Square And Frog Pose:
The Only Hip Openers You Really Need
Hip openers are a common subject among yoga practitioners since inflexible hips make many postures hard, painful, or even impossible to achieve. It is something we should aim to stretch daily but often have no enough time to do so. It is because with all of our training and daily responsibilities, giving our hips an entire sequence can take too much time to be consistent with.
For this reason, it is good to choose just a few hip openers which target most of our hips when trained together, and which need only 5-10 minutes to finish.
Since you are doing only two poses, it is important that those are hard enough to challenge your hips but also easy enough to modify based on your needs and level of practice. The frog and square pose both fulfill this request and is also a great choice because it’s easy to track your progress with them. They don’t require much space and can be done anywhere. Performing a few sun salutations prior to warm-up would be good.
1. Frog Pose
It is an inner thigh stretch and can get very uncomfortable. Therefore, go only as far as your body allows; don’t over sprain because it could very easily lead to injury.
You start the pose in a tabletop position and slowly widen your knees to the side. Your calf and feet should touch the floor. You can use the wall and push your feet against it to be sure they are parallel to thighs.
When ready, place your elbows on the floor or a yoga block. You can roll the sides of your mat towards the middle for more support for your knees or even put pillows or a blanket under. Do three series of one-minute stretch with a little rest in between, or stay static in the pose from 3 to 5 minutes. Decide if you want it to work your muscles or deeper connective tissues. If you’re going to stretch your muscles, then they must be active, need warmup prior and can be contracted at periods. If you want to make the deeper connective tissues, such as joints more flexible, you should practice with cold muscles, completely relaxed. Feel free to try different stretch techniques every day for faster results.
2. Square Pose
It is another intense hip opener as it is aimed to work out the outer thighs and gluteus. It is often mentioned as one of the best preparatory poses for a full lotus.
Sit on the floor with knees bent in front of you. With bent legs, place the right knee on the floor, similar to the crossed leg position. Place the ankle of the left leg on the right knee and try to open the left knee towards the right ankle. At first, it will be impossible to touch the foot; but with time, you will notice that your knee is going lower and lower. You can lightly push the knee down but be cautious; you shouldn’t feel any pain in the knee. Keep your back flat and stay in the pose from 30 seconds to one minute and repeat on the other side. Do this three times on each side.