Introduction to Lower Body Abduction and Adduction
This simple yoga practice warms up and lubricates the hip joints. This warm up is extremely versatile and can be practiced standing, seated in a chair, or in a supine position.
The standing version of this warm up movement develops strength in the standing leg, the ankle, and the core, as well as the outer hip muscles of the lifted leg. It develops greater balance through dynamically drawing the leg to the side and then across the midline of the body.
The supine version (lying on the back with both knees bent and feet on the ground) warms up and strengthens the adductor muscles. You can add a component of core and hip flexor strength work by drawing your core muscles in and holding your pelvis steady as you do the leg movement.
The seated version is the least warming, but a useful way to lubricate the hip joint in abduction and adduction (plus hip flexion) in a chair-based practice.
This warm up prepares the hip joint for flexion, abduction, and adduction, making it a wonderful way to begin any yoga practice, especially a practice that contains many standing yoga poses.
How to Practice
- Start in your desired position: standing, supine, or seated. If you are in a supine position, you may find it more comfortable to start with both knees bent, with your feet flat on the floor.
- Bend one knee and bring it toward your chest. You may want to place your hand on the inside of the crook of your knee to guide your leg.
- Open your knee to the side, keeping the hips as still as possible. Do not force the joint, but rather follow the natural opening movement of your hip.
- You can either keep the knee where it is, or lower it down until your toes barely touch down on the ground.
- If you tapped the toes down, lift the foot back up, and then draw your knee across the midline of the body.
- Again, you can either keep your knee where it is, or try tapping the toe down with the leg crossed in front of you.
- Continue moving the leg back and forth, drawing the knee out to the side and back across the body in a straight line, tapping the toes down in the open and closed positions, if desired.
If practicing the standing version of this warm up movement, consider using a chair or wall for support. Rest your fingertips only on the wall or chair, so as not to distort the position of your standing side.
When lying on your back, you can add a component of core strengthening by moving your leg in and out on an exhalation, drawing your abdominal muscles in as you go. Try to minimize rotation in the spine as you perform this movement.
This is a great preparation for standing yoga poses, such as Warrior II, Triangle Pose, and Extended Side Angle. The standing version is a great prep for any standing balance yoga posture, such as Tree Pose, Half Moon Pose, and Warrior III.