For years my hips hurt because they were extremely tight. It hurt to walk and certain yoga poses were uncomfortable. I hated any hip-opening yoga poses, because I could feel the tightness in my hips. However, these hip-opening yoga poses were exactly what my body needed. When I started a consistent yoga practice a few years ago, my hip pain went away and I began to love hip-opening yoga poses. However, when I didn’t practice yoga for a month, I noticed my hips started to feel tight and my discomfort returned. Many people have tight hips from sitting at a desk all day. It is incredibly important to stretch your hips, because overtime you’ll reduce your range of motion. If you have tight hips, your spine is constantly needing to overcompensate for the lack of mobility in your hips which causes back pain and discomfort. Hip-opening poses offer a wide range of benefits such as improved range of motion, improved circulation, and decreased back pain.
Below are 5 yoga poses that have really helped to loosen up my hips. All of the pose below offer great ways to relieve tension in your hips. Before you practice these poses, remember to warm up your body with your favorite warm-ups or modified sun salutations. Always remember to breathe during each of these poses, and if a pose doesn't feel right for your body then skip it and try the next pose.
1. Hip Circles
Start in Table Pose, on your hands and knees. Bring your knees hip width apart or a little wider, with your feet directly behind your knees. Bring your palms directly under your shoulders with your fingers facing forward. Start to move your hips around. imagine you are drawing a figure of 8 with your hips. Make the movements as big or as small as feels comfortable and move like this for 30 - 60 seconds or as long as you like.
2. Butterfly Pose
Sit with your legs straight out in front of you and lengthen your spine. Bend your knees, pull your heels toward your pelvis, then drop your knees out to the sides and press the soles of your feet together. Bring your heels as close to your pelvis as you comfortably can. Keep the outer edges of your feet firmly on the floor and wrap your hands around your feet or ankles, hold this pose for 1 minute or longer.
3. Happy Baby Pose
Lie on your back and bend your knees into your belly. Grip the outsides of your feet with your hands. Open your knees slightly wider than your torso, then bring them up toward your armpits. Position each ankle directly over the knee, so your shins are perpendicular to the floor. Flex through the heels. Gently push your feet up into your hands as you pull your hands down to create resistance, hold this pose for 1 minute or longer.
4. Lizard Pose
Start in Downward Facing Dog Pose. Then, step your right foot forward between your hands. Heel-toe your foot towards the edge of your mat, so that your foot is slightly wider than your shoulders. Relax your hips, so that they settle forward and down. Walk your hands forward until you are able to come down on to your forearms. You may place your forearms on the ground, or on a block. Extend your heart forward, lengthening the spine. You can keep your left knee lifted with your leg active, or for a more restorative version, you can lower your left knee. Hold this pose for 30 seconds or longer. Repeat on the other side.
5. Frog Pose
Start in Table Pose, walk your knees out to the sides as wide as comfortable. Bring your ankles directly behind your knees with your feet turned out towards the side walls. Bring your elbows and forearms on to the floor with your palms flat on the floor or with your palms pressed together. Slowly exhale pressing your hips towards the back wall until you feel a deep stretch in your hips and inner thighs. Breathe and hold this pose for 30 seconds or more.
What are your favorite hip-opening yoga poses? Share below!