Practice These 9 Yoga Poses to Relieve Tight Hips

Leah Sugerman
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Sitting is the new smoking. We’ve all heard it, but few of us actually take it seriously. Most of us spend at least 8 hours per day sitting down at a desk, in a car, or on a sofa, to name a few. We don’t realize that sitting for so long each day without daily hip stretches drastically affects our musculature.

The bone structure of your hips stabilizes and supports your body weight. It allows you to walk, sit, run, dance, and move, because it connects your trunk to your legs. Your hips are anatomically comprised of three main components: the hip flexors, the inner hips, and the outer hips.

In very simplified terms, your hip flexors draw your leg toward your torso. Your inner hips draw your legs toward each other, and stabilize your thigh bone in your hip socket. And your outer hips draw your legs apart from each other, and stabilize your thigh bone in your hip socket from the other side.
 

Weak and tight hip muscles becomes a painful combination that can create aches throughout your body.

 
When we sit for long periods at a time without performing daily hip stretches, we tighten all the muscles of our hips. Beyond that, we typically underuse these muscles which leads to weakness that becomes coupled with tightness.
 
Need to get to work? Try these 4 Hip-Opening Yoga Poses You Can Do While Working on Your Laptop!
 

Here are 9 Yoga Hip Stretches to Help Loosen Up Your Tight Hips

Yoga has a multitude of hip stretches that specifically target the hips for increased mobility and flexibility. So, if you’re suffering from chronically tight hips, you’ve come to the right place for some relief.
 

1. Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana)

Simple but wildly effective, Low Lunge targets the iliacus and psoas muscles to create length and flexibility in these powerhouse hip flexors. In this pose, the hip muscles can relax and release accumulated stress.
 
Unfamiliar with your hip flexors? Get to know your powerful psoas muscle better here!
 
Low Lunge
 
Let’s try it:

  • Find Downward Facing Dog
  • Step your right foot forward between your hands, stacking your right ankle under your right knee, and release your back knee to the floor
  • Engage your core to gently lengthen your tailbone toward the earth and draw the crown of your head toward the sky
  • Reach your arms overhead as you soften the weight of your hips toward the earth
  • Breathe and hold for up to 1 minute on each side

 
 

2. Straight Leg Supported Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana Variation)

Supported Bridge Pose is always a crowd pleaser, and this variation is a delightful stretch. Grab a yoga block (or an appropriate substitute) and get ready to release any tension stuck in your hip flexors.
 
Note: You control the intensity of your stretch with your block. Use the lowest level for least intensity, medium level for moderate intensity, or highest level for most intensity.
 
Straight Leg Supported Bridge Pose
 
Let’s try it:

  • Begin lying on your back with your feet flat on the floor (about hip-distance apart and about one hand’s distance away from your seat)
  • Press down firmly into your shoulders and your feet to lift your hips off the floor
  • Slide your block underneath your sacrum (about at the bottom of your waistband) and rest the weight of your hips onto the block
  • Comfortably relax your arms and extend your right leg forward
  • Option to extend your left leg forward at the same time, or alternate sides
  • Breathe and hold for up to 1 minute (either legs together or one leg at a time)

 
 

3. Lizard Pose (Utthan Pristhasana)

Another juicy stretch, Lizard Pose stretches out and releases tight hip flexors. It can be intense, so keep your yoga block handy to place under your hands for less intensity.
 
Lizard Pose (1)
 
Let’s try it:

  • Find Downward Facing Dog
  • Step your right foot forward, to the outside of your right hand, and lower your back knee to the floor
  • Engage your core and lengthen your spine
  • Bring your hands to the inside of your right foot, either on the floor or on a block
  • Option: lower to your forearms either on your block or on the floor
  • Breathe and hold for up to 1 minute on each side

 
 

4. Fire Log Pose (Agnistambhasana)

This posture can be quite intense for those with outer hip tightness. Fire Log Pose targets the outer hip muscles on both the right and the left side of the hip, and its rewards are oh-so-good.
 
Double Pigeon
 
Let’s try it:

  • Begin seated with your legs extended forward, and flex both feet at your ankles
  • Slide your right shin towards you so it becomes parallel with the top of your mat
  • Lift your left leg and stack your shin over your right, with your left ankle hanging just off the edge of your right knee
  • Elongate your spine and either stay in a tall seat or slowly fold forward over your legs
  • Breathe and hold for up to 1 minute on each side

 

 

5. Reclining Pigeon Pose

Pigeon Pose is a common hip opener but it tends to place the knee in a vulnerable position. Reclining Pigeon Pose gives you the same hip stretch as Pigeon, but with a lot more safety for your knees. So, if you have truly tight hips, this is the variation for you!
 
