Meditation For Dummies
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Some people have difficulty sitting and meditating for 10 or 15 minutes at a time, so if you’re not one of those people, you’re lucky! For those that do have trouble with back issues or discomfort while meditating, try these yoga poses to help prepare you. These stretches will open your hips and make them more flexible.

Lunge pose

Billed as a back stretch, this asana also opens your hips and groin. If you have time for only a few poses, combine this one with the Cat pose and Butterfly pose for a mini routine.

Follow these steps and enjoy the stretch:

  1. Begin on your hands and knees with your spine parallel to the floor and your arms and thighs perpendicular to the floor (like a four-legged animal).

  2. Move your left knee forward and place your left lower leg on the floor with your heel close to your right groin.

  3. Extend your right leg straight behind you with your knee facing downward.

  4. Sink your pubic bone toward the floor while lifting your chest gently upward and forward with your weight on your arms and right leg.

    Make sure that any torque in your bent leg occurs in the hip joint, not the knee. Feel the stretch in your lower back, in the hip joint of your bent leg, and in the groin, hip, and thigh of your straight leg.

  5. Hold the stretch for five to ten breaths; then repeat on the other side.

Butterfly pose

Especially challenging for runners and other athletes, this pose stretches the inner thigh, groin, and hip. As its name suggests, it gradually opens your “wings” and helps your knees reach the floor in cross-legged poses.

Do the stretch like this:

  1. Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you.

    If you have difficulty keeping your back straight, place a small cushion under your buttocks so that your pelvis tilts forward slightly.

  2. Bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet together with the outside edges of both feet on the floor.

  3. Clasping your hands together, grasp both feet, draw your heels in toward your groin, and gently press your knees toward the floor while extending your spine.

    Feel the stretch in your groin, thighs, hips, and lower back.

    Resist the temptation to bounce or force your legs. If your knees stick up in the air, don’t worry. It’s more important to keep your back straight than to touch the floor with your knees.

  4. Hold the stretch for five to ten breaths while breathing deeply into your abdomen.

  5. As you exhale, release your feet, extend your legs in front of you, and relax.

Cradle stretch

As the name may suggest, you cradle your leg in your arms as you would a baby, stretching and opening your hips in the process.

Follow these instructions with the careful attention of a loving mother:

  1. Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you.

  2. Bend one knee, rotate your thigh to the side, and cradle your lower leg in your arms. Keeping your hands clasped, hold your knee in the crook of one elbow and your foot in the crook of the other.

  3. Keeping your spine extended and your head erect, gently rock your leg horizontally from side to side, rotating at your hip.

  4. Continue this rocking motion for five to ten breaths, breathing deeply and smoothly; then gently put your leg down the same way you picked it up and do the same stretch with the other leg.

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