This is the Best Hip Stretch Ever

Tight hips and a tight lower back are common complaints among runners and bikers, so here’s a relaxing stretch that will stretch both. It’s similar to Half Happy Baby, but with this variation, both knees are bent at the same time.

Sanskrit Name: Ananda BalasanaEnglish Translation: Happy Baby PoseAlso Called: Dead Bug
Begin lying flat on your back.Bend both knees and hold onto the outside edges of your flexed feet with your hands. Keep your arms on the outsides of your legs.Gently use your upper body strength to equally press both knees to the floor below your armpits. Try not to tense your shoulders or chest, but keep everything relaxed. Stay like this for five deep breaths. To release, let go of your feet and straighten your legs to the floor.Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Louisa Larson

This is the Best Hip Stretch Ever

Tight hips and a tight lower back are common complaints among runners and bikers| so here’s a relaxing stretch that will stretch both. It’s similar to Half Happy Baby| but with this variation| both knees are bent at the same time.

Sanskrit Name: Ananda BalasanaEnglish Translation: Happy Baby PoseAlso Called: Dead Bug
Begin lying flat on your back.Bend both knees and hold onto the outside edges of your flexed feet with your hands. Keep your arms on the outsides of your legs.Gently use your upper body strength to equally press both knees to the floor below your armpits. Try not to tense your shoulders or chest| but keep everything relaxed. Stay like this for five deep breaths. To release| let go of your feet and straighten your legs to the floor.Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Louisa Larson

If You Wear Yoga Pants, You’re Going to Want to Tune In

You basically live in your yoga pants. They’re comfy| practical| and perfect for all kinds of workouts as well as every other outfit you put on. But some scary things can go on down there| due to your leggings. YourTango gives us the inside scoop about why wearing your yoga pants all the time can be pretty nasty.

Um| gross.

It’s tempting. You’ve just finished up an intense session at the gym or biked that 25 miles| and instead of taking a shower and changing into some clean clothes| you decide to just stay in your workout clothes.

They may look good on you and are comfortable| and it’s not like there aren’t people doing errands or picking up the kids in their athleisure wear. But the problem is that constantly wearing workout clothes such as yoga pants| leggings| and other athletic apparel can lead to some icky and unpleasant side effects.

Because workout wear is often tighter fitting| it has a tendency to hold warmth and moisture in. The body then becomes the perfect environment for bacteria to grow and flourish a living petri dish for microbes and organisms.

Disgusted yet? OK| hold on. If you wear your favorite yoga pants all day/every day| here are some health issues that can develop.

1. Bacterial infections of the hair follicles

These infections can go from bad to worse pretty quickly and can be caused from the follicles rubbing against clothing or shaving. The first is folliculitis| a superficial infection of a single hair follicle that looks like a bunch of small red bumps or whitehead pimples| which can spread and turn into nonhealing crusty sores.

Next| there are furuncles/boils| deeper infections of the hair follicle that look like raised red bumps on your skin but can rupture and weep fluid (gross). If you have a number of boils| you get a carbuncle| which is deeper and more severe than the rest.

2. Fungal infections

Fungal groin infections can start in one area| such as athlete’s foot| and spread to other areas like the groin| making it itchy and irritable.

3. Vaginitis and vaginal infections

You know when you’ve got one because of the pain| itch| and funky smell. What’s extra special is you can have more than one at any given time. Make sure it’s breathable down there| and you might be able to avoid them.

4. Intertrigo

This is a very common inflammatory condition that affects areas of the skin that are in contact with each other| such as the groin| armpits| under the breasts| and any skin folds. It’s caused by frictional rubbing| increased temperature| and moisture and is complicated by various microorganisms.

You can avoid these thoroughly unpleasant infections by wearing moisture-wicking material designed to draw the moisture away from the body and by working out| showering| and changing into clean| loose-fitting clothing after you’ve done your 5K or hiked that hill.

Also| always remember to breathe . . . everywhere.

Check out more great stories from YourTango:

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For the Ultimate Inner-Thigh Stretch, Use This Prop

The wall is a great prop to use when stretching because it can either support the weight of your body, as in an L-Handstand, or add resistance like with this Kneeling Quad Stretch. If you liked the relaxing Legs up the Wall Stretch, here’s a variation that will stretch your inner thighs.

