Stretching the hip flexor

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This picture was taken by a friend in 2009. It’s one of my first pictures of myself doing yoga. It was too cold in this room. In addition I couldn’t warm up. Nevertheless an urdhva dhanurasana was possible. I wanted to check if my body was ready to drop back. This picture helped me to learn the next tiny steps.

The legs are almost in line with the body. The hip flexors are not really bendy. Of course. My practice was primary, primary, primary, forward bending, forward bending, forward bending……….I’m convinced that one should start with second Ashtanga series much earlier than it ist the rule today.

By now I work on stretching the hip flexors. I integrate the splits into my daily practice. I usually exercise the splits before utthita hasta padangusthasana. This pose and the following are standing splits. They are also balancing asanas. Not much stretching happens, my body needs resistance in order to stretch.

I also exercise the splits before ustrasana.


It’s very important to be careful and attentive. It’s much better to exercise this asana on a daily basis than to force the body into the split. Quickly one gets injured.

The legs are engaged and pull to the center. I twist the body slightly to stretch the hip flexor of the left leg a tiny bit more. The blocks help to keep the body upright. In order to stretch the body effectively it’s necessary to hold the body at least 1 minute. Five breaths are not enough. The body must feel safe, then it’s possible to get deeper into a pose. When I started with the splits I sat on three blocks. I also couldn’t hold this asana for 1 minute. Progress comes slowly, but it comes.

This is one of my daily preparation for urdhva dhanurasana. If you’re a stiff person urdhva dhanurasana is a challenging asana.

There are a lot more asanas that stretch the hip flexors. One must find an exercise that one loves to do. Then it’s not boring.