Body, Mind, Spirit Magazine

Free Yoga Friday: Heavenly Hips

By Anytimeyoga @anytimeyoga

The Practice: Heavenly Hips with Rachel Scott at DoYogaWithMe.com

Physical/Instructional Parameters: Usually, when DoYogaWithMe labels a practice as “intermediate,” I can take the full expression of each pose offered and not find it to be a problem. It may be vigorous, yes, but I don’t generally find myself going, ‘I need a child’s pose.” This time, I found myself: 1) wanting, if not to outright drop to child’s pose, to skip a couple vinyasas; 2) physically unable to enter the fullest expressions of three offered poses. If you feel like you might be teetering on the edge of what various places call “beginner” versus “intermediate,” it might make sense to try this class first (and guest review it here, because this is good advice I obviously did not take the first time around!). That said, in a lot of the poses, Rachel offers a variety of options, so it is not strictly necessary that someone — even someone in the same physical shape — have the same experience I had. (I tend to get carried away with hip practices, the reasons for which I will attempt to explain later.) All that said, a lot of the instructions are aimed at refining the poses; they do tend to assume that one understands most common poses’ basic structures.

Props: Blocks are shown at the beginning of the practice, and modifications using blocks are offered several times throughout. I don’t own blocks but wish I did for this. Additionally, I wanted a rolled blanket for most of the seated work.

Run Time: 78 minutes


A fair number of times, when I review a practice, I end up with a take away that while Example Practice A is a good, well-planned sequence, but it just isn’t for me. This time, my bottom line is that while I really love this video — I like energetic hip-opening practices about as much as I like back bending sequences, which is a lot — it may or may not make everyone else’s list of favorites.

For starters, as I previously mentioned, the instructional cues assume that folks are familiar with a lot of more common yoga poses (e.g., various sun salutes and warriors). With the pace of the class being on the faster side, there’s often not a whole lot of time to check out the screen before the flow moves on to the next pose — so this might not be the first choice for someone who needs more detailed instruction.

Additionally, while Rachel offers lots of modifications: 1) some of the modifications are in themselves poses that can be pretty intense, and; 2) some of the modifications are only explained once, and then it’s on you to remember and apply. I’ve tried the class a few times, taking different options each time, and it actually worked out beautifully for me — but I could see where this might work best for folks who are already comfortable implementing their own modifications. In particular, I’m going to recommend that folks trying this might want to know how they best do sun salute A, sun salute B, and side plank since all of these are repeated in the practice.

Otherwise, it might be best to give at least a somewhat detailed overview of the entire class:

  1. Warm Up — Some seated hip circles, cat/cow, down dog, and forward fold.
  2. Sun Salutes — 3 sun salute As, 2 sun salute Bs, with the following modifications explicated the first time around:
    • chaturanga with knees up or down
    • cobra or up dog
    • step or hop from down dog into forward fold
  3. Various standing sequences, in and out of downward facing dogs and/or vinyasas:
    • plank crunch, warrior two, devotional warrior
    • side plank, low lunge
    • warrior two, side angle, half moon, high lunge lizard, arm balance prep
    • full side plank with the option to modify
  4. Standing sequence — chair, standing figure four, warrior three, high lunge twist, what Rachel terms “awkward pigeon” but which I can best portray as this version of lizard, half or full hanumanasana.
  5. Eka pada galavasana with various prep pose stages.
  6. Cool Down Sequence: half lord of the fishes, cow face (legs only), fire logs, reclined twist, savasana

Personally, I leave this practice feeling like I have really worked into my hips in a way that I don’t when the hip opening sequences is on the slower and less sweaty end of things. Particularly given all the options for modifying, I’m sure it’s a practice I will come back to again and again.


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