Suffering from tight hips? I’m right there with you… and I definitely put the majority of the blame on my office job. I swear there’s nothing that makes my muscles feel tighter, worsens my posture, or sets me back several steps in the flexibility department, than sitting at a desk hunched over a computer all day long. This is mostly due to the fact that sitting for extended periods of time causes your hip flexors to shorten – which can lead to inflexibility, lower back pain, incorrect posture and limited mobility.
It’s seriously incredible how much your hip flexors effect the rest of your body, so it’s extra important to give them a little more attention and care. The following 6 stretches are some of my favorite yoga poses to help relieve tight hips after a long day in the office. If you’re someone who also sits for the majority of the day, whether it be at a desk, car or even on the couch, set aside 15 min each day to try these out and let me know if you feel a difference!
This asana has always been one of my favorites and it provides such a yummy stretch for not only your hips, but also your thighs and groin. It’s an amazing stress reliever and it’s one of my go-to’s if I had a particularly rough day or if I have a lot on my mind.
There are several variations of this pose but the best one to ease into when your hips are extra tight like mine is the beginner version shown in the photo. Once you feel comfortable here, you can start to bring your front facing leg forward to be parallel with the mat while flexing the foot. This provides a deeper, more intense hip opening stretch.
- From downward facing dog, bring your gaze in front of your hands and slowly bring the right knee towards your chest.
- Drop the right knee down in between your hands on the mat and keep your left leg back. Straighten your back leg while pointing the toe and keeping the heel faced towards the ceiling.
- Gently lower your bottom down towards the mat, keeping your hips squared and alternating between flexing and pointing the right foot.
- Inhale and bring your upper body away from your legs, pushing strong through your fingertips, arms straight, tailbone down, chest expanded outwards.
- Stay here for 10 full breaths before moving back into downward facing dog
- Repeat on other side.
I love this super dynamic standing pose because it engages all your muscles at once and it’s a great introduction to heart opening asanas. It effectively stretches the hips, groin, hamstrings, and also opens up the shoulders and chest. Sooo basically, if you only have time for one stretch definitely make it this one.
If you decide to incorporate a small backbend with this pose, be sure to keep your arms aligned with your ears instead of letting the neck drop back. All of us have flexy lower backs but any backbend in yoga should begin at the heart center, which requires your chest and shoulders to be flexible as well.
- Beginning in downward facing dog, bring the right knee towards the chest and drop the foot firmly onto the mat.
- Keeping your right knee directly above your right ankle, push down with both your left leg and right foot as you raise your torso up.
- With both your front and back legs active, keep your hips squared (facing forward) while dropping down so your right thigh is parallel with the mat and your right knee is bent 90 degrees.
- Tuck your tailbone, engage your abs and sweep your arms straight above your head.
- Hold for 8 breaths.
- Repeat on the other side.
One of the key poses for split prep, low lunge is a great way to release tension in your hips as well as build balance and core awareness. I’m a huge fan because my hips always feel a million times better after holding this pose for several breaths on each side. It’s also a great base pose to work into any yoga flow and can easily be transitioned into more difficult asanas.
To engage all your muscles and add more focus to your practice, try lifting your arms straight above your head. For a more relaxed variation, you can chose to bring your hands together in front of your chest and close your eyes while you breathe through the pose.
- From crescent lunge, drop the back leg down to the mat.
- Lift your torso and raise your arms directly over your head, finger tips spread and arms in line with your ears.
- Engage your abdomen and hold for 5 breaths, allowing your hips to sink deeper into the stretch.
- Repeat on other side.
When I first started practicing yoga several years ago, this was one of the poses I absolutely hated. My hips were so tight that I couldn’t bring my elbows all the way to the mat and I wouldn’t dare add a spinal twist in fear that my whole body would break. However, after my hips started to loosen a little more, I was finally able to find comfort in this challenging but wonderfully effective pose.
You can choose to bring your back leg down in a low lunge as shown or keep it lifted off the mat for more of a challenge. Similarly, feel free to keep both elbows on the mat while gazing straight ahead or add a lovely spinal twist while opening up the chest and extending your arms towards the sky.
- Starting in downward facing dog, bring your right leg towards your chest dropping the foot in between your hands while dropping the left leg onto the mat.
- Keep your left arm straight and place your right hand on your knee, opening up your hips outwards for a more intense stretch.
- Hold for 3 breaths and slowly sink both elbows and forearms down onto the mat.
- Hold for an additional 5 breaths and repeat on the other side.
Happy Baby Pose
Okay, so I know this stretch looks incredibly awkward but trust me – it’s an amazing stretch for those tight hips and feels wonderful at the end of a long yoga practice. And even if you’re not in the mood to practice a full yoga session or workout, you can always just do this on the floor of your living room while watching tv!
This pose is great for whenever your back is feeling a little achy or sore. Feel free to hold it for a minute or two, slowly breathing throughout while it works out all the kinks in your back, hips and hamstrings.
- Start by laying on your back.
- Exhaling, lift your knees towards your belly while keeping the hips flexed.
- On your next inhale, grip both feet with your hands and spread your legs slightly wider than your torso while bringing your knees towards your armpits.
- Bring your ankles above your knees so your calves are perpendicular to the floor. (You can tell my hips and hamstrings were extra tight today since I couldn’t comfortably align my ankles directly above my knees).
- Hold for 30 seconds – 2 minutes.
Similarly to Happy Baby Pose, child’s pose is a great way to relax after a strenuous workout. It’s a very gentle stretch so it’s one of my go-to’s when I’m super sore or want to rest in-between yoga poses. If you happen to have a workout buddy, friend or significant other, you can ask them to gently push down on your lower back as you’re in this pose for a deeper stretch.
You can either do this pose with your arms outstretched as pictured above, or you can tuck your arms near your body while resting your forehead on the ground.
- Start in table-top position (on hands and knees, back parallel to the floor).
- Separate your knees about hips width apart and sink your bottom towards your heels.
- Keeping your back as straight as possible, stretch your arms out towards the front of your mat, palms facing down and fingers outstretched.
- As you breathe keep lowering your back towards the floor, feeling a gentle stretch in the hip flexors.
- Hold for 1-2 minutes.
And there you have it! 6 of my favorite hip opening asanas that are guaranteed to relieve tension, loosen tight hips and increase flexibility. Thanks so much for reading, I know this was a lengthy one! Please let me know if you’d like to continue to see more step-by-step tutorials on my blog. 😄
Have a lovely day!
*Please note that I am not a certified yoga instructor, and all tips provided are solely gained from my own personal practice.