Yoga is a great way to help sustain your body’s mobility. As we grow older this becomes more and more important if we want to continue to live as comfortably as possible. Yoga is particularly great for the hips, which are the largest joints in the human body. Unlike many movements, such as biking, running, and walking, yoga takes your hips through their full range of motion. With the variety of poses yoga has to offer it is easy to find a sequence that will move your hips throughout abduction (legs wide apart), adduction (drawing legs together), and rotation both internal and external.When hips are open, there is more range of movement, better circulation, and more support for the muscles of the back and spine. Hip openers can also help the joints of the lower back, hips and legs to come into better alignment. The hips are said to carry a lot of physical and emotional stress. Opening the hips can go beyond the physical and can create an energetic release, ridding you of negative feelings and pent up emotions.
Today I am going to take you through 13 of my favorite hip openers, these are beginner friendly movements that can be done in the comfort of your own home, many of them could even be done in bed 😉 Not only will these poses help mobilize the hip joints, they will also provide a deep stretch for the muscles surrounding the joints. Let’s get started!
1. Childs Pose
How to: Kneel on the floor with your toes together and your knees hip-width apart. On an exhale, lower your torso between your knees and extend your arms forward with your palms facing down. Relax your shoulders toward the ground. Rest here as long as desired. You can also reach your arms to each side to get a bonus side stretch 😉
Benefits: Childs pose gently relaxes the muscles on the front of the body while passively stretching the muscles on the back body. Childs pose also helps to stretch the hips, thighs, and ankles. It is also a pose that can help reduce stress and fatigue.
2. Bound Angle Pose (Two Variations)
Benefits: Bound Angle Pose stretches the inner thighs, groins, and knees. It also stimulates abdominal organs, the kidneys, and the heart, and improves general circulation throughout the body.
3. Half Lord of the Fishes Pose
How to: Begin in a pike sit. Take your right leg and cross it over the left leg placing your foot on the ground just above the left knee. Right knee should be pointed at the ceiling. Shift slightly to the left to help bend the left leg, bringing the left heel towards the right side of your bottom. The left side leg should now be resting on the ground. Take the right arm slightly behind you and inhale as you raise the left arm high. Exhale as you twist to the right bringing the arm up and over the knee. Place your gaze to the right as far as is comfortable for your neck. Hold for ten breaths. Repeat on other side.
Benefits: Half Lord of the Fishes Pose Stretches the shoulders, hips, neck, and spine. This pose can also provide relief from fatigue, backache, and sciatica. In general, twists help increase flexibility in the spine, they calm the mind, relax the nervous system, and improve digestion while cleansing the internal organs.
4. Cow Face Legs with Forward Fold
How To: From a comfortable seated position. Cross your right knee over the left, stacking one on top of the other. Rooting both sitz bones on the mat. If you feel unbalanced place a blanket under one side of you. Remain here or to go deeper, fold forward. Hold as long as it feels good. Repeat on other side.
Benefits: Cow Face Pose deeply stretches the hips. It calms the mind and brings balance to the whole body. Many people will find one side feels much different than the other.
5. Low Lunge
How To: Begin in plank or table top (on all fours) and bring your right foot forward between your hands. Let your left knee come to rest on the mat. Walk your hands up to your front thigh and place them there. Make sure your front knee is not coming over your toes, if it is, move your foot further forward. This will help protect your knee. Relax the shoulders and let your hips sink forward. Hold for 10 breaths and repeat on other side.
Benefits: Low Lunge stretches out tight quadriceps, hamstrings, groin and hips. It encourages a full range of motion in the lower body.
6. Half Spilt
How to: From your low lunge position bring the hands down to frame the foot on the ground. Straighten the front leg without locking the knee and let the chest fall towards the knee. Focus on keeping length in the low back. Hips should be directly above the knees.
Benefits: Half Spilt Pose stretches your hips, hamstrings, calves, and lower back. It also strengthens your hamstrings.
7. Pigeon Pose
How to: Begin in downward dog. Bring right ankle towards left wrist and right knee towards right wrist. Find what feels good to you, while listening to any ques your body gives you. bB careful to make sure your knee is comfortable. Lower hips until you meet the ground, or use a blanket if this is uncomfortable. Fold forward over front leg and breath into the stretch. Repeat on other side.
Benefits: Pigeon Pose increases hip mobility and stretches the hip flexors. It opens the gluteus minimus and maximus, and relaxes the piriformis and psoas muscles. It also stimulates the abdominal organs and aids in digestion.
8. Wide Angle Seated Forward Fold
How to: Sit in a straddle position. Inhale to sit tall, exhale and fall forward keeping as much length in the low back as possible. Knees should point towards ceiling. Hold for ten breaths or whatever is comfortable for you.
Benefits: Wide Angel Seated Forward Fold stretches the hamstrings, calves, spine, pelvis, and groins. It also massages and stimulates internal organs. Most notably, the kidneys, which helps improve their ability to remove toxins from the body.
9. Double Pigeon
How to: In Double pigeon you stack your legs on top of each other while in a seated position. Sometimes it is called fire log pose because the legs are stacked similar to a campfire. You can use blankets to make the position more comfortable. For a deeper stretch fold forward. Hold for ten breaths or whatever is comfortable to you. Repeat with other leg on top.
Benefits: Double Pigeon pose provides a deep stretch to the hips, opening the outer hips and buttocks. It also stretches and strengthens the groins, thighs, calves, and abdominal muscle.
10. Reclined Big Toe Pose
How to: Lay on your back and tuck both knees to chest. Let your right leg go long down your mat. Grab your left toe (or yoga strap) and extend the left leg overhead. Hold for a few breaths before letting left leg fall open to the left side. Keep right hip pressed into mat. Hold for ten breathes. Repeat on other side.
Benefits: Reclining Big Toe Pose offers a stretch to the hips, thighs, hamstrings, and calves. It also can help strengthen the muscles around the knees and can help provide relief for back pain. The pose also known to help improve digestion.
11. Happy Baby
How to: Lay on back. Bend both knees and grab the outside of your feet. Pull the legs apart and the knees towards your shoulders. Push the lower back into the mat feeling the full length of your spine. Rock back and forth and enjoy the stretch.
Benefits: Happy Baby Pose releases the muscles in the lower back and sacrum. It also opens hips, inner thighs, and groin while stretching the hamstrings. It is a great pose to do for lower back pain as it is very soothing stretch on the spine.
12. Reclined Bound Angle Pose
How to: Lay on the back and bend the knees placing the feet together on the ground. Let the legs fall open and press feet together. Breath deeply and enjoy. You may want to place blankets under your knees for comfort.
Benefits: This pose has many restorative benefits, such as a lowered blood pressure, decreased heart rate and decreased muscle tension. Reclined Bound Angle Pose stretches the groin and inner thigh muscles which improves blood flow to the pelvis. It opens the chest, allowing for deeper breathing and improved oxygen flow
13. Supported Bridge
Benefits: Back extensions such as Supported Bridge Pose relieve the hunch from poor posture and sitting, giving you more flexibility and mobility for daily activities. It also helps open the chest for better breathing. The quads and hips get a nice stretch as well.
I hope that this information gave you some ideas to work on your hip mobility. Mobility really is everything so don’t neglect it! As always, when you practice make sure to listen to your own body and only do what feels good for you. If you liked this post check out my post on Six Yoga Poses to Help Rid Your Body of Tension. Please feel free to leave any questions in the comments!
Much Love & Happy Stretching!
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