6 Yoga Poses for Open Hips
Updated: Mar 15, 2022
Tension in the hips, knees and lower back can occur from tight muscles around the hip. Prolonged sitting, lack of exercise and even overtraining in the gym contribute to tight hips. The hips are known to store emotional memories and trauma, so don't be surprised if you feel an emotional release and shed some tears. Try these 6 yoga poses to improve flexibility and decrease discomfort in the body. With all stretches, never push your body to pain- find your resistance and allow the breath to take you deeper into the pose. Breathe in and out of the nose.
1. BADDHA KONASANA
1- Inhale, sit on floor and take knees out with the bottom of the feet together. Grab the feet and lengthen the spine.
2- Exhale, lean forward while keeping the spine straight until you feel some resistance in the hips. Hold for 5-10 breaths or 30-60 sec. The stretch will be felt in the inner groin and hips.
3- Inhale, lift the head and lengthen the spine.
4- Exhale, release the pose.
** If you take the feet further away from the groin, the pose will be less intense. Not everyones knees will be able to come down towards the floor due to tight hips and/ or anatomical differences.
2. AGNISTAMBHASANA or double pigeon pose
1- Inhale, sit on floor with legs straight out in front of you.
2- Exhale, bend the right knee and place the outer ankle on the left thigh above the knee. Bend the left leg under the right leg so the shins are stacked on top of each other. Press the balls of the feet away and flex both feet. If the right knee is very high in the air or there is discomfort in the knee, take a block or rolled up towel on the floor in front of the left knee. Place the right outer ankle on the block.
2- Inhale, lengthen the spine and lift the chest.
3- Exhale, lean forward until you feel a stretch in the outer right hip or whatever leg is on top. Hold for 5-10 breaths.
4- Inhale, left the head and torso up and straighten the legs. Repeat on the left side.
** Not everyone will be able to have the knees down due to flexibility limitations and anatomical differences.
3. UPAVISTHA KONASANA
1- Inhale, sit on the floor and take legs apart. Reach for the feet, ankle or shins depending on your flexibility. Lengthen the spine.
2- Exhale, bring chest towards floor while keeping the chest lifted and the back straight. Keep the shoulder away from the ears and the shoulder blades and back muscles firming into the body. Firm the thighs and feel the heels press away and the toes pull back. Hold for 5-8 breaths. The stretch will be felt in the inner and back side of legs.
3- Inhale, lift the chest and lengthen the spine.
4- Exhale, release the pose and bring feet together.
** If dealing with spinal disc issues, keep the head higher and the back straight to avoid rounding of the back and strain on the spine.
4. ANJANEYASANA or low lunge
1- From kneeling position, inhale and take a large step forward with the right leg and keep the left knee on the floor. Take a far enough step so the right knee is bent at a 90 degree angle with the ankle. Use a towel or blanket to cushion the left knee if needed.
2- Exhale, place your hands on the hips.
3- Inhale, lengthen the spine and keep the chest lifted. Lean until you feel a stretch in the front left hip. Without actually moving the legs, feel the legs pull towards each other, like a scissoring action. Hold for 5-8 breaths.
4- Exhale, step the right leg back to meet kneeling position. Repeat on the left side.
** Scissoring the legs together will activate the pelvis and build stability while being stretched. Keep the knee behind the toes.
5. SUPTA PADAGUNDASTANA
1- Inhale, begin on the back in supine position with both legs straight.
2- Exhale, bend the right knee and place a strap over the ball of the foot.
3- Inhale, extend the right leg until you feel a stretch in the back of the thigh. Keep head and upper back blade on the floor. Hold for 5-10 breaths.
4- Exhale, release the right leg back to the floor. Repeat on left side.
** If the pose is too difficult or is felt in the lower back, bend the left leg and have the foot on the floor instead of keeping the leg straight.
1- Inhale, take the feet wider than the hips and splayed out to the sides. Bring your hands together.
2- Exhale, lower the pelvis into a squatting position while keeping the knees wide and in line with the toes. The arms are pressed against the inner thighs to keep them open. Keep the spine straight and chest lifted. Hold for 5-8 breaths. The stretch will be felt in the inner and under area of the hips.
** Avoid pain in knees by not squatting down so low and staying in an appropriate range of motion. Keep the heels planted on floor and release hands if it is too intense.