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Do you even Hinge?

Standing Forward Folds are a huge part of any Vinyasa Flow class & you might often hear "Hinge from your hips" being thrown around constantly by your teacher.


It's all with good reason but it's often misunderstood & not heard.


When you first step onto the mat or you've been doing the same familiar movement for so long, it's not always easy to know if your actually "hinging from the hips" & doing it "right".


WHY?

Well its main purpose it to actually protect your lower back from excessive strain whilst executing a forward fold. Plus, when you actually fold from the hips & not dive down with your head & upper back, you might get more depth in your fold!


HOW?

The fun bit...finding your hips & feeling the pivot point! It's not always as easy as it sounds, especially if your body is now accustomed to an action. So I've come up with a few tips & tricks to help you discover how to safely hinge. In a non Yogic term, you want to feel like your sticking your bottom out!

“Yoga is not about touching your toes; it’s about what you learn on the way down.” Jigar Gor
 

5 TOP TIPS


1. Find your hip bones

From a seated position, bring your hands onto your hips to find the front of your hip bones. Start to make a seated cat & cow & begin to notice how the pelvis & frontal hip bones move. On Cat (rounding of spine) your hip bones tilt up & your pelvis rocks forward & on cow (arching of spine) your hip bones tilt forwards as your pelvis rocks back.

Then try to establish this action & feel from standing (have a slight bend in your knees & your feet hip width apart)

As you forward fold you want to feel the action of the hip bones tilting forwards like the action of cow.


2. Shifting your weight

So your standing & you've found the movement of the hips. Your hips are your axel point, where you hinge from. So with that movement in mind, you need to add a shift of weight forwards into your balls of your feet.

As you rock the hip bones forward (cow) slightly lift the heels to shift more weight into the front of your foot & tilt your upper body forward slightly with a straight back.

This is your hinge point & the initial movement that needs to be instigated on entry into your forward fold.


3. Folding

Now, with all of that in mind start to bring your body further forwards into a tabletop position with your hands at heart centre. Take a deep breath in to circle your arms over head & as you exhale bring your hands down to heart centre & start to "hinge from your hips"

Bringing all of the movement of the hips & pelvis & the shifting of weight into action with the arms, resembling a sun salutation.


5. Surrender

Putting it all together now. At the depth of your fold surrender over your legs, allowing the spine to curve (if comfortable & you dont have a fused spine) as you bend your knees deeper, whilst lifting your tailbone to the ceiling . Let your head hang heavy at the bottom.

Remembering its more important to move safely in and out of the fold rather than the depth of the fold.


 

So here's hoping these tips help you in your next forward fold but don't forget there are so many other aspects that contribute to the ease & depth of your posture. Hamstring & calf flexibility, hip mobility & spine health all play a role too.


Therefore even if you don't get more depth, you know your making healthier more mindful choices for your back.

 

If you want to learn more about correct alignment & break down postures in more detail our "Beginners Flow" is the class for that! Helping you to move safety & more confidently through your flow.


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