Ask any yoga teacher what their most requested pose is, and chances are they will all answer the same: hip stretches. Tight hips are so common, and it’s no wonder. You can get tight hips from too much running, biking, and walking, or you can get tight hips from sitting in a chair all day.
When you say you have tight hips, you could be talking about any number of things surrounding your hip. It might be your piriformis or perhaps glute medius. But most likely, you are talking about your iliopsoas or what we like to term your “hip flexors,” and they are responsible for a lot!
- Flexing your hip joint
- Flexing your trunk forward
- Pulling your knees upward
- Moving your legs from side-to-side and front-to-back
- Helping to stabilize your lower body
What are the benefits of hip stretches?
You will experience many benefits from the hip stretches below.
One is improved range of motion and circulation. When your hips feel tight, it can cause overuse of the spine, resulting in pain in your lower back. By adding hip stretches, you will be supporting the muscles in the back and spine.
Because these hip stretches are yoga poses, the benefits also extend past the physical. They can also offer you a sense of release and calm.
When you take the time to open the hips, you give space for an energetic shift and release. In traditional yoga, the hips are known as a storage space for negativity, pent-up emotions, and stress. Hip stretches allow us to free the body from any of this negativity.
So as you’re doing these stretches, make sure that you sink into the sensation and feel the release in your hips and a release in emotion.
Seven Best Yoga Hip Stretches
Here are seven hip stretches that are easy yoga moves to help alleviate those tight spots and get you moving, pain-free! Be sure to do this routine 2-3 times a week to feel the results.
This pose stretches the hip and inner thighs.
1) Begin in a plank position. Tighten your abdominals and pull your right knee toward your right hand, placing your right foot as close to your left hand as you can.
2) Keep your back leg long and keep your hips even as you relax your weight through the middle of your hips.
3) Breathe and hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Step back into plank and switch sides.
2. Crescent Lunge
This pose opens your hips and strengthens your legs.
1) From a standing position, step the ball of your left foot to the back of the mat. Keep your feet slightly wider than one another, like standing on railroad tracks.
2) Reach both arms straight overhead and bend the right knee to 90 degrees.
3) Relax your shoulders as you continue reaching up and lengthen the back leg. Hold 30 seconds to 1 minute and switch sides.
This pose stretches the chest, neck, spine, and hips and strengthens the glutes and lower back.
1) Begin lying on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor close to glutes.
2) Place arms flat on the floor next to you, tucking your shoulders under your back. Align knees with hip bones.
3) Press palms down as you lift your hips high and squeeze glutes and abdominals. Keep neck relaxed on the mat.
4) Continue to breathe and hold for 30 seconds to one minute.
4. Yogi Squat
This pose opens the hips and inner thighs.
1) Begin on feet, crouched down with tailbone between ankles and hands in prayer at chest.
2) Continue to press hands firmly together while at the same time pressing elbows against inner thighs.
3) Hold and breathe for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
5. Happy Baby
This pose opens and stretches the hips, groin, and back and promotes relaxation.
1) Begin lying on your back and grab your big toes with your index and middle fingers.
2) Gently draw toes down, so knee pulls toward shoulders. Keep elbows gently pressing knees open.
3) Relax and breathe. Hold 30 seconds to 1 minute.
This pose strengthens the upper back, stretches the chest and abs, and opens the hips.
1) Begin lying face down on your mat with your head slightly lifted and your hand sitting directly under your shoulders.
2) Point your toes, so the tops of your feet are on the mat.
3) As you exhale, press arms straight and lift upper body and front of hips off the mat.
4) Keep your legs and feet relaxed and on the ground.
5) Keep your abdominals contracted and breathe slowly.
7. Half-Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
Also known as a crescent lunge onKnee. This yoga pose provides a deep stretch for the hip flexors, groin, and legs and opens the front of the body including the chest and shoulders. When you do the half-kneeling hip flexor stretch, you will also strengthen and tone your thighs, hips, and butt, while practicing balance and stability.
Here are the steps to performing Crescent Lunge on Knee:
1) Begin in a plank position with hands directly below shoulders.
2) Step your right foot between your hands and gently lower your left knee down to the mat.
3) Tighten your abdominals as you reach your arms straight overhead and bend the front knee to a 90-degree angle.
4) Keep back lack long on mat and press hips slightly forward.
5) Breathe and hold 30 seconds. Switch sides.
More Stretches To Try
4 Minute Yoga Flow For A Bad Low Back
8 Simple Stretches for Sciatica To Relieve Pain Fast
12 Yoga Poses to Reduce Back Pain
I’d love to hear what you think of these hip stretches! Leave us a comment in the section below.
Looking for more? Try our hip-strengthening exercises for seniors.
Patty Dahmen on November 7, 2021 at 9:14 AM
I will give these stretches a try. My hips are tight all the time
Kiera on July 29, 2020 at 3:16 AM
Keep up for your work. This post is so helpful for me and anyone.
Sandy the skater on July 21, 2016 at 9:03 PM
Early morning yoga focused on hip openers and breathing techniques to target deep inner muscles have transformed my hip pain into healing and better health. My athletic experience has improved and it's a beautifully kind way to start the day.
Julie on May 5, 2016 at 8:54 PM
Wow! I did all of these exercises and for the first day in a month my hip did not hurt! Amazing! This is a new part of my routine!!!
Chris Freytag on May 6, 2016 at 8:00 AM
So happy to hear that, Julie!
kelly on February 10, 2016 at 8:02 AM
I have really tight hip flexors, more one side than the other. I did the circuit twice and can't believe how much looser I feel just after one time! I'll definitely keep this up. Thanks, Chris!!
marina on October 1, 2015 at 6:36 AM
Love,this it helps.
Sue on June 9, 2015 at 7:40 AM
Catherine on April 30, 2015 at 9:40 AM
love your website! Great workout ideas!