Open Your Hips With Hip Circles
Start your stretch routine on your back on a yoga mat or carpeted area. Grab a belt, elastic band or a yoga strap and strap it around the end of your foot. Pull your foot toward your face, ensuring to leave your neck and head on the ground. Hold for 5 breaths, stretching your hamstring. Now start to make circles, beginning small and increasing in size. Count 5 breaths in one direction and then 5 in the other, then switch legs.
Happy Baby For Happy Hips
I love to start and end my day in bed with the Happy Baby stretch. Simply grab the outsides or insides of your feet (or your toes) and pull your knees toward your armpits. Be SURE to keep your neck and head on the floor. You can rock back and forth as well, or straighten one leg at a time, if that feels good. Hold for 10 breaths.
Open Your Hips With A Deep Squat (Malasana)
This stretch may be difficult for some and you can certainly start by sitting on a yoga block to make it a bit easier. This deep squat, also known as malasana, opens up both hips simultaneously. I love to go on my phone and check emails/text/social media while in this pose or just close my eyes and breath/disconnect. Hold at least 10 long breaths.
Your Hips Will Fly Open With The Butterfly Stretch
Did you learn this stretch in elementary school physical education class? There’s a reason why this stretch is taught at such an early age…it’s a great one! Be sure that both your sit bones are equally on the floor and that you DO NOT round your back if you decide to lean forward and intensify the stretch. Hold for 10 wonderful breaths.
The Ultimate Hip Opener: Pigeon Pose
You will never find a better hip opening stretch than pigeon pose. This opens up the hip flexors (psoas) so well, and it’s super cozy. For added support, you can always put a yoga block underneath your bum (in this photo it would go under her right glute). Start in an upright position as pictured above and, if it’s comfortable, you can come to your elbows and then down on your hands, resting your forehead on the floor or a block. Breath 10 long breaths here and just close your eyes, then switch sides.
The Frog Pose Is A Great Hip Opener:
This pose can be a bit dangerous, so be SURE to follow my instructions. Start on all 4’s, with your hands placed flat on the floor (not pictured above). Slowly start to slide your knees outward and you’ll feel a great pull in your adductors (your inner thigh muscles). Hold where it feels comfortable. If you can come down onto your elbows into the position pictured above, do so and then maybe even lay with your chest and forehead on the floor. Hold for 10 breaths.
It is VITAL that you come out of this pose correctly. You can either place your hands back on the floor and push back up onto all 4’s, coming out of the pose the way you went in, OR just slide forward onto your belly, straightening your legs behind you.
Runners Lunge To Open Your Hips
Runners lunge is such a great stretch for opening the hips and it can be made much easier by dropping the back knee down onto the matt/floor. The primary muscle stretched by the runners lunge is the psoas, a muscle that is SUPER tight in most people that sit at a desk for their job. This muscle becomes tighter and shorter throughout the years, pulling the pelvis forward, causing strain on the lower back. In the photo above, the right psoas is being stretched. Hold this for 10 full breaths and switch legs.
Triangle Opens Your Hips & Chest
Not only is triangle pose a great hip and side opener, it’s a great chest opening pose as well, which basically means it’s great for everything. Be sure to reach up toward the ceiling while simultaneously reaching downward. DO NOT dump all your body weight into one side (this would be the right side pictured above). Triangle is about lifting up toward the ceiling, not collapsing down. Hold for 10 breaths and then switch sides.
PLEASE TAKE NOTE: Hip pain and back pain are NO JOKE and should be carefully managed by your physician. Do not start any stretch or exercise routine before consulting your physician first. Listen to your body, if your hip or back pain isn’t going away, there may be a bigger problem. Call your family physician, chiropractor, or physical therapist to get to the bottom of what is going on! Be smart and listen to your body!