On Wednesday I wrote about the importance of preserving spinal alignment to get the most of your side lying work. Once you have mastered the side lying position – here are a few of my favorite Yoga Tune Up® exercises to awaken, stabilize and strengthen your sides and hips.
1) Stimulate your lateral seam blind spots: Roll and awaken the tissues on your sides with a Coregeous ball. Roll up and down the side seam of your body, from upper arm to hip, rocking forward and backward to provide your sides with some feedback, not only from your bodyweight, the texture of the ball, but also with your ability to breathe on your side. Spend some time here, it feels wonderful!
2) Tubularize your core while side lying: Place a toted pair of YTU Therapy Balls of any size on your side waist and lay down. Attempt to contract your abdominals to “push” the therapy balls out. If executed well, the external oblique on the bottom side of your body will attempt to lift slightly away from the YTU balls. Do not worry if your side waist still has some physical contact with the balls – look for the engagement of your obliques and then relax. Repeat this several times and mentally note what each side feels like – is one side stronger, quicker to react, easier to engage? Tubularizing your core with a different orientation to gravity is a fantastic way to differentiate the imbalances between your sides and enhance your proprioceptive map. This activation will allow hip and leg movement to be much more efficient because stabilization will be optimal.
3) Rainbow Side leg Raises with Internal rotation: Lay on your side against the wall, with your spine and pelvis in a neutral position, like Tadasana (see picture). Maintain stability and your position against the wall while moving the top leg into as many positions as possible. Internally rotate your hip and focus on keeping toes turned down towards the floor to maximize hip strengthening. Try sliding the heel up the wall or moving the foot out in front of you. Move slowly and aim for control and stability to better target your core, gluteus medius, and tensor fascia latae muscles. Repeat several times and alternate to opposite side. Make it more challenging by adding a resistance band around the working foot and holding on with your hands.
An incredible amount of hip strengthening that can be attained if your side lying posture and core musculature work are all responsive. Next time you are in a barre or a pilates class and are asked to perform 5 or 45 repetitions, focus your attention on your posture and ability to stabilize. You will feel your efforts much sooner and with more efficiency. Enjoy your golden hips!