Whether you suffer from tight hips because you run, sit at a desk all day, are pregnant, or were just born with oh-so-tight hips, here are three yoga poses you can do every day to increase flexibility and reduce tension in this commonly stiff area. Mix up the sequence each time you do it to keep your muscles guessing.
One of my favorite stretches after a run, Lizard will target your hips and hip flexors.
- Begin in Downward Facing Dog. Step your right foot forward between your palms keeping your hands on the floor. Lower your left knee to the mat, and release your elbows to the floor as well. Either rest your hands on the ground or bring your hands together in prayer position.
- Continue to squeeze your right knee toward your body and gaze forward to encourage your hips to lower toward the floor. After five breaths come back onto your hands. Tuck your left toes and step your right leg back. Take a vinyasa (exhale as you lower to Four-Limbed Staff, inhale to Upward Dog, then exhale to Down Dog), step your left foot forward, and repeat this pose on the left side.
I'm just getting started so keep reading for two more effective hip opening yoga poses.
A well-known and favorite hip opener, Pigeon pose will increase flexibility in your outer hip by your tush, as well as the front of your hip.
- From Downward Facing Dog, step both feet together and bring your right knee forward between your hands so your outer right leg is resting on the mat. If your hips are more open, inch your right foot away from you. Make sure your left hip is always pointing down toward the mat. If it begins open up toward the ceiling, draw your right foot back in toward your body.
- Stay here with your hands resting on your right leg or walk your hands out in front of you, allowing your torso to rest over your right knee. Hold here, breathing into any areas of tightness and tension for at least five breaths.
- Then place your hands on the mat in front of you, tuck your left toes and step your right foot back. Take a vinyasa, then step your left foot forward and repeat Pigeon on the left side.
If you suffer from tight hips as well as a sore lower back, you'll love doing Butterfly pose.
- Sit on the floor, bending both knees and bringing your feet together. With your hands, open your feet up like a book and use the muscles in your legs to encourage your knees to lower further toward the floor.
- Lengthen your spine, drawing your belly button in toward your spine. Relax your shoulders and gaze either in front of you or toward your feet. Slowly begin to fold forward, drawing your torso toward your legs.
- Keep your hands on your feet, pressing your elbows against your inner knees, or extend your arms out in front of you to encourage your spine to lengthen. After five breaths, come to sit up and straighten your legs.