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WATER MANDALA (Hip Openers) with Laura Harvey

These days in the west, most of our hips are tight. Mainly that's caused by sitting on chairs, but also many of our activities when we do exercise only serve to tighten the hips – think of cycling, walking or running. We don’t have many exercises which focus on the mobility of the hips. Which is why yoga is so very powerful as an antidote to all those chairs, that running, and our sedentary lifestyle.

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When our hips are less mobile, it means that we no longer have the option to squat or sit cross legged, so we’re more likely to sit on chairs, which is the worst thing for the hips, and tight hips, together with tight hamstrings and weak stomach muscles are a cause of lower back pain. So when we keep our hip joints mobile, together with stretching the hamstrings, we know we’re reducing the strain on the lower back. 

If you have long days spent in a seated position, if you need to drive a lot, or you’ve had a sedentary lifestyle, chances are your hips will be tight - and where muscles are bigger, hips are frequently tighter, so many men suffer from stiff hips.

The golden rule is to go slow, start slowly and carefully. You need to remember that in many poses, if your hips are tight and you try to force things, you’ll put the strain into the knee. Ouch!!!! So don’t push anything, less is more. But when your hips come alive, you’ll find so much less pain in the back, but you’ll also start to feel a magical freedom through the body. Yes, the latin Americans and those from the Caribbean do know how to free their hips, and I think we could all learn a lesson or two!