For added comfort, place a folded blanket, bolster, or pillow against a wall.Sit down as close as you can to the wall, next to the pillow. Lie down on your back, place your feet on the wall with your knees bent, and scoot your body over so that your bottom and lower back are on the pillow.You want to adjust your body so that your bum is touching the wall, and then place your feet straight up, resting your heels on the wall. Now separate your feet and slide your legs down the wall toward the ground, coming into a straddle position.You can keep your arms by your sides or by your head (this position will stretch your shoulders).Close your eyes and allow your entire body to relax, feeling gravity pulling your feet down and opening your inner thighs. If it becomes too intense, place your hands on the outside of your thighs for a little support.Hold like this for several minutes or longer. Once you’ve had enough, slide your feet up the wall toward each other. Then walk your feet down the wall, draw your knees into your chest, and roll your body over to one side. Rest your head on the inside of your arm, staying like this, in fetal position, for a minute or so. Then you can roll up onto your knees and come to stand up.Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Louisa Larson

For the Ultimate Inner-Thigh Stretch, Use This Prop

The wall is a great prop to use when stretching because it can either support the weight of your body| as in an L-Handstand| or add resistance like with this Kneeling Quad Stretch. If you liked the relaxing Legs up the Wall Stretch| here’s a variation that will stretch your inner thighs.

For added comfort| place a folded blanket| bolster| or pillow against a wall.Sit down as close as you can to the wall| next to the pillow. Lie down on your back| place your feet on the wall with your knees bent| and scoot your body over so that your bottom and lower back are on the pillow.You want to adjust your body so that your bum is touching the wall| and then place your feet straight up| resting your heels on the wall. Now separate your feet and slide your legs down the wall toward the ground| coming into a straddle position.You can keep your arms by your sides or by your head (this position will stretch your shoulders).Close your eyes and allow your entire body to relax| feeling gravity pulling your feet down and opening your inner thighs. If it becomes too intense| place your hands on the outside of your thighs for a little support.Hold like this for several minutes or longer. Once you’ve had enough| slide your feet up the wall toward each other. Then walk your feet down the wall| draw your knees into your chest| and roll your body over to one side. Rest your head on the inside of your arm| staying like this| in fetal position| for a minute or so. Then you can roll up onto your knees and come to stand up.Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Louisa Larson

A Beginner’s Guide to Quickly Mastering the Basic Yoga Poses

A guide to mastering yoga for beginners ¡ª SelfHow to eat right without constantly monitoring your calories ¡ª Real SimpleThe best workout routine to help you get over your ex ¡ª ShapeGuaranteed ways to stay in shape through the holidays ¡ª HealthThe grossest things everyone encounters at the gym ¡ª Women’s HealthHow the working-out fad compares to going out ¡ª FitnessAn intense kickboxing sweat session at home ¡ª GreatistA holiday hangover cure in 1 rejuvenating glass ¡ª Cooking LightThis embroidered athletic gear is making waves on Instagram ¡ª POPSUGAR FashionImage Source: Shutterstock

A Beginner’s Guide to Quickly Mastering the Basic Yoga Poses

A guide to mastering yoga for beginners ¡ª SelfHow to eat right without constantly monitoring your calories ¡ª Real SimpleThe best workout routine to help you get over your ex ¡ª ShapeGuaranteed ways to stay in shape through the holidays ¡ª HealthThe grossest things everyone encounters at the gym ¡ª Women’s HealthHow the working-out fad compares to going out ¡ª FitnessAn intense kickboxing sweat session at home ¡ª GreatistA holiday hangover cure in 1 rejuvenating glass ¡ª Cooking LightThis embroidered athletic gear is making waves on Instagram ¡ª POPSUGAR FashionImage Source: Shutterstock

Feel the Ultimate Butt and Thigh Burn With This Intense Yoga Sequence

Feel the Ultimate Butt and Thigh Burn With This Intense Yoga Sequence

Strong| scultped thighs are always in season| whether you’re sporting a short skirt or tight leggings| but they’re also a must if you want more power and control when hitting the pavement or the snowy slopes. This yoga sequence will have your thighs calling “uncle”” because it’s all thighs the entire time. Get ready to feel the burn now and two days from now.

| Fierce

  • Stand with your feet together. Bend your knees and lower your hips as you raise your arms overhead.
  • Focus on sitting back into your heels. Tuck your tailbone in and engage your abs| keeping your spine straight. Relax the shoulders as you gaze up toward the ceiling. Hold for five breaths.

