Earlier this week, I covered some unwelcome consequences of losing your awareness of a neutral pelvis and promised a tip for peeling away the head of the femur bone from the front rim of your hip socket. This practice has allowed me to retrain my perception to accept nothing less than a balanced pelvis for sitting and standing and has educated many of my students on how to target a neutral pelvis for supine positions. With that information, students then graduate the knowledge into standing postures and movement off of their mats. It is one of my favorites to share, practice and observe in my own work.
The “Looped Strap Hip Opener” allows you to feel the femur being drawn away from the hip socket as your pelvis, particularly your sacrum, is felt in contact with the floor. This contact enables you to harness any unconscious movement in the tilt of the sacrum and, in turn, the whole pelvis. This harnessing of movement creates and maintains pelvic neutral for effective hip opening and a big boost in proprioception of the hip joint.
You will need two straps for this hip opening stretch. If you do not have two, you could use a necktie or jump rope as a substitute for one of the straps. Check out the hip exercise video below for the stretch!
That stretch looks yummy. I bet it feels amazing. As I am in my own journey to improve posture and alignment I plan to incorporate this into my practice! I appreciate that you mentioned that I don’t have to have my raised leg straight because I was worried for a second there! Can’t wait to try!
Great way to achieve the benefits of a depress and compress assist when working solo!
I love how you used two straps to create a closed chain movement. I have done a similar pose in attempt to achieve this however not with your set up. I am looking forward to trying this.
Interesting! I can’t wait to try this!
Wow! I’ve just recently come to realize how tight my hips are and I can’t wait to try this hip opener! Thanks for this post!
I love the use of props to get me into a position that I would struggle to get into on my own. Thank you for sharing this- I will incorporate it into my routine!
I love the idea of self-assisting using two straps. This video first taught me a new way of utilising our props and second, inspires me to be creative with our knowledge and tools! Thanks!
Interesting. I’ll give a shot. Thanks for sharing.
What a good use of the two yoga straps, I’m excited to try this myself! I tend to hike up or elevate my hips at times in this stretch – this is a useful self-assist to gain more proprioception of the depression of the lifted leg. Thanks for the tip!
I like your use of two straps to help achieve neutrality in the pelvis – even hips and a level sacrum. It’s a self-assist that’s like an adjusted assist by a teacher. My only criticism is your choice of language at one point in the video: “…the sensation of peeling the head of my femur bone out of my hip socket.” … NO! You do NOT want to peel your femoral head out of your hip socket! However, you DO want to use the straps to help you to depress the flexed hip, to move it into a more neutral and even arrangement with the neutral/straight-legged hip and achieve evenness in the sacroiliac joints.
Thanks for this great pose, it felt amazing. I really appreciated the quick chat about the knee bend and working within your range; sometimes we compromise other areas just to try to achieve a fully extended knee like in pictures or videos at the sake of our body or benefit of the pose.
Wow! Great hip opener!! I tried this immediately and loved the feeling of its effects. What a great way to help open the hip joint, but also to increase one’s proprioception of the hip joint, and sense of a neutral pelvis.
Thank you for making this demo video. I followed your instructions and loved the way this opened my hip. I intend to try this out with my students.
Thanks, Kate! I’ve improved my sacral stability with another modality, but am looking forward to adding this to my repertoire and see if I can discover more awareness of the sacrum and neutral pelvis.
This hip stretch is great. Having two straps is key. It feels similar to getting an assisted stretch. So great to be able to do this when you are by yourself for some happy hip opening self care.
I like how this feels and how it’s a way to determine if the pelvis is “neutral”, so hard to tell sometimes. Plus it feels better the longer you stay in the pose.
Finding and maintaining neutral pelvis is one of my areas to work on. I’ve done the Alpha ball on the sacrum which I love and will try the Looped Strap Hip Opener today. Thanks!
This is a great technique to teach a client for self-practice and self-care which is the ultimate goal. Thank you for this video. It is definitely worth archiving and keeping in the toolbox.
This is a wonderful idea for a self-assist! So many people lack awareness of their pelvis and what it means to maintain a neutral pelvis. The hip depression created by the tension of the strap also feels great! Thank you for this video!
Awesome! I have never done this stretch before and after a week of sitting too much closing the quarter this was perfect. Thank you for such a thoughtful approach. I love that I can do this at home with a strap – great self assist!
Great stretch! Ive never seen this one before. I will use it my YTU classes when I begin teaching! I love how you use the strap as an assist…it would be great for a busy class and also really focusing on that neutral spine
Great blog post Kate. Who needs an assistant with a second strap when you can work both straps yourself. I really enjoyed trying this after reading your article and feeling a delicious opening at the top of the femur. The video and your clear instruction were much appreciated.
This is amazing- I am going to add this pose to my softball (and hockey) athletes programs. Thanks!
un bon exercice a essayer
Wow this stretch really does wonders for my tight hips. I could fee the preconception received from this stretch and the fact that it allows you to generate the effect of a hip depression assist. I will come back to this stretch often as my hips are very tight and will use this as a hip opener.
This is great correction and something to build awareness. During the course of a yoga class while making adjustments I notice this in people who hyperextend there knees in postures. As soon as you have someone micro bend there knees to correct, you then have to address the hips. Also you see this in those who have lots of flexibility in there lumbar spine. Thanks for the video I’ll have to try it with people.
