Yoga Tune Up: Hips - Basic Moves

Jill Miller
Year Released: 2006

Categories: Yoga

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Iím reviewing this workout after doing it once, maybe twice.

General workout breakdown: This 37-min. yoga video begins with a quick introduction from Jill explaining that the program is to help ďprime and prepare your hips for asana.Ē You will work the hips from all angles, focusing on different types of movements, doing both therapeutic exercises and actual yoga asanas while alternating between dynamic actions and static holds.
Exercises include prasirita padattonasana (wide legged forward bend), 4-limbed push-up, (low) squat, monk walks (walking lunges), adductor slides, mandukasana (frog) variation, adductor slides variation (w/ leg cross), uttanasana (standing forward bend), abductor lifts, abductor lifts w/ padangusthasana (yogi toe lock), adductor stretch at the wall (w/ forward bend, one leg in 1-legged squat and the other in samakonasana, or equal angle pose), runnerís lunge w/ variations, gomukhasana (cow face) variation focusing on legs only (Jill explains why she chose this over pigeon, which is the increased external rotation), internal rotation stretch leaning back on elbows, and savasana (corpse). Tadasana is a common in between pose, during which Jill emphasizes joint stacking (that is, making sure all body parts are in alignment).
This, like Jillís other Yoga Tune Up videos, feels like an actual focused class or workshop rather than a more general practice; it does feel a lot like Jill is leading you through an individual session. Still, this is definitely a follow along, stand alone practice, although you could certainly use it before your regular yoga practice, especially one that would focus on hip-related poses.

In comparison to Jillís Hips Ė Pelvic Primer, Basic Moves focuses more on the muscles, tendons, ligaments, etc., around the hips, going into the thighs. This is a more active practice, with quite a bit to strengthen and tone areas that may be underdeveloped or unbalanced. If youíre looking for a nice, relaxing hip opening practice, with a long hold in pigeon, this is not it. Instead, youíll be reprogramming your body, even mind, and working areas you may not even realize you have. This can be a surprisingly strenuous practice, which may be compounded by the fact that the tension we hold in our hips may be stress- or emotion-related rather than just physical. You may, like I did, experience some DOMS with this one.

Level: Iíd recommend this to experienced yoga practitioners with some strength and flexibility, although you donít have to be particularly advanced. Even though this is in some sense an instructional video, Jill assumes you are already familiar with the basics. Here she provides a good number of modifications, mainly for those with a little less flexibility, but if your hips are super tight this one will be tough. Iíve been practicing yoga for about 8 years now, and I find Jillís practices challenging, particularly since Iím still working on strength and especially flexibility (although sheís the first to admit that her level of flexibility is definitely above average). Also, I always feel like I get a lot out of Jillís videos, both physically and intellectually.

Class: Jill alone, instructing live.

Music: none.

Set: a bright, rather plain interior studio, with a green curtain along one wall.

Production: decently clear picture and sound, fairly straightforward camera angles, although the zooming in and out isnít as smooth as a professional production. Jillís not wearing a microphone and just speaking loudly so the camera picks her up. You will hear background noise, including passing vehicles, sirens, and wind.

Equipment: Youíll need a blanket (If youíre on carpet or another type of flooring that doesnít allow sliding, you may want to use a very large trash bag, a plastic painterís drop cloth, or paper plates / Val sides for the relevant exercises instead.), and youíll probably want 2 blocks. Youíll also need access to a wall or a piece of furniture over which you can put your leg (a couch, chair, table, etc.). A yoga mat may be helpful, but depending upon your flooring you may be better off without it.

Space Requirements: Except for the monk walks, which take as much space as you have available (youíll just have to pivot around when youíve gone as far in one direction as you can go), most of the other moves require only enough space to extend both your legs out to the sides simultaneously.

DVD Notes: This is a DVD-R, which I have trouble playing on my increasingly picky regular DVD player (6+-year-old Toshiba); I had trouble with it in my usually not-so-picky former laptop, too, but I have better luck with my newer one as well as the PS2. Because of this, I donít use this series as often as Iíd like.
Each exercise is chaptered separately.

Comments: This particular video is no longer listed on Jillís older site,, but you may still find copies floating around on the exchange. Many of the exercises reappear in Jillís more recent productions, specifically Yoga Link (in particular Hip Helpers, which in some sense replaces this one with a longer, more comprehensive treatment of the hips), Quickfix Rx, and Post Athletic Stretch.
Iíd say the hips segments on Qf Rx may be the most approachable of Jillís hip practices, while the YL Hip Helpers may be the most intense, with this in between. Jillís hip stuff may prove quite challenging, both physically and emotionally, since the hips are a common area to store tension and emotions. If youíre looking for a relaxing, groovy practice thatíll loosen up your hips, this may not be what youíre looking for. This is more for those who are looking to increase the range of motion, strength, flexibility, and stability of the hips and related muscles.
I have no real hip issues; I use Jillís hip segments from time to time to help work through some stiffness in my hips, and I always feel I should do her stuff more often to increase my rather limited range of motion there. As always if you do have issues or concerns itís worth consulting with your regular medical provider and/or a qualified yoga teacher experienced in therapeutic work.

Instructor Comments:
Jill brings a real intelligence to her instruction; not only is it clear that she has spent a lot of time studying yoga, anatomy, etc., but she has a great awareness and intuitive sense of how the body moves. I love that she never talks down to you (e.g. she uses the full scientific names for muscles and other body parts rather than making up cutesy ones), yet sheís obviously not showing off or purposefully trying to go over your head. You can feel her excitement and enthusiasm for sharing her knowledge; she wants you to learn and benefit from the practice as she has. Also, Jillís style of yoga is unlike the others Iíve experienced, yet she seems to have a deep appreciation for the traditions of yoga, so you never feel like sheís putting her own stamp on things just for the sake of doing something different.
I really like her on screen personality. Her sense of humor can be a little quirky, but itís not really out there, and itís right up my alley. Her language is straightforward and plain, peppered with conversational and colloquial phrases rather than flowery or mystical sayings. Her ďreal worldĒ visuals make a lot of sense; when she tells you she calls one move the ďBeyonce,Ē you know just want sheís getting at. (In other words, I feel like Iím interacting with a real person who practices yoga, not someone assuming her role as ďyoga teacher extraordinaire.Ē)
Jillís instruction and cuing are excellent. She describes things well, giving you truly helpful tips and some quick demos of what not to do.