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?