Hip Stretches - 10 Best Hip-Opening Yoga Poses

Hip Stretches - 10 Best Hip-Opening Yoga Poses

Hips stretches are one of the most important ways to maintain and increase your overall mobility and flexibility. Your hips can get very tight after sitting all day at a desk, so it’s crucial to keep up with a stretch routine at some point in the day. Your hips can also store built up emotions and energy so these hip-opening yoga poses can be great for release and an overall sense of balance. Below are 10 different hip stretches to practice at least once a day:


Three Legged Dog Hip Rotations

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Find a comfortable downward facing dog and ground yourself with both feet equally spaced hip width apart. Spread your fingers and press them equally into the ground while relaxing the upper back. Once you feel comfortable in this pose, slowly lift one leg up towards the sky keeping both hips pointed down. Slowly bend the knee and point it across the body gently until you feel a slight hip stretch.

You may also feel a stretch in the hamstring of the other leg. Once you feel comfortable with this movement, begin to make circles with the leg to bring mobility into the practice.

Sanskrit name: Eka pada adho mukha svanasana (Three Legged Dog Pose)
Level of Difficulty: Beginner Hip Stretch
Pose Type: Stretch, Balance


Lunges

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Lunges are some of the best hip stretches you can do and there are tons of variations based on the level of difficulty you are looking for. From the previous pose (your three legged dog), step one foot forward between your hands and keep your knee in line with your ankle. You should already feel a hip stretch here, but if you’d like to take the pose further you can lift your arms up to frame your ears. Repeat the same lunge on the other side to keep both hips in balance.

 

Sanskrit name: Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge Pose)
Level of Difficulty: Beginner Hip Stretch
Pose Type: Stretch


Camel Pose

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Camel pose is a great way to stretch the hip flexors and open up the entire front body. Come to a kneeling position and place your hands at your lower back. Slowly begin to arch the back and lean slightly backward. Push the hips forward and slowly bend the head back while relaxing the muscles in the neck and back. Make sure to not strain your neck or back and come back up if it feels too intense. The natural curve that this pose provides will also help strengthen the back.

 

Sanskrit name: Ustrasana (Camel Pose)
Level of Difficulty: Moderate Hip Stretch
Pose Type: Back Bend, Chest Opener, and Hip Opener


Pigeon Pose

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Pigeon pose is one of the best hip stretching yoga poses to loosen up the body, increase flexibility, and release built up emotions. It is also a great yoga pose for digestion and can help ease the lower pack. Starting in a tabletop position, lift one leg straight back. Once you feel balanced, draw the knee in towards the chest and place it down between the hands. Slowly slide the back leg into a straightened position. As you lower down, slide the front toes out so that the bottom of your leg is parallel with the front of your mat.

Once you are in pigeon pose, you can lay flat on the leg and feel the hip stretch from there. If you’re looking for a deeper hip stretch, keep your legs where they are and lift up towards the ceiling with the crown of the head and find a straight line down to the hips. You’ll also feel a stretch in the glutes here. Take deep breaths while visualizing the stuck energy flowing through the hips as you stretch and find awareness in the hips.


Sanskrit name: Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (Pigeon Pose)
Level of Difficulty: Moderate Hip Stretch
Pose Type: Hip Opener, Good Yoga Pose for Digestion


Dancer Pose

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Dancer pose is a standing yoga pose that is a deep hip opener with many other benefits. It requires some balance but there are plenty of modifications to try as you practice.

From standing, lift one leg into a quad stretch and reach behind to wrap your hand around the outside of your foot. Practice balancing here first and slowly try to lift the leg as you lean your heart forward. Continue to reach the leg up towards the sky until you start to feel a deep hip stretch.
One way to stay balanced in this pose is to focus on a point directly in front of you and continue to stare at it as you move your body.

Sanskrit name: Natarajasana (Dancer Pose)
Level of Difficulty: Advanced Hip Opener
Pose Type: Hip Opener, Balance Pose, Chest Opener, Backbend


Happy Baby Pose

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Happy Baby is a great beginner stretch to do before bed, especially if you’ve been sitting all day. Happy Baby is a yoga pose to increase your flexibility and movement. Not only does it open the hips, it’s also a great stretch for the hamstrings and inner thighs.

While laying on your back with your head on the ground, lift your legs up so that the bottom of your feet face the ceiling. Grab the outsides of each foot and gently spread your knees apart towards the ground. Rock back and forth to make the most out of the stretch.


Sanskrit name: Ananda Balasana (Happy Baby Pose)
Level of Difficulty: Beginner Hip Stretch
Pose Type: Hip Opener, Hamstring Stretch, Inner Thigh Stretch



Bound Angle (Butterfly Pose)

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Bound Angle pose is a great way to open the hips and stretch the glutes and inner thighs. It is a seated pose that is great if you typically slouch while working or spend a lot of time seated.

While in a seated position, bring the bottoms of the feet to touch in front of you. Keep your posture straight by reaching the crown of your head to the ceiling. Gently press the knees down towards the ground until you start to feel a stretch. If this is not enough of a stretch for you, fold forward onto your legs with your hands reaching directly in front of you. Make sure to keep a flat back while folding deeper into this pose.

Sanskrit name: Baddha Konasana (Butterfly Pose)
Level of Difficulty: Beginner Hip Stretch
Pose Type: Hip Opener, Glute Stretch, Seated Yoga Pose



Lizard Pose

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Lizard pose is one of the best hip opening poses in yoga. It is also a great stretch for your quads and hamstrings. Lizard pose is a great way to practice staying present in your body as the stretch can get somewhat intense if you aren’t used to stretching the hips.

Start in downward dog pose. Lift your right leg and bring it between the hands. Stack the knee directly over the angle and straighten the back leg so you are in a lunge position. Gently move the foot closer to the right hand and right edge of your yoga mat. Keep your hips square and down so they stay equally balanced. Move your right arm to the inside of the right foot and place both forearms down on the mat in line with the foot. As you slowly lower into the forearms, you will feel a deep stretch in the back leg. You can also lower the knee down on the back leg if the stretch is too intense.


Sanskrit name: Utthan Pristhasana (Lizard Pose)
Level of Difficulty: Beginner Hip Stretch
Pose Type: Hip Opener, Lunge Variation


Downward Facing Frog Pose

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Frog Pose is known to improve circulation and flexibility. This pose requires some flexibility but is great for hip mobility as well as easing lower back pain.

Start in tabletop pose. Make sure you feel grounded and balanced here. Slowly start to move the knees out until you feel a stretch. The inside of your legs should be facing the floor as you continue to slide down. Continue to lower down into the stretch until you feel that you’ve reached the stretch you need.

Sanskrit name: Mandukasana (Frog Pose)
Level of Difficulty: Moderate Hip Opener Stretch
Pose Type: Hip Stretch, Inner Thigh Stretch, Pose for Lower Back Pain


Yogi Squat

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Yogi squat is a great way to strengthen the feet and legs while opening the hips. From a standing position, turn your feet outwards to about a 45 degree angle. Lower into a squat as you typically would until your tailbone is between your ankles. Press your palms together in front of you making your elbows wide against your inner thighs and hold the pose while breathing deeply to feel the stretch.


Sanskrit name: Malasana (Yogi Squat)
Level of Difficulty: Beginner Hip Stretch
Pose Type: Hip Stretch, Inner Thigh Stretch


While practicing hip stretches or any form of movement, the most important thing is to listen to your body. Start off slowly and find awareness in the sensation to gauge what your body needs more or less of. Stay patient with yourself and try to practice these stretches daily and you’ll notice an increase in your flexibility and mobility.

 

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