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 Satsang Cafe - General Discussions on AYP
 Opening hips for an absolute beginner
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Posted - Aug 15 2020 :  8:53:58 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Message
Hello all,

Wishing you all a happy day.

I am seeking guidance on how to start my journey toward opening my hips. My goal is to simply be able to sit cross legged on the ground. Doesn't have to be a perfect lotus. Something like this would do:

Right now, I can do something like this:

If I sit and lay one knee on the ground, the other can stick up at a 45 degree angle from the ground, at best. This is the consequence of being 31 years old and having sat on a chair every day of my life, never giving a thought to my flexibility. I am also rather tall at 6"1 (not sure if that plays a role).

I search all over the place for a yoga exercise that I could start with, but it almost seems as though nothing exists for someone who is as inflexible as me. Every "beginner" video on Youtube etc. seems to start with pigeon pose or something that I cannot even get close to doing. Whenever I try to follow along and do something that even vaguely resembles what the instructor is showing, I feel absolutely nothing in the hips, and then I end up getting immensely frustrated and give up.

I would be grateful for a routine that I could adopt and stick with every day, but I am losing belief. I feel like I am so crippled at this point that nothing will make a difference. After becoming aware of how uncomfortable I have been for three decades I want to do something to change it but I feel like I am locked into my fate now.

Any advice would be greatly welcome.

Thank you


United Kingdom
3755 Posts

Posted - Aug 16 2020 :  05:54:48 AM  Show Profile  Visit Christi's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi adpa2007,

It is not necessary to be able to sit in the lotus position, or in half-lotus, or cross-legged in order to be able to practice yoga. So, that is the first thing to let go of, the idea that you need to have a certain degree of flexibility in the body in order to practise. It is quite possible to practise meditation sitting on a bed, with your legs out straight in front of you, and with a pillow behind you for back support. This should be quite comfortable for anyone. Pranayama and any other sitting practice can also be practised in this way.

Then, if it is comfortable to do so, you can bring one foot in towards the opposite thigh, so that you have one foot straight out in front of you and the other tucked in. It does not matter which leg you bend, and you can alternate between the two if you wish. Gradually, over time, the body will adjust and eventually you will find that you can bring both feet in at the same time, moving towards a cross-legged position. But there is no rush, so you can just let the body adjust in its own time.

There are a number of advantages to being able to sit cross-legged comfortably, so it is a useful thing to be working towards. See this lesson for more on whether to sit with cross legs or not, and how to go about it:

Lesson 33 - A New Way to Sit in Meditation

If you do want to add some asanas before sitting practices, to aid flexibility in the hips, then I would recommend butterfly (bhadrasana), and upavistha konasana, which is done by sitting on the floor with your legs apart and straight, letting your torso fall forwards, bending from the waist. In either pose, try not to have a fixed idea of how you should look, or feel in the pose. However it is for you right now, is as it should be.

Of course, there are many other asanas that aid with flexibility in the hip joints, but these are two easy ones that almost anyone can do with little discomfort.

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Posted - Aug 16 2020 :  10:59:41 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Welcome Adpa

Another way to sit more comfortably cross-legged is to sit on a thick bolster, blanket, or cushion. This allows your hips to tip forward and brings your knees closer to the floor, additionally takes your body weight off your feet.
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