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Diagonal standing poses for tight hips and sacrum

Standing poses done in several different ways.

Contents

Introduction

This sequence focuses on diagonal Standing Poses as an enquiry into what these variations bring and how they might help when the hips or lower back area are tight or restricted.

The aim is to enhance stability in the poses to allow the mind to focus on specific actions and see what opening and freedom those action points bring.

We will practise with the back foot to the wall to enhance stability in the poses which can allow the mind to focus on specific actions and to see what opening and freedom those action points bring. How might they help us create space in the restricted areas of the body?

Step by step guide to the sequence

Start off in Supta Virasana, and take time to properly settle and observe how your body presents in this first pose.

Follow with Virasana forward, already starting to focus attention on the inner and outer groins, or inner and outer edges of the buttock creases. See if you can feel that there are two red dots on those points (inner groin/buttock crease and outer edge, where the outer top thigh meets the outer buttock) and watch this area closely throughout the practice.

Come up to Uttanasana, and create more space and opening on those two points: inner and outer buttock creases. When those open out, you may find the hips feel as if they have more space, and some tightness gets released.

Adho Mukha Svanasana adding the points of the inner and outer armpit creases. These areas, if tight, can restrict the shoulders and the hips.

Adho Mukha Vrksasana, Full Arm Balance, going up leading with alternate legs, followed by Pincha Mayurasana, without a belt and block if possible. What happens when we remove the support? Is it always necessary and how does it help us in the pose? It is important not to be casual or habitual in the way we practise.

We will start the standing poses with Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana 1, done with wall support and opening up the “red dots” at the back of the thighs. Then go to Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana 2. Explore the difference between placing the lifted foot in line with the inner arch of the standing leg, and then move the lifted foot forwards in line with the big toe of the standing leg. What does that change?

Standing Poses follow:
Start with the lateral Standing Poses setting up with the back foot to the wall, on the back outer edge of your mat, and the front foot on the opposite front edge of the mat. Watch how the back waist gets freer, the pelvic rim broader and the hip joints open more easily. This can also help to bring a balance to the sacral joints.

Trikonasana, Parsva Konasana, Virabhadrasana 2, Ardha Chandrasana with the back foot to the wall and taken back in line with the back heel.

Go now to the twisting Standing Poses and see what those same actions of spreading the inner and outer buttock crease points bring here: Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana, and then Parivrtta Trikonasana and Parivrtta Parsvakonasana with the whole back to the wall.

Finish with Parsvottanasana, back foot to the wall and hands to the floor. Can you feel your front hip bones lifting a little away from the thighs as you open the groins and extend forwards with the trunk?

Prasarita Padottanasana as a conclusion, balanced and steady to see what has come to the body and to the mind during the practice.

Set up in Virasana and add Parvatasana. Then Ubhaya Padangusthasana, which will show you what spreading and evenness has come into the back thighs through the standing pose work.

Explore those actions further in Supta Padangusthasana 1, 2 and 3, keeping your attention on the backs of the thighs so that there is no “shrinking” of the fibers of the legs. Watch the bottom leg thigh in particular, as it is the anchor for the pose.

Come up now for Sirsasana, Parsva Sirsasana and EkaPada Sirsasana, or cross bolsters if not doing the full inversion today.
Continue with Sarvangasana, Eka Pada Sarvangasana, Halasana and Karna Pidasana, or Legs up the wall over a bolster, legs at 70 degrees and shoulders and head on the floor.

Simple cross legs forward, and even here observe your back thigh opening and see what that creates. Savasana, taking time to really “see” your body, and listen to what it is now feeding back to you.

