In my experience as a yoga teacher, the number one complaint I hear from students is that they have tight, inflexible hips! Pictured above are my all-time favorite hip opening poses. These 6 poses have completely transformed my lower body and my posture. Here’s the breakdown:
1. Low Lunge
Low lunge is the only thing that I do every single day without fail. I used to have a sway back due to weak abdominals and tight hip flexors. Integrating low lunges into my daily practice has improved my posture and freed up my hips in the best possible way! When getting into the post make sure you don’t let your knee go too far past the ankle and avoid dumping into the lower back. Try lifting out of the lower back and lift up through the chest. Hold for at least 10 breaths to get the maximum benefit.
2. Lizard (variation)
The best way to target the outer hip! Keep both hands to the inside of the front leg. Externally rotate the hip and keep your foot flexed as your press the knee towards the edge of the mat. The knee should roughly be bent at a ninety degree angle as you press your hips forward and down. If the flexibility is there, you can always lower down onto a block or your forearms. Feel free to hold this pose for a few minutes.
3. Lizard with Quad Stretch
From your lizard pose, reach back and catch a hold of the back foot. Use a strap if you’re unable to reach for it. Instead of lifting your hips towards the heel, try to pull your heel down towards you and keep your hips lowering down to the floor. This is my favorite way to stretch the quads and hip flexors which can get extremely tight! Hold for at least 10 breaths.
4. Pigeon Pose
The holy grail of hip openers! What would a yoga class be without pigeon pose? It targets the hip and glute in all the right ways. If you’re bringing your right knee behind the right wrist, focus on lengthening the left leg back. Prop yourself up on a block if your hips are hovering off the ground. Fold forward without leaning on one side more than the other. This is a wonderful pose to stay in for a few minutes on each side.
5. Square Pose
Also called double pigeon, this is an awesome pose to do if you want to kick pigeon up a notch. It’s fairly simple, stack angle over knee and knee over ankle. If your hips are tight the knees might not be as low enough to the floor for the pose to be comfortable. If that’s the case, feel free to prop yourself up on some blocks to elevate the hips. You can hold this pose by sitting up or you can fold forward to go deeper. Feel free to hold for a few minute and take deep breaths.
6. Knee Pile
Similar to square pose, in this seated posture you’re trying to stack one knee right over the other. Keep the ankles close towards the hips and you can either stay seated or fold forward to go deeper. This is a great pose to stay in for a few minutes.
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