Tight hips are a common complaint for a lot of people who come to Yoga. Sedentary lifestyles don’t help. Sitting for long periods of time can weaken our hip flexors and glutes. However, surprisingly enough, even those who run/walk/cycle regularly will probably suffer from tight hips, as the range of motion from the hip socket is constantly the same. So yeah, tight hips are pretty normal!
There are so many Yoga poses that help open up tight hips. I’ve listed my own top 3 below. I always advise warming up your body before any static stretching (a few rounds of Sun Salutations should do the trick 🙂 )
This might come as a surprise to some but this standing posture is a great way for not only opening tight hips, but building strength in the muscles supporting them. Stand sideways on the mat, feet wide apart. Starting from the hip socket turn the front foot forward. Turn the back foot in slightly (think 45 degrees). Bend front knee so it’s more or less over the ankle. Keep back leg straight. Stretch arms out in line with shoulders. Draw the belly in an tuck tailbone under. Hold for a few rounds of breath before switching to the other side.
The love/hate is real but it’s honestly one of the best poses for opening tight hip flexors. I suggest using rolled up blankets or blocks for this one. I’ll guide using the right side as an example. Start in a low lunge position, hands framing the front foot. Shimmy (only way I can describe it) the right foot over behind the left wrist, then lower the right knee in the opposite direction. Look back at your left leg and try lengthen it out but still keep it in line with your left hip. If you notice one hip is way higher than the other, you can pop a block or blanket underneath the right glute to help even things out. You can stay upright or else walk the hands out in front until to reach a more of a lying down position. Try hold for at least 5 rounds of breath. Not the nicest while you’re there but you’ll feel amazing after. One of my favourite sayings has to be ‘I’m sorry for what I said in Pigeon’
Supine Bound Angle Pose
More of a restorative pose, this one is quite gentle and accessible for most people. Not only great for tight hips but it has a really relaxing effect on the whole body. Start by lying down. Bend both knees and bring the feet together, then allow the knees to open out to the side, away from one another while keeping the soles of the feet together. If you need a little more support don’t be afraid to place blocks or blankets under the knees. Hands can rest by you sides or on the belly/heart. You’ll notice gravity will begin to kick in and take over most of the work. Feel free to chill here for a few rounds of breath. Really nice way of relieving tension in the lower back too.
Happy hip opening 🙂