Hi friends! I have decided to do a little series on exercises and stretches for different parts of the body that are simple yet effective. Today I am focusing on the hips. Many people, including myself, are quite stiff in their hips and it’s an important area of the body to strengthen and increase flexibility. When we are stiff, anywhere in our bodies, it becomes easier to injure ourselves. When muscles and tendons are tight, then they can more easily cause an injury even just from lifting heavy furniture or jumping into an intense workout, exercise, or sport. So it is very important to open and stretch out all the different areas of the body. You don’t necessarily have to stretch out every single muscle group everyday – maybe focus on an area per day or try a yoga sequence that targets most areas of the body. These stretches below are great to do before and/or after a workout.
Here are 5 exercises to open hips:
1. Pigeon Pose – bring right leg in front of you, perpendicular to your left leg, which is straight behind you. Slowly ease yourself down over your front leg and let your hip release. Then repeat on the other side with the left leg in front. You can stretch each side as long as feels good for your body. I like to lay there a good minute or so to really open up my hips. I am not the most flexible, so breathing through it feels good!
While in pigeon it feels good to lift your back leg up and get a quad stretch. It also stretches out your arms and shoulders a bit which feels good!
2. Modified Tree Pose – bring your right leg up as if to rest it on your inner thigh for tree pose, but pull it out to the side instead. This pose is another great hip opener and it also improves balance as well! Repeat on the other side.
3. Flat Footed Squat – This pose can look easy, but can actually be quite challenging for lots of people to get their feet flat on the ground. That is the goal, but just get as close as you can. While keeping feet flat on the ground, work on pressing your palms together and pressing out against your inner thighs to increase the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Listen to your body and the more you do it, the more your hips will open and release!
4. Modified Forward Fold – This pose is great for loosening the hamstrings as well as the hips. The more you practice this pose, the further you will be able to bend over. The wider your stance, the easier it will be to bend over.
5. Thread the Needle – Begin by lying on your back and bring your right ankle across your left thigh. Now reach through and take hold of your left knee, pulling it towards you as you gently push your right knee away from you. Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Switch and repeat on other side, with your left leg perpendicular to your right, crossed over your right knee.
I hope these 5 exercises to open hips help you become stronger and more flexible! Let me know, in the comments below, if you have any other favorite hip poses that I didn’t mention 🙂