release, body or mind?
Once the inner thigh release is done three times, remove the block and come back into the pose you chose for your scan. I chose reclined butterfly as it’s less moving around. When you find that same pose, notice if you feel ANY difference.
Initially, there may or may not be a noticeable difference. However, as you progress into your practice this inner thigh release may help you go deeper into those externally rotated poses. Remember though, go slow and steady – be the tortoise!
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- Have you got tight inner thigh muscles?
- Where do you hold tension?
- Do you have issues going slow?
this post is very useful to my little yogi at home. My partner is not very flexible in the inner thigh area while for me it’s the most flexible part of my body. I can’t really help him and there I have you and your blog. thanks a lot Di!
Hah yep we’re all made different, so what’s flexible for one is the “tin-man” for others
Ok, this is easier and it is going to help my thighs. I am going to practice it from tomorrow morning!
I would love to try this. Thank you for sharing the video as well. Helps me follow easily.
Yep I’m a visual learning also so I like to offer many learning formats
Oh love this and need to try it. I keep meaning to find myself a yoga class!
Crickette, The Things I Have to Say
I am not flexible as well, but I really enjoy stretching. I love how it’s a little bit painful but truly satisfying.
Will try your tips.
I feel that I need this. I feel a little pressure on my legs and lower back so I think this would benefit me.
Yes, I always assumed yoga instructors were really flexible! The inner thigh release will really help with other poses. I definitely need to get a yoga block!
Wow! This is such a good routine for thigh exercise. I am kinda relieved that even experts in yoga have some struggles with flexibility as well. It’s encouraging.
The inner thigh release sounds like a great way to relax the muscles there and to include in the yoga warm-ups. The block used in between is a great way to press into and loosen up. wonderful share.