The adductors are a group of five muscles on the inside of the thigh. Their primary function is internal rotation, to adduct the hip. What in the world does that mean? It means they move your thighbone in towards the mid-line of your body (think of crossing your legs). These muscles keep our gait even and straight when we walk. So why are we delving into this anatomy lesson first thing on Monday morning? The adductors are an extremely important muscle group for yoga. Most people spend their days sitting in a chair. Legs are crossed or neutral, but either way the adductors are tightening. Remember, they’re located on the inside of the thigh, so when your legs are close together, the adductors are relaxed, causing stiffness and tightness over time.
We use the adductors during poses like Urdhva Dhanurasana to internally rotate the thighs. This is important to prevent back pain. If the adductors are not active, the legs will splay out. Backbends not only strengthen your back muscles, they can strengthen your adductors as well.
Most people become (painfully) aware of their adductors when practicing poses such as Prasarita Padottanasana, Upavistha Konasana, Baddha Konasana or even Trikonasana. These can bring out frustration because the body is limiting what we can do. The best way to practice is with patience and love. There’s no use forcing the pose; that will only lead to injury. Move slowly and pay attention to what your body is telling you. Persistence and breathing will be your best aids when exploring these poses. Fortunately, you can practice most of these daily, without a long warm-up. The more you do them, the better your results!