My 22 year old equestrian student Lindsay came to yoga for the first time with a “bum” right hip. She’d fallen off her horse onto that hip at age 13. Fortunately no bones were broken.  In the years since her accident, Lindsay’s hip feels sore, weak and vulnerable while riding. She also experiences quite a bit of hip discomfort on long flights, sitting for extended class sessions, or while driving. Lindsay assumed that someday she’d “have to have a hip replacement and already felt as if her body was old.”

Furthermore, as she described to me the coordinated movement a rider and their horse requires, she taught me how crucial a balanced seat on the horse can be to the quality of the ride, and the sensitive response of the 1000 pound horse to her asymmetrical seat. Essentially, while riding her beloved horse Magic, she told me, “When I’m not balanced, Magic is not balanced!”

Along with Lindsay’s increased awareness of her posture, core muscles, and poised alignment, one of Lindsay’s favorite Yoga Tune Up ® poses is Hip Hikers on all Fours. Through practicing Hip Hikers, Lindsay has strengthened and toned both sides of her gluteal muscles.

Read about Dynamic Stretching.

Watch our Free 5-Minute Quickfix: Hips Video

Learn about our Self Massage Therapy Ball Programs.

Over the course of the semester with regular practice in class and at home, Lindsay reported that her hip is not bothering her anymore.  Additionally, Lindsay has enjoyed Yoga Tune Up® therapy ball massage, not only for her own self-care, but for Magic, her wonderful horse (see the pictures below)!

Lindsay uses Yoga Tune Up® therapy ball to massage her horse

Lindsay & Magic

Bonnie Golden

Bonnie is extremely proud to be a licensed Yoga Tune Up® teacher, and joyfully shares the work of Yoga Tune Up®. She also holds her 200 hour RYT certification from Tias LIttles’ Prajna Yoga, and successfully completed Relax and Renew® training with Judith Lasater and Roger Cole in 2005. Her 30 years of teaching adults is infused with her own love of lifelong learning, and she will always be a student of yoga, meditation, and life. For more about me or to view my Yoga Tune Up® class schedule go here.

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Annie

Great story and video for the hips Thank you ?

Jamie Walsh

Awesome story about balance.

I love the pictures of her at the end using the balls on the horse.

Patricia Lamontagne

As a dressage rider myself, I spend more than 400 hours a year (for more than 20 years) in the saddle and I ride big horses (1500 to 2000 pounds). My hips are very sore, and I mean it. So I’ll give a try to this exercise as soon as I can.

Oh … and I also use my Yoga Tune Up balls on my horse too !

Melissa Williams

OMG I have not seen this exercise yet. I am stoked to try it. I think this will be great for the scoliosis in my lumbar and the way it offsets my pelvis. Thanks you!

Lindsay

I cannot explain how much I can identify with Lindsay’s story, down to her name, the time of my equestrian injury, the type of injury, the fall out of the injury, ect ect. Just replay Magic’s name with Pride. Even as a yoga instructor myself, I have still struggled with this injury since I was 12, which is more year that I care to admit to. I have started doing this pose for the last few nights and can already feel it doing work. This combined with the information learned through the YTU L1 program, I am excited to see… Read more »

Bonnie

Thank you so much for reading!

Ann Taylor Lashbrook

I love these hip hikers! And when I saw Lindsay use the YTU therapy balls on her horse I get a little misty eyed! What amazing work you did to allow her to continue her sport, you can see the connection she has with Magic. It would be such a loss if her lack of glute strength got in the way of that love! I love theraputics when they allow people do what they love! Thanks for the difference you make it is so much more than glute activation!

Terry Littlefield

Okay. This is so cool. I mean really. Yay for Magic receiving YTU ball therapy. And yay for Lindsay to have healed her hip using YTU therapy. This video is a great reminder that the stable hip is the one working, not the hip that is actually in motion. Think Moon Rises… And the asymmetry certainly adds some joy! With self care on a daily basis, it is possible to heal. It saddens me that so many people are out there living with chronic pain due to lack of knowledge or sometimes lack of willingness to heal. When people have… Read more »

Laura McIntire

That’s one lucky horse. The hip hiker pose is similar to the moon rises pose in that it appears that the free hip is doing all the work when really that is a distraction while the closed chain hip is working hard.

