Many of us spend way too much time sitting, which can lead to decreased flexibility and feelings of tightness in your hips. It’s important to try to maintain flexibility and mobility throughout your body and paying attention to your hips can counteract the damage inflicted by prolonged sitting.
The yoga poses below will loosen up your hips and help you feel simply amazing! These poses are some of the best hip openers you will see in many yoga classes. Try them out and, as always, remember not to push your body too hard to avoid injury.
Thread the Needle Pose
Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor and knees bent. Cross your RIGHT ankle over your LEFT knee as if making a figure “4”. Keeping your hips grounded and your lower back pressing into the mat, pull the LEFT knee in towards the chest, threading your RIGHT hand between your legs.
Clasp your hands underneath your LEFT knee to help pull the knee deeper into the stretch. Focus on keeping the RIGHT knee open to really stretch the hip. Breathe deeply and hold for at least 30 seconds on each side.
Happy Baby Pose
Lie on your back on your mat and pull your knees to your chest. Place your hands on the inside arches of your feet and open your knees wider than shoulder-width apart. Keeping your back pressed into the mat as much as possible, press your feet into hands while pulling down on feet, creating resistance. Breathe deeply and hold for at least 30 seconds.
Sit tall on your mat with your knees bent, and hands by your side on the mat. Bring the soles of your feet together and allow the knees to open out to the side. Use your leg muscles to open the knees and bring them closer to the floor.
You should feel the stretch in the inner thighs. To deepen the hip stretch, you can pull the feet closer in towards you, or you can fold forward and walk your hands out in front of you. Hold the pose for 30 seconds.
This pose is pretty intense, so make sure you don’t suffer any injuries in your knees or ankles. To get into the pose, get on all fours, with hands under your shoulders and your knees on your mat, or even blankets for more padding.
Slowly and gently, widen your knees until you feel a comfortable stretch in your inner thighs. Be sure to keep your ankles in line with your knees, and your feet and calves grounded the entire time. If you’re able to, lower down to your forearms. Hold for at least 30 seconds.
Half Pigeon Pose
The best way to get into this position is to start in a runner’s lunge with your RIGHT foot forward and both hands on the mat on either side of your front foot. With most of the weight in your hands, slide your front foot over towards your LEFT hand, and lower the knee over to the RIGHT.
Place the outside of your RIGHT calf on the mat so that it is parallel to the front of your mat. Slowly lower your back knee and shin to the floor. Square your hips as much as possible to the front of the mat. For a more moderate stretch, keep your arms straight and hands flat on the floor.
Double Pigeon Pose
Sit on your mat in a crossed-leg position with your LEFT leg crossed in front. Using your arms to help move to the pose, grab your LEFT ankle and gently pull the ankle to place it on top of the RIGHT knee. The shins should now be stacked with the LEFT leg on top.
If your hips are really tight, your right knee may be lifted up off the floor a bit, but as your hips open more, your knee will eventually lower. To intensify the pose, you can walk your hands forward slightly to get deeper into the stretch. Hold for at least 30 seconds, then repeat on the opposite side.
Start in a runner’s lunge with your RIGHT foot forward and your hands on the mat on either side of your front foot. Lower your back knee and shin to the floor and carefully lift your chest and your arms up, resting your hands on your front thigh.
Be sure to keep the abdominals engaged and don’t allow the back to arch (it will take away from the stretch). To increase the stretch, reach the arms overhead, and very slightly lean forward, again making sure to not to arch the lower back. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Start in your runner’s lunge again, this time keeping the knee raised. Slowly bring the hands off the mat, first bringing them to the front thigh. Allow the hips to sink lower as you square your hips to the front of your mat.
Bring the arms up and overhead as you engage the abdominals. Focus on lengthening through the back leg and continue sinking and squaring off the hips to deepen the stretch. Hold for at least 30 seconds on each side.