Reclining Figure-4
 
Let’s try it:

  • Begin lying on your back with your feet hip-distance apart on the floor
  • Lift your right leg, bend your knee, and flex your ankle
  • Cross your right ankle over your left knee (creating the shape of a figure-4 with your legs)
  • Either wrap a strap or interlace your fingers around the back of your left thigh as you lift your left foot off the floor and gently draw your knees toward your chest
  • As you draw your left leg toward you, press your right knee away from your body
  • Breathe and hold for up to 1 minute on each side

 
 

6. Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)

This pose feels so good and is so comfortable, you could fall asleep in it . . . literally. Relax and lie down into this simple stretch to release your inner hips and thighs.
 
Reclining Bound Angle
 
Let’s try it:

  • Begin lying on your back with your feet hip-distance apart on the floor
  • Relax your knees toward the outer edges of your mat as you draw the soles of your feet to touch
  • Slide your heels as close toward your groin as feels comfortable for you
  • Relax your arms anywhere that feels comfortable
  • Breathe and hold for up to 2 minutes

 
 

7. Frog Pose

The pose that everyone loves to hate, this intense inner hip and thigh opener will make you realize just how tight your hips can get.
 
Frog Pose
 
Let’s try it:

  • Begin on all fours in Tabletop Pose
  • Keep your hips in the same line as your knees as you slowly glide your knees apart from each other (only go as far as feels comfortable)
  • Turn your toes toward the outer edges of your mat (so the arch of your foot rests on your mat)
  • Keep your core engaged to protect your low back and gently relax the weight of your hips toward the floor
  • Option to stay as you are, or lower your forearms to blocks or to the floor
  • Breathe and hold for up to 1 minute

 

8. Yogi Squat (Malasana)

Yogi Squat stretches both the inner and outer hips, making it a beautiful addition to any practice. While it requires a decent amount of flexibility to get into, you can always modify by sitting on a block or two to help distribute some of your body weight.
 
Garland Pose
 
Let’s try it:

  • Stand with your feet at least as wide as your mat, with your toes slightly turned out
  • Keeping your knees stacked over your ankles, bend your knees and drop your hips as low as you can
  • Elongate your spine and engage your core
  • Relax the weight of your hips toward the floor
  • Breathe and hold for up to 1 minute

 

9. Side Lunge (Skandasana)

Side Lunge hits all major parts of your hips (and their neighbor muscles – the hamstrings!). Basically, Skandasana is your hips’ best friend. Just like in Malasana, you can always prop your hips on a block to help support your pose.
 
Side Lunge
 
Let’s try it:

  • Face the long edge of your mat, and find a wide-legged stance (bring your feet as far apart as comfortable) with your toes slightly turned out
  • Keep your left leg straight, and bend deeply into your right knee, leaning your weight to the right to place your hands on the floor
  • Keep your right knee facing the same direction as your right toes
  • Flex your left foot and with your toes facing straight up to the sky
  • For an added balance challenge, draw your palms to meet at heart center in Anjali Mudra
  • Breathe and hold for up to 1 minute on each side

 

These Hip Stretches Will Not Only Change Your Hips – They’ll Change Your Body!

Because the hips play a huge role in just about every major movement of the body, it is important for them to be supple and mobile. By releasing tension and tightness within the hips with these hip stretches, you’ll open your body up to a world of change.
 
You may find other yoga poses become more accessible, and back pain may even magically disappear. If you’re like most people who have tight hips, releasing them with these hip stretches just may be your ticket to full body transformation.
 

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4 Hip-Opening Yoga Poses You Can Do While Working on Your Laptop
Who said that working on a laptop requires you to sit on a chair at a desk? This article will provide you with yoga poses you can do to open your hips.
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Leah Sugerman

Leah Sugerman is a yoga teacher, writer, and passionate world traveler. An eternally grateful student, she has trained in countless traditions of the practice and teaches a fusion of the styles she has studied with a strong emphasis on breath, alignment, and anatomical integrity. Leah teaches workshops, retreats, and trainings both internationally and online.

leahsugerman.com

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