View sequence

Supta Virasana
Reclining Hero Pose
Lay on your back with your legs bent, your toes pointing backward.
Virasana Forward
Downward-Facing Hero Pose
Join your feet together under your buttocks and keep your knees far enough apart for your ribs to fit in between your legs as you fold forward. You can rest your forehead on the floor or on a block.
Tadasana
Mountain Pose
Stand up tall and straight, place your feet close together, with your heels and big toes touching. Imagine as if you are standing with your back against the wall. Extend your whole body from the heels up through the crown of your head.
Uttanasana
Standing Forward Bend
Starting in Tadasana, exhale and reach down towards your feet. Let your spine release downwards. You can bend your knees or place your hands on blocks if you lack the necessary flexibility.
Adho Mukha Svanasana
Downward-Facing Dog Pose
Press evenly into your hands and feet. The main aim is to elongate the back of your body and lift your hips up as high off the ground as possible without losing the stable foundation created by your hands and feet. If you lack the hamstring flexibility, bend your knees a little.
Adho Mukha Vrksasana
Handstand
Open your hands into the floor and strengthen your arms as you lift your body up, one leg at a time, into an inverted balance. Use the wall for support if necessary. If pushing yourself up proves to be too difficult, you can walk your feet up the wall.
Uttanasana
Standing Forward Bend
Starting in Tadasana, exhale and reach down towards your feet. Let your spine release downwards. You can bend your knees or place your hands on blocks if you lack the necessary flexibility.
Pincha Mayurasana
Feathered Peacock Pose
Spread your weight evenly across your forearms, activate your shoulders, and lengthen your spine as you lift yourself into this inverted balance. Use wall support if needed. You can also wrap a belt around your arms to keep them steady.
Virasana Forward
Downward-Facing Hero Pose
Join your feet together under your buttocks and keep your knees far enough apart for your ribs to fit in between your legs as you fold forward. You can rest your forehead on the floor or on a block.
Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana 1
Extended Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose 1
Grab your foot by the toe and straighten your leg, maintaining your Tadasana line. Lengthen through the crown of your head and keep your body from tipping over. Use wall support if you lack the balance. You can also use a belt if you lack hamstring flexibility.
Utthita Trikonasana
Extended Triangle Pose
Keep the toes and kneecap of your left leg pointed forward and, keeping your spine straight and long, stretch over your leg. Place your left hand on your ankle or on a block next to your foot. Look up towards your extended right arm.
Utthita Parsvakonasana
Extended Side Angle Pose
Bend your front leg and place your hand by of your foot as you stretch your other arm up and over your head. Pull your waist away from the floor, keep your back straight. Place a block under your hand if necessary.
Virabhadrasana II
Warrior II Pose
1
Angle your back foot in and straighten out the leg. Bend your front knee into a lunge, pointing it forward so that it's aligned with your hips, shin, and toes. Stretch your arms out in a parallel line. Lengthen through the crown of your head.
Ardha Chandrasana
Half Moon Pose
Get rooted through your left foot, point your toes and kneecap forward. Then, place your left hand on the floor or a block in front of you as you stretch your other right leg back in line with your straight back. You can use the wall for support if you lack the balance. If possible, lift your right arm up.
Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana
Revolved Half Moon Pose
Balance on your left leg, as in Ardha Chandrasana. Place your right hand on the floor or on a block in front of you and take your left arm up. Open your chest to capacity. Repeat on both sides.
Parivritta Trikonasana
Revolved Triangle Pose
Start off with your legs spread out as for Triangle Pose. Then, take your left hand to your right foot and twist.
Parivritta Parsvakonasana
Revolved Side Angle Pose
Place your right hand on the inside of your left foot as you stretch your left arm up and over your head. If the twist is too intense, use a block for your lower hand or keep your left hand on your hip. Repeat on both sides.
Tadasana
Mountain Pose
Stand up tall and straight, place your feet close together, with your heels and big toes touching. Imagine as if you are standing with your back against the wall. Extend your whole body from the heels up through the crown of your head.
Parsvottanasana
Pyramid Pose
Place your feet one leg-length apart, your back foot angled out slightly. Keep your legs straight as you start to fold over your front leg, maintaining a concave spine for as far into the bend as possible.
Prasarita Padottanasana (Head Down)
Wide-Legged Forward Bend
Plant your feet as wide apart as you can. Place your hands on the floor and lengthen forward through your spine. Once you have achieved the concave spine, start to walk your hands backward to capacity, aiming to lengthen and release your spine as evenly as possible.
Diagonal standing poses for tight hips and sacrum
Hero Pose
Fold your legs under you with your heels on either side of your buttocks. Keep your back straight, avoid sinking forward or back. This pose is to be avoided if you lack mobility in your knee joints due to injuries. Cross your legs instead or assume the Baddha Konasana position.
Parvatasana in Virasana
Mountain Pose in Hero Pose
Sit in Virasana, stretch your arms out in front of you, and interlock your fingers. Turn your palms outward and, keeping your shoulders down and ribs in neutral, extend your arms upward.
Dandasana
Staff Pose
Point your sit-bones down and extend your spine upwards through the crown of your head. Use support under your buttocks or bend knees if needed to get your back straight.
Diagonal standing poses for tight hips and sacrum
Double Toe Hold
Start in a seated position. Bend your knees and grab a hold of your big toes. Extend your legs up and balance yourself on your coccyx to assume a V-shape with your body. Pull your abs in, activate your core, open your chest. If you cannot reach your ankles, use a belt to help you reach your feet.
Supta Padangusthasana I
Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose
Press your back body into the floor, point the kneecap and toes of your supine leg toward the ceiling, as you extend the other leg up over your hip. Use a belt if needed.
Supta Padangusthasana II
Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose
Lie down on your back. Point kneecap and toes on your left leg upward, as you stretch your right leg out to the side. Use a belt if necessary. Change sides.
Supta Padangusthasana 3
Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose 3
Start in Supta Padangusthasana 1 or 2. Bring your left leg up and over towards your right shoulder. Keeping your right leg grounded, see how far over to the side you can bring your left leg. Repeat on both sides.
Salamba Sirsasana Wall Support
Headstand 1
Activate your shoulders and upper back muscles as you lift your body up into inverted balance. Use the wall for support if necessary.
Parsva Sirsasana
Side Headstand
As you hold your balance in Sirsasana, tilt your feet to the side. Use your core to twist to capacity.
Parsvaikapada Sirsasana
One-Legged Headstand Pose
Start in Sirsasana and bring one leg down to the floor. The other leg stays lifted and steady.
Sarvangasana
Shoulderstand
Activate your arms and shoulders as you lift your body up perpendicular to the floor. Use blankets or bolsters to support your shoulders. Make sure the back of your neck stays relaxed and maintains its natural curve.
Ekapada Sarvangasana
One-Legged Shoulderstand Pose
Activate your shoulders and lift your body up into a straight line. Place your hands on your back to help you keep your balance. Keeping your body straight and your hips aligned, bring one foot down behind your head.
Halasana
Plough Pose
Use support under your shoulders. Keeping your shoulders open, lift your hips up high above your head, dropping your feet down behind you. Place your hands on your back to help keep it from rounding.
Diagonal standing poses for tight hips and sacrum
Ear Pressure Pose
Start with your hips raised high over your head (in Halasana), your shoulders resting on the floor, or some blankets, your legs stretched out behind your head. Bend your knees and bring your thighs down so they are positioned on either side of your head. Breathe and feel your lower back release.
Simple Cross Legs Forward
Sit with your legs crossed. Keep your sit-bones pointing down as you stretch your arms forward to capacity, lengthening your spine.
Savasana
Corpse Pose
Lie down on the floor. Spread your arms and legs slightly at your side. Relax and concentrate on your breath.