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Improving Turnout - The Yogi Sit

Do you suffer from tension the back of the hips? If you have been working hard on improving your turnout, your turnout muscles may become over-recruited and stuck in a state of contraction. Unfortunately, this may prevent you from using them effectively in class. The 'Yogi Sit' exercise is perfect for creating space in the back of the hips, to allow your turnout muscles to work effectively in class. 

How to do it: 

  • Sit on a yoga mat and cross the legs so that the knees line up on top of each other
  • Sit up on a yoga block if needed to fully cross the legs
  • Lean back on the hands to settle in to the position
  • Flex the ankles to protect the knees
  • Slowly lean forward from the hips keeping the spine in neutral
  • There should be no compression or pain in front of the hips
  • Focus on keeping the spine long from tailbone to crown
  • Maintain slow gentle breathing, consciously releasing tension on each exhale
  • Release the tension in layers rather than pushing into the stretch
  • Repeat several times on each side
  • Once the back of the hip has opened try relaxing forward over the legs and breath into the back of the ribcage

Notes: 

  • As this is a sustained stretch it is best used after class as sustained stretches can inhibit muscle power
  • Gentle sustained stretches such as this one should be focused on allowing creep in deeper fascial tissue
  • There should be no sensation of numbness, tingling or other signs of neural tension
  • This is an especially helpful exercise if you find it hard to rotate your leg in attitude devant

Modifications: 

  • Please note this should not cause pain in the front of the hips or your knees
  • If you are unable to get into the starting position try working on one leg at a time sitting on a chair with the shin bone crossed across the opposite knee
  • If any discomfort is felt in the knees, flex both feet to help stabilise the knee joint
  • If there is compression in the front of the hips try a gentle hip flexor mobiliser beforehand, then when doing the Yogi Sit exercise, try placing a partially inflated small ball between your belly and thigh
  • Do not continue if unable to do comfortably

Training Turnout Resources

If you are looking to delve deeper into this topic, check out the following programs:

  • Tips for Turnout: This ‘Tips for Turnout Guide’ is a great starting point for anyone wanting to learn more about how to maximise turnout safely, and is the first resource in our Training Turnout Series. It gives you tips on improving your range, developing control of your standing leg and specific ways to increase the height of your développé devant.
  • Training Turnout: Deepen your exploration of the anatomy of the dancers’ hip with this unique Training Turnout eBook. As the second resource in our Training Turnout series this program is a great follow on from our Tips for Turnout Program. Learn how to assess and understand the structure of your own hips, strengthen standing leg turnout and turnout en fondu as well as develop extraordinary control in your adage.
  • Training Turnout in Tiny Dancers: If you are dance teacher, this is the perfect continued education course for you. In this systematic and comprehensive approach to training turnout in tiny dancers, Lisa and Beverly provide dance teachers with direct techniques to use in class to safely develop optimal range and control of motion in all dance students. This program begins by establishing strength and control in parallel, before adding on the control of rotation, which is hugely important in the long term health of dancers’ hips. Using elements of fun and creative play to bring scientific and detailed training programs into dance schools is a unique and effective way to help thousands of young students worldwide.
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