A lot of us spend a good portion of our days in a seated position. Whether we’re commuting, sitting at our desks, eating meals, or bingeing Netflix, we’re in a seat. The problem is, spending so much of our time seated isn’t great for you and can cause hip pain, sciatica pain, and some serious discomfort.
Sitting too much means that our hips are in flexion for really long periods of time. That’s a fancy way of saying that the muscles around our hips are shortening more often than they naturally should and that shortening can cause tight hips.
Hip pain can range from mild to intense and lucky for you, yoga stretching is some of the best ways to relieve hip pain quickly and safely.
Common Causes of Hip Pain
Tight hips can be a problem that develops just by doing everyday things like carrying a heavy bag on one side, sitting or standing for long periods, or doing any physical activity with poor form.
When all of those factors tighten the hip muscles, it can cause hip pain that can manifest in a lot of different ways. Sometimes tight hips can also cause poor posture and lower back pain.
Whether you experience simple inflexibility, pinching feelings, or something more (like tendonitis or arthritis), the beginner yoga sequence below can help bring some hip pain relief!
Yoga Poses for Hip Pain
All of the yoga poses provided below are great for beginners and should be fairly simple to perform.
To make your life easier, we’ve divided the article to standing poses and reclined poses.
Before you start, we suggest having two blocks nearby for some support
Standing Yoga Poses for Hip Pain
1. Mountain Pose with Block
Place a block between your thighs and squeeze it. As you press your thighs into the block, also use them to press the block slightly back (try not to move your legs or hips).
Benefits: This stretch brings the pelvis into a neutral position, which helps bring awareness to it.
2. Mountain Pose with Step Downs
This time, place a block on the ground. Put your left foot on top of it and your right foot on the ground. Focus on keeping that neutral alignment of your pelvis here as you add in some simple movement. Firm your left outer hip (your gluteus medius) and slowly lift your right foot to the height of your left. While keeping the neutral pelvis and engaged outer hip, slowly step your right foot back down. Repeat 4 times (5 total) then switch sides.
Benefits: This stretch helps strengthen your gluteus medius, which helps stabilize your pelvis.
3. Mountain Pose with Leg Lifts
Put your block off to the side and stand in Mountain Pose. Shift your weight onto your left leg while firming your left outer hip, just like the last exercise. Slowly lift your right leg so that your knee is directly out from your hip and your ankle’s right below your knee (a 90-degree angle). Hold there for 5 seconds then release. Repeat 4 times (5 total) then switch sides.
Benefits: This yoga stretch helps strengthen your hip flexors.
Reclined Yoga Stretches for Hip Pain
4. Fire Hydrants
Come to a table pose. Keeping the knee bent, lift your right knee off the ground and start to make small circles from the right hip. Gradually move from smaller to bigger circles and then switch directions. After about 30-45 seconds, switch sides.
Benefits: This is one of the best yoga poses to help increase range of motion in the hip joints.
5. Boat Pose
Come to a seat with your feet flat on the ground, and your knees pointed up. Sit up tall, so your spine is nice and long then stretch your fingertips forward. To go deeper, keep your knees where they are as you float your feet off the ground. Eventually, you’ll be able to bring your legs into a 90-degree angle. You can also head straight there then bring your hands to the backs of your thighs for some added support.
Benefits: This is a great exercise to build core strength while also strengthening the hip flexors.
6. Seated Twist
From a seated position with your legs out long in front of you, place your right foot on the ground outside of your left leg. Bring your right hand to the ground behind your back, and use it to help keep your back upright, lengthening your spine. Then, hug your right knee with your left forearm as you twist your torso to the right. As an option, the head/gaze can work its way over the right shoulder to take the twist into the upper spine. If you want to go deeper, hook your left elbow outside of your right knee. For tight hips, you can modify by sitting on the edge of a blanket. Hold for 5-10 breaths then switch sides.
Benefits: This is a great stretch for the hips!
7. Bridge Pose
Come to your back, block nearby. Make sure your feet are underneath your knees then put the block between your thighs. With your arms long beside your body, palms facing down, start to squeeze into the block. Continue to squeeze the block as you lift your hips off the ground, coming into bridge pose. Hold the pose for 5 to 10 breaths then slowly release down and rest.
Benefits: Bridge pose stretches (and lengthens) the hip flexors, strengthens the legs and extends the spine.
8. Reclined Figure Four
Start the same way that you did for bridge pose. This time, put your right ankle on top of your left knee, making sure the foot completely clears the knee. Flex your right foot and gently press your right thigh away from you. If that feels ok and you want to go deeper, thread your right hand through the center of your legs and bring your left hand to meet it on the back of your left thigh. Then, lift your left leg to a 90-degree angle, drawing your figure four shape toward your chest. Hold for 5-10 breaths then gently release and switch sides.
Benefits: This pose stretches the piriformis, glutes, and lower back, and relieves tension in the muscles surrounding the lower back.
9. Reclined Cobbler’s Pose
Lie on your back. Bring the soles of your feet together and let your knees open out to the sides. If your hips feel tight, place a block under each knee for support. Hold this pose for at least 10 breaths, then very gently bring the knees back together.
Benefits: This is a nice stretch for the hips and the groin area.
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