The title doesn’t do this exercise justice to the depth of what this really does, but looking at this as a “hip stretch” is one of the doorways you can go through to understand and navigate how you can use this position to heal and restore your body.
For those of you who are members, depending on where you are in the online program, you’ll recognize this position.
Here’s a visual to help you connect the dots with what’s happening here.
Over 15-30 minutes, this position resets and restores the length of the hip flexor causing a chain reaction throughout the entire body.
As the hip flexor of the straight leg on the ground lengthens and releases, rotation and torque are taken out of that leg and hip.
Once that happens, the pelvis gently tilts back and the lumbar spine soon follows this pelvic change by releasing and dropping towards a more neutral position closer to the ground.
This lumbar change then causes the thoracic (mid back) to go into extension further and open up.
When the mid back opens up, this simultaneously allows the shoulder blades to release, retract, and settle slowly towards the ground.
When the shoulders release and open up, this then asks and prompts the cervical spine (the neck) to release and the head is repositioned.
This chain reaction takes time, but damn does it work – and it works in a way no “stretch does” because as the hip is lengthened, the rest of the body is repositioned around this new proper length making this one of the most effective “hip flexor” stretches of all time.
Think of most other hip flexor stretches how you have to contort and rotate the body to lengthen the hip like dropping into a deep lunge and rotating – this is great, but the hip flexors never learn to lengthen while the rest of the body is balanced, aligned, and relaxed, so the hip flexors tighten up quickly after other stretches because of how they were released.
It’s important not to just do this by itself, notice how there are exercises before you get into this position to set you up for a better release, and exercises after to reinforce this new body position.
Check out the video below if you want to learn more about this!