| Side Fierce

  • From Fierce pose| exhale to cross your left elbow over to your outer right knee. Press your palms together and actively push your bottom elbow against your thigh to lift and rotate your chest up| increasing the twist. Pull your left hip back slightly| making sure both knees are parallel.
  • Stay for five breaths| then inhale as you press into your feet and lift your torso| rising back into Fierce pose. If you can| refrain from straightening your legs to keep your quads and glutes engaged.
  • Exhale to cross your right elbow over your left outer knee| holding for another five breaths on this side.

| Extended Side Fierce

  • From Side Fierce on the second side| inhale and rise back up into Fierce| and as you exhale| cross your left elbow over your right thigh| planting your left palm on the floor beside your right foot. If you can’t reach all the way| just allow your fingers to hover in the air| as close to the floor as possible.
  • Extend your right arm straight up toward the ceiling| stacking your shoulders| and gaze at your lifted palm. Make sure both knees are parallel. Hold for five deep breaths.
  • Press into your feet| inhale to rise back up to Fierce| and exhale to repeat this pose on the left side| holding for another five breaths.

| 5-Pointed Star

  • From Extended Side Fierce on the second side| lift the torso up and step the feet about three feet apart with the feet parallel.
  • Extend the arms out in T position| actively drawing the abs in toward the spine for five breaths.

| Goddess

  • From 5-Pointed Star| turn your heels in| bend your knees| and squat down so your quads are parallel with the floor. Tuck your tailbone in| keeping your shoulders stacked over your hips.
  • Raise your arms in the air| bending your elbows so they are at 90-degree angles| opening your palms away from you.
  • Keeping weight back in your heels| hold this pose for five breaths.

| Twisting Goddess

  • From Goddess| rest your right elbow on your right thigh and raise your left arm over your ear.
  • Hold here for five deep breaths| gazing over your left shoulder.
  • Rise up and switch sides| resting your left elbow on your left thigh| holding for another five breaths.

| Twisting Bound Goddess

  • From Twisting Goddess on the left side| inhale to rise back up to Goddess. Exhale to rest your right elbow on your right thigh. Inhale| and then exhale to reach your left arm around your lower back| clasping your fingers around your right inner thigh if you can.
  • Hold here for five deep breaths| gazing over your left shoulder.
  • Then rise up and switch sides| resting your left elbow on your left thigh| and wrapping your right arm around your lower back for another five breaths.

| Wide-Legged Forward Bend C

  • From Twisting Bound Goddess on the second side| rise back up to Goddess.
  • Straighten the arms and legs coming back into 5-Pointed Star.
  • Inhale to bring the arms behind you clasping your fingertips together in a double fist. If this is too difficult| hold opposite elbows instead.
  • As you exhale| turn the heels out wide and fold forward with straight legs.
  • Enjoy this stretch for five breaths| allowing gravity to pull your head toward the floor.

| Wide-Legged Forward Bend D

  • From Wide-Legged Forward Bend C| press into the feet and inhale to rise up to stand.
  • Exhale to release the arms out wide in T position. Take a breath in| and then exhale to hinge at the hips| reaching for your big toes| holding onto them with your first two fingers and thumb. Keep your elbows above your wrists and draw your shoulder blades back and down toward your hips. If you can’t reach your toes| just place your hands somewhere on your legs.
  • Try to keep your shoulders relaxed and use your abs to pull your torso closer to your thighs.
  • Stay here for five deep breaths.

| Wide-Legged Split

  • From the Wide-Legged Forward Bend D| place your hands on the floor below your shoulders.
  • Walk your feet away from each other as far as you can| keeping the soles of your feet planted firmly on the mat.
  • Stay like this for five breaths.

| Wide-Legged Split Advanced

  • From Wide-Legged Split| deepen the stretch by lowering onto your forearms.
  • Or if you’re really flexible| lower onto your shoulders and rest one cheek on the floor. Hold like this for five complete breaths.

| Standing Forward Bend

  • Slowly walk your feet toward each other| straighten the legs and hang the torso over the thighs in an easy forward bend.t
  • After five breaths| gradually lift the torso and come to stand.

