If lotus pose is just not happening, and if all the hip-heavy poses in yoga drive you crazy.... ... you're not alone;) Tight hips are probably the biggest "tight complaint" in yoga second only to tight hamstrings. Hamstrings tend to open up pretty quickly, but hips? They can be really stubborn.
Here's why: The hamstrings are a group of three muscles on the backs of each leg. They are big and strong, but pretty easy to isolate and train for mobility.
Compare that to your hips. They are huge joints with dozens of connection tissues and muscles involved in their wide range of motion. These tissues are very difficult to train in isolation, so long-hold, passive poses are often needed to work multiple tissues simultaneously.
Here are my three top hip-opening tips.
#1. Long Holds Rule
When we train hip mobility, we do 2-5 minute holds. Anything less is just a warm up. You need "time under passive tension" to affect change.
#2. Meet or Beat Your Hold Time
Left unchecked, your body will succumb to inertia... meaning it will happily keep you exactly where you are today in terms of mobility. In order to have a breakthrough, you have to override that inertia by using a stopwatch. "Meet or beat" means that if you hold for 2 minutes today, tomorrow you need to hold for at least 2 minutes - or more.
#3. Nose to Mouth Breathing, 4:8
Your nervous system is about 50% of the flexibility equation. If your nervous system is panicked (as is often is in deep stretches), your body won't allow you to change your tissues. Inhale through your nose for four, exhale out the mouth for eight with a 'haa' sound, and it will very quickly stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system and help you to turn off your stretch reflex.
I hope these #tips are #helpful!