Now that we’re armed with a counter pose for hip work (it was Deer Pose in case you missed it), let’s add another hip opener to our arsenal. We’ve already got the Dragon Poses and Frog Pose, and now we’ll add Dragonfly Pose (sometimes known as Straddle Pose), a simple external rotation of the hips. Dragonfly opens up the knees and the backs of the thighs, but provides the greatest benefit to the hips and groin area. This pose can be especially frustrating for those yogis still struggling with a lack of flexibility as the adductor muscles (the muscles on the insides of the thighs and hips) will pull on the sitting bones, causing a backwards rotation when we want a forward one. Because of this, for anyone feeling this sensation (whether you lack flexibility or not) and especially those with sciatica, it is essential that the hips be propped forward with a pillow, rolled up blanket, or bolster. This can prevent an unnatural tilt on the pelvis which can aggravate the sciatic nerve.
From a sitting position, spread the legs as far as they will (comfortably) go. Again, those with tight muscles in their lower extremities will notice that their legs don’t move very far. That’s okay. Have patience here- the more this pose is practiced the easier it will become and the further you can go. Once the legs are straight, fold forward. Rest your weight into your hands, or rest the elbows on a bolster. The more advanced yogi will be able to fold onto their stomach and rest arms to the side. If there is any discomfort in the knees during the pose, try bringing the legs closer together and engaging the knee cap (this is done by flexing the muscles of the quadriceps). If the hamstrings are unbearably tight, bend both knees and place some padding underneath (pillow, towel, bolster, block etc) to take some stress out of those muscles.
For a nice twist, rest the right arm or hand near the right leg and reach the left arm up and over.
Remain in the pose for three to five minutes. Finish with the aforementioned Deer Pose, or just a simple round of windshield wipers. Enjoy this pose a few times a week.
Photo credit: www.yinyoga.com