Peggy Sue Honeyman-Scott

This looks like a simple exercise and it is, but VERY effective. I have included it into my daily routine.

Dinneen

This is such a terrific post. I love that Lindsay took the balls to care for Magic! Lucky horse to have such an empathic, healing rider and friend. I have a colleague who practices and has taught Cranio Sacral Therapy for the past 30 years. He is very accomplished and very intuitive healer and one of his specialties is Equine Therapy. You can find him here: http://www.lyonsinstitute.net/

Dee

I tend to have weak gluteus muscles, possible related to my sitting cross-legged on the floor for hours each day for my job. I can really feel the work of my gluteus muscles during this block exercise. Simple, but effective!

Pat Donaher

It’s crazy to me that at age 22 a generally healthy athlete can think she’s doomed to a hip replacement. Another reasons we need this kind of work. I love the idea of the balls on the horse- I’ll try it on my cat, though I’m not expecting the same optimal results…

Teresa Heit-Murray

I tried this hip and gluteal muscle exercise. I did feel it more in the leg on the block. This seems like a very accessible pose for most people. Thanks for sharing it.

Allyson

I love this! I wonder if the ytu balls would be beneficial and soothing to dogs & cats too? (If they would sit still long enough!)

Tamara Z

Hip balance is one of those things often sacrificed for the sake of “hitting the pose.” Thank you for this great exercise and reminder for us to bring attention to our hips.

lisa Moontague

Loved the pictures of Lindsay massaging Magic!

Bonnie

I too love hip hikers! So accessible to so many and very effective at the same time. And Magic really loved the massage from Lindsay!

bo

I have to send this link to my mom. She has always had hip issues which have only been exacerbated by back issues in recent years. She is an equestrian, and the only reason she does not ride every day is because she spends all of her time caring for her horse buddies. I am guessing she will find the idea of using massage balls on a horse more interesting than the self care exercise, but you never know!

Susan McGurn

I have been in this industry for quite a few years and have grown up with my fellow fitness instructors. It is amazing how many
of them are going to have or had some type of hip replacement or surgery. I have tried hip hikers and it felt great and I am a devoted yoga tune-up believer. I wish I found yoga tune-up sooner and may have been able to help my fellow instructors
avoid surgery. As for the balls on the horse Yeah!!!

Christine

I have several equestrian clients, all of whom came to me complaining about hip pain and how their trainers tried to correct their riding seat in ways that resulted in further contortions. A few rounds of hip bikers later (a very few–none of them could believe how exhausting this exercise was) and they couldnt believe they were pain free and how much their riding had improved. Hip bikers is the magic bullet for any horsewoman or man.

Tamara Z

I just found out that I need to be stretching my hips more, so I will be trying the demo moves soon. Thank you.

Susan Stansbury

This is great. Even, balanced alignment is so important to so much our body, yet seems so hard for many.
This really helps. Susan

Susan Cooper

Thanks for a great demonstration on how to balance out our hips. My third child is always wanting to be held, so I could really use some hip balancing myself!

Greta

Thanks for this! I usually do some type of squatting excercise for my glutes which is hard on my knees. I like this as an alternative!

Jad

In regards to the lifted leg, the amount of abduction is minimal. What benefit would be realized from doing more abduction? It would seem that more of the internal rotators would work harder.

Lauren Iden

I love this. We often focus on healing other humans, but forget about our furry friends that are in need of therapy, too. Especially since they provide so much therapy for us!

Nui K

Good inspiration! You and the horse looked calm and peaceful using theYoga tune up® ball on the the horse’s neck and gluteal muscles. Hip Hiker is a great info for toning the external & internal rotator of the hip.

Karen

Looks like the horse loves the yoga tune-up balls too!

scott

the hip hikers, QL was a huge discovery for me.

Sharon

It’s stories like this that make me love yoga even more.

Steve

Yogic equininity, excellent!

Joe Matson

I should try the Hip Hikers too