how to become a yoga instructorBy Faye Martins

Let’s say you’re a yoga instructor who never gets questions about hip pain. My guess is your students are fairly young and haven’t experienced pains and aches that come with age and skeletal health. If you never covered maintenance and prevention for hip health during your 200-hour yoga teacher training course, it’s time to dust off your instructor manual and write a new chapter.

Hip joint pain can be caused by arthritis, injury or trauma to the hips. Many people suffer a great deal of pain in their hips. The solution, however, is not to rest the hip, but rather to keep it moving. Yoga training keeps the body limber and agile by stretching the muscles and ligaments to encourage the body to produce more joint lubrication. The more you stretch your hip joints, the better they will feel. If you stop practicing, you will find that over time the stiffness and pain will return. Any series of poses will benefit the hips and there are also a few specific poses that focus on opening the hips.

Bound Angle Pose

Place the soles of your feet together, pulling them as close to the pelvis as possible. Allow your knees to “float” comfortably with the ultimate goal of pushing them close to the floor. Breathe deeply as you sit in bound angle for up to five minutes. Try it throughout the day as you are watching television or having a bit of down time.

Happy Baby Pose

Release your cares and your hips as you lie on your back, grabbing each big toe with your forefinger and thumb. Allow your hips to open and your knees to splay. Concentrate on lengthening the spine as you push the thighs out and down. Hold Happy Baby pose for about one minute.

Extended Triangle Pose

A wide-legged stance and a focus on keeping the hips squared as the upper body reaches toward the ceiling provides a wonderful stretch to the hip joints. Exercise caution when coming out of this pose. Students can use props if necessary, or rest their lower hand on the thigh or calf instead of the ankle or floor.

Marichi’s Pose

This seated twist provides a gentle stretch to the hips and buttocks that leaves you craving more. Marichi’s pose also helps elongate the spine, giving it a gentle twist.

Reclining Big Toe Pose

Use a strap for this pose as you lie flat on your back and bring one leg at a time towards the body. Keep the toes pointed forward toward the head or turn the leg out so the toes face away from the body. This will bring the stretch more directly to the hip joint.

One-Legged King Pigeon Pose

Pigeon pose is a wonderfully intense way to target the hip joints one at a time. It takes practice and stamina to be able to hold the pose for up to a minute, but working your way to that will feel good and open up the hips.


As a yoga teacher it’s well worth your time to prepare for the unexpected. Paul had a yoga instructor workshop with two former gymnasts in attendance – both had arthritis and both were in their 20’s. Why? I don’t have medical proof, but repetitive motion seems a likely suspect.

© Copyright 2012 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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