The pelvic-hip region is a complex structure in our bodies. With so many supporting ligaments, muscles and bones, the hips are a common area for feeling tightness, limitations or pain. Practicing these yoga poses on a regular basis can help ease any discomforts in the region, and they can help to prevent any further issues. Each pose should be held for around 20 seconds or more to really receive all the benefits that these poses offer, especially the increased range of motion.
Lizard Pose / Utthan Pristhasana
This pose is also referred to as Runners Lunge. To protect the lunging knee, make sure that the knee stays stacked over the ankle. The stretch is happening on the backside of the lunged side and on the hip flexor of the leg that is behind.
To deepen the stretch, lower onto the forearms. Holding this pose for 5-8 breaths on each side should be enough time to get a nice stretch.
Half Pigeon Pose / Ardha Kapotasana
This is everyone’s favorite hip opener. When I am teaching this pose, I see many yogis doing this in an unsafe way. Make sure to keep the hips squared forward to protect the knee that is behind. The leg that is in front can be stabilized by dorsi-flexing the ankle, to support the knee. This is a wonderfully deep stretch in the piriformis muscle, the muscle that can compress the sciatic nerve. Half pigeon pose will relieve pain for most people dealing with sciatic issues.
Reclined Butterfly / Supta Baddha Konasana
This is a restorative yoga pose, meaning there is no muscle activity. We relax and let gravity do the work here, allowing the knees to open and stretch the inner thighs. This is such a relaxing pose, I usually practice this pose towards the end of my yoga flow, and sometimes at night before bed too.
Kneeling Crescent Lunge / Anjaneyasana
This is a wonderfully deep stretch for the hip flexors. The leg that is behind is allowing a lengthening of the front side of the hip, reaching the arms overhead continues that stretch all up the front side of the body. This is an excellent stretch for anyone who is dealing with low back pain that is caused by an anterior pelvic tilt. If you ever feel any back pain from a long run, this stretch can help to prevent and minimize that pain. This stretch is also known for improving posture.
Happy Baby / Ananda Balasana
Another deep stretch for the hip adductors, the inner thighs. To heighten the sensations, you can roll side to side to massage out the low back while stretching the inner thighs.
These yoga poses are an awesome tool for stretching ideas that follow a leg focused training day. I recommend these poses to be done after a workout or at night to allow the body to relax for a restful sleep session.
What are some of your favorite yoga poses for the hips.