Posted on August 25 2017
My hips are one area that I find gets the stiffest if I don’t stay active. This area also tends to get stiff when I am super stressed out as well. This may be because there are so many muscles in the area and stress leads to tightening of the muscle groups. In fact, there are abductors, which are muscles on the outer thigh and adductors which are the muscles that connect at the inner thigh there. Altogether, this is a network of more than 20 muscles. Your hips are where your top half of your body joins the bottom half and if it is stiff in this area, you will feel it in your groin, legs, lower and mid-back as well as all the way up your spine. This affects your ability to move through everyday life. Here are some hip-opening yoga poses to help loosen up this area of your body.
The Butterfly Pose is one of my favorite simple hip openers. Sit on the floor/ground and lay your legs out as if you were going to sit cross-legged. Bring the soles of your feet together and hold them with your hands, if you can. If not, just place your hands wherever they are comfortable. Try to lay your knees as close to the ground as possible, stretching out the hips and inner thighs in the process.
The deep lunge is great for hip opening as well as a good back stretch. Start on your knees. Bring one leg forward and place the sole of that foot flat on the ground. Your knee should be bent at a 90-degree angle. With your other leg, point your toes down on the ground and hold them in that position. Let your knee rest on the floor. Gently raise your arms over your head and press into your stretch.
Alternatively, if you are in a standing position to start, simply do a lunge and gently come down on one knee. Stretch your hips and come up on your toes on your leg that is on the ground. Either way, make sure you do both legs.
I admit this one takes some practice, but it feels really great on your lower back and hips once you get it down. Stand on both legs with them about a hip length apart. Bring your hands to heart. With one leg, stack your ankle on top of your thigh, bending the knee of the leg on the ground slightly. Look up and arch your back a little. Hold this pose and breathe. Switch legs.
Frog Pose (Modified)
The frog pose unmodified is not something I am flexible enough to do yet so I modify it a bit and still use it. Start by sitting on your knees. Bring your head forward and at the same time open your hips and allow the knees to slide the hip open. Do it as far as you can that is comfortable. You can either keep your feet close to each other or apart, resting on your toes. This is a wonderful pose to sit in and breathe.
Tree Pose (Modified)
The Tree Pose can be done traditionally for a hip opener, but I also like to do it in a modified way to gently open the hips when they are especially stiff. This involves not bringing the sole of my foot to rest on my inner thigh while standing, but instead bringing one leg up at a time, and pointing my toes downward to further stretch the leg.
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