How to Get Rid of Neck Pain Instantly

How to Get Rid of Neck Pain Instantly

A long day of sitting or a rough night of sleep can lead to neck pain. When things feel a little tense| tight| or off-kilter| these yoga poses can help alleviate that discomfort.

| Child’s Pose

  • Kneel on your mat with your knees hips-width distance apart| and your big toes touching behind you.
  • Take a deep breath in| and as you exhale| lie your torso over your thighs. Try to lengthen your neck and spine by drawing your ribs away from your tailbone and the crown of your head away from your shoulders.
  • Rest your arms beside your legs| palms facing up| or try extending your arms out in front of you. Stay here for five breaths.

| Cow to Cat Stretch

  • Begin with your hands and knees on the floor. Make sure your knees are under your hips and your wrists are under your shoulders. Begin in a neutral spine position| with your back flat and your abs engaged.
  • On your inhale| arch your back| let your belly relax| and go loose. Lift your head and tailbone up toward the sky u2014 without putting any unnecessary pressure on your neck. This is the “cow”” portion of the pose.
  • On the exhale| round your spine up toward the ceiling| and imagine you’re pulling your belly button up toward your spine| really engaging your abs. Tuck your chin in toward your chest| and let your neck release. This is your cat-like shape.
  • Continue flowing back and forth from Cat Pose to Cow Pose| and connect your breath to each movement u2014 inhale for Cow Pose| and exhale on Cat Pose.
  • Repeat for at least 10 rounds| or until your spine is warmed up.

| Wide-Legged Forward Bend C

  • Stand with your feet three to four feet apart| turning heels out slightly wider than toes.
  • Bring your arms behind your back| clasping your fingers and pressing the heels of your palms together in a fist.
  • Fold forward| hinging at your hips| drawing the crown of your head and your hands toward the floor. Relax your toes| and try to shift the weight of your hips forward so they’re in line with your feet.
  • Stay here for five deep breaths. Then press into your feet| engage your quads| and inhale as you stand up.

What Not to Wear to Yoga Class

What Not to Wear to Yoga Class

Yoga is definitely not black and white| but there are some dos and don’ts when it comes to your attire. Comfort and fit are key so you can focus on doing the poses instead of futzing with your outfit. Check out these suggestions so you know what not to wear for yoga.

| Short Spandex and Loose Shorts

Clothing no-no: supershort shorts or loose shorts

Issues: Shorts are perfect for sweaty runs| but not for yoga class. You want to feel confident that you’re completely covered when doing poses where you’re bending forward or sticking your leg in the air| and the last thing you want to think about is whether or not someone can see your private business. Short shorts and loose shorts also tend to bunch up when you move| and you can do without the distraction of having to pull them down every five minutes.

Do wear: Go for fitted cropped or full-length leggings. Not only is your booty fully covered| but the material hugging your legs will also absorb sweat| giving you traction to do arm balancing poses like this.

| Cotton Undies

Clothing no-no: Cotton underwear

Issues: Although this fabric does breathe well| it also gets heavy when wet and doesn’t dry quickly.

Do wear: To avoid staying wet down there for an entire 90-minute class| splurge on some moisture-wicking briefs like these from Patagonia| or go undies-free!

| Thin or Holey Pants

Clothing no-no: Old| thin| holey| or light-colored pants

Issues: There’s nothing like that comfy old pair of leggings you’ve been wearing since high school| but if you’re well out of college by now| those pants have probably seen better days. Check your pants for holes in the crotch or thinning material. Also avoid light-colored bottoms as these tend to be see-through no matter how thick the fabric is. When you’re in revealing poses like those pictured to the left| you don’t want to wonder who can see your ass-ana.

Do wear: Slip on black| navy blue| chocolate| or another dark-colored pair of capris or leggings made out of durable material. Splurge on a pair made by a well-known brand.

| Shirts That Don’t Fit

Clothing no-no: T-shirts| loose tanks| and short tops

Issues: T-shirts are a definite no-no as they’ll just end up falling over your head every time you come into Down Dog. But loose tanks might be distracting as well| especially if you’re not into letting your belly show.

Do wear: Go for long| fitted tanks because they stay put and keep you covered no matter whether you twist| bend backward| or flip upside down. Test your shirt in the dressing room before buying it (yes| do a few yoga poses!) to make sure it offers you the proper fit.

| Revealing Tops

Clothing no-no: Low-cut| revealing| unsupported| and light-colored tops

Issues: I have had to tell a woman across from me in a yoga class that her boob fell out of her shirt. Some tops seem like they fit while you’re walking around| but they just don’t support your ladies once you start moving| especially when doing Down Dog or Headstands. White or light-colored tops are also risky| especially if you know you get pretty sweaty u2014 you signed up for a yoga class| not a wet t-shirt contest.

Do wear: To avoid a nip slip| sport a top that supports your body type. If you’re big-busted| a V-neck or lightweight sports bra may not be your best option. Some shirts contain attached shelf-bras| but if they offer minimal support for your girls| you might want to wear a sports bra underneath. Bright colors get the thumbs-up| just make sure they’re not see-through.