Free Download! The Power of Hip-Opening Poses: Keys to Teaching & Practicing - An Interview with Master Teacher Natasha Rizopoulos

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Natasha Rizopoulos

Natasha Rizopoulos As a dedicated Ashtanga practitioner for many years, Natasha is equally captivated by the precision of the Iyengar system. These two traditions inform her teaching, creating a mindful and dynamic blend of Vinyasa Flow.  Now a Senior Teacher with Down Under Yoga, and a writer, teacher, and DVD...

Hip openers are an incredibly powerful group of poses which can have numerous spillovers into other aspects of our yoga practice, says master teacher Natasha Rizopoulos in this free download. Unfortunately, because many of us live a sedentary lifestyle, many people come to class with very tight hips, which cause restrictions in numerous poses.

In this free talk, master teacher Natasha Rizopoulos examines the role hip opening poses can play in reclaiming this part of our body and progress faster in our practice.  

In yoga, we sometimes get fixated on only a couple of aspects of hip opening, Natasha notes. But hip opening means that you have work on improving range of motion in every single direction your hip is supposed to move in. And, because the hip joint is a ball and socket joint, that means all planes of motion.

So, to be complete, Natasha explains, hip opening must focus on numerous factors. This includes hip flexion. In order to have good hip flexion, you have to have length in your hamstrings. We also need to focus on hip extension, which means you need to lengthen the hip flexors.

Adduction is another important component of hip opening. When you abduct the leg, the outer hip engages. But in order to adduct, you need to have strength in the outer hip and length in the inner thigh.

These are all the different elements that needs to be included when we focus on hip opening, Natasha notes. But for the most part, people have a narrow idea of what actual hip opening is. So when we teach hip opening, it’s important to be explicit so that people understand that each element we talk about is just one piece of an eight-sided object.

Natasha also touches on the importance of Pigeon Pose, an incredibly powerful pose, both in terms of the emotional breakthroughs that can happen in this pose. This is also a physically very demanding pose, which needs to be very specifically taught and propped to avoid injuries.

In addition, Natasha addresses how she has synthesized elements from both Iyengar and Ashtanga yoga to teach her signature style, called “Align Your Flow.” The emphasis in this approach to practice, she explains, is to use the physical alignment as a way of focusing the mind and really engaging with what you’re doing on your mat to be fully, fully present. It is almost like a spiritual alignment that happens, she explains: it’s a way in which you find your central axis not just physically but also in every other way.

Also check out Natasha's YogaUOnline course: Hip Opening from the Ground Up - Sequencing for Healthy Hips.