WoW! Génial ce truc avec les courroies pour garder le épines iliaques bien parallèles! Je vais l,utiliser pour les étirements des ischios jambiers. Un gros merci
This is wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing this exercise. I am constantly on the quest for my perfect neutral pelvis. I have always appreciated the idea of centering the femur in the middle of the socket, but never felt like I had the awareness to actually sense when I was doing it! Thanks!
This looks super yummy, I can’t wait to try it!
Thank you so much for posting this! When I take poses like this I usually feel a compression in the hip crease of whichever hip I’m flexing, but this prevented that and my pelvis didn’t fly all over the place. I found the strap in the hip crease and around the foot the most helpful because the front of the leg that’s long on the floor couldn’t grip. Would using a strap in the hip creases help with range of motion and prevent gripping in standing forward folds as well?
I couldn’t resist trying the stretch after reading your blog and watching your video. I love the preconception received from this stretch, and that fact that you can generate the effect of a hip depression assist. My students will love this, I can’t wait to share it with them!
Thanks for such a great technique to develop our proprioception. Your video instruction was so clear and crisp, I actually winced and felt the stretch when you said to ‘depress the gas pedal’ with your left toes’. I am trying to be so aware of hip alignment for myself, this is another great assist for myself (easy to see in everyone else!).
Great post! I will come back to this video often in my study of the human body. I appreciate Kate giving me the opportunity to learn what is happening anatomically. I also find this move to be efficient in that it is combining a few different techniques to encourage better communication within the body’s tissues, such as closing the chain of the extended leg to increase the feedback in that limb, and then putting it to work in a positive atmosphere by PNF contractions.
Awesome. Using the straps to make this a close-chain exercise that focus entirely on the hip-joint socket to bring proprioceptive awareness of the head of the femur and it’s current relationship to the acetabulum helps to self-correct poor positioning of of the hip-joint. Gas pedal press — my new favorite description for plantar flexion!
Creating space at my hips is such a personal struggle for me, so the moment I saw the title of this post, I KNEW I had to read it. The most empowering thing about this post is that you can do everything with nothing more than a ball and a towel and that the results are immediate. I’ve only performed it once, but am interested to see where doing this on the regular takes me.
Whoa! I loved the first article you’d posted a few days ago but this video…Wow! so many levels of proprioception available here with this one and boy does it do the trick with the front of the femur! love the two strap idea so this can be a self-realized adventure rather than one experienced only with the help of a physical assist. So good…thank you so much!
You had me at “hip opener”. After reading your article, I immediately tried this for myself (I have chronic discomfort in my left hip joint & often have the sensation that the head of my femur is forward of the acetabulum) and couldn’t wait to teach it to my Pilates clients (who often have trouble sensing this in such exercises as “Footwork” & “LegStraps/Springs or finding neutral pelvis to begin a Roll Down and then moving the pelvis (posterior tilt) around the head of the femur to roll down & up). What was amazing to me was that I was finally able to get a static stretch in the “belly” of my left hamstring and not irritate the origin at the ischial tuberosity and lower glute area. I’m sure this is because of being in neutral pelvis and the head of the femurs position in the hip joint. I could also feel the difference in my sitting posture (less strain in my glutes & low back) and an ease in my walk and hip hinge movements. I then shared this with a few clients. Not only did it clarify the sensation of the femur moving in the hip joint, it clarified neutral pelvis for them. I then had them experience the sensation in the above mentioned Pilates exercises. Thanks a bunch.
What a great feeling! To be able to release the tension that I hold in my hips so easily was refreshing and a relief.
Somehow this also helped to relieve the lower lumbar pain that I have had since pulling my back out yesterday. So perhaps by creating space in the hip and balancing my pelvis this too impacts the lower lumbar by releasing any compressions.
I’m going to lay down and try this again and add some gentle abdominal work too for that lower lumbar!
I look forward to teaching this one!
After reading this post I ran to my yoga room to try this immediately. The sensation was just what I expected – the best feeling of openness in the front of my hips in a long time. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I chronically have the “pinching” sensation in the front of my hips when in lunges, and I know I need to be cautious/mindful about this developing into future problems with the labrum, etc. I followed your pose with a wide-knee supine twist and the front of my hips feel more open, and my pelvis more neutral, than they have in a while. This is at the top of my list for new favorite poses. Thank you!!!
I have so many of these bad postural habits, and I’m trying hard to correct them. Not sure open sesame will work for me with a painful shoulder, but rolling out on a pair of balls on a regular basis can be a big help. Just being more aware helps so much.
I cannot wait to teach this to my students. I taught something similar the other night since it was requested, but I really like this version of it and I really liked the gas pedal allusion for the foot on the straight leg. I myself need this hip opener as my sitting and standing posture need quite a bit of work, but at least I know it!
What a great technique for experiencing the sensation of moving the head of the femur in the hip socket without needing an assist from someone else! One of the things I’m enjoying the most about YTU is the great assists that are available, but if you’re practicing alone, there’s no one to provide those for you. Using yoga straps to essentially simulate the effects of an assist is a great idea. Personally, keeping my raised leg hip from hiking into elevation in the Leg Stretch positions is difficult, but the additional awareness that the strap will bring to the hip will probably help a lot with that. Thanks for sharing this great idea!
I was so looking forward to your follow-up to your last post and love, love, love this recommended “Looped Strap Hip Opener” stretch! Being a teacher and someone who practices regularly at home, it’s hard to always know if my pelvis is neutral. I’m excited to incorporate this into my practice and build my proprioception of my sacrum and pelvis in neutral. Bonus that it looks like it feels incredible. It’s just like receiving a sweet hip depression assist in Leg Stretch #3!