Best Yoga Poses To Increase Hip Flexibility
The hips are a super important part of the body. They are mainly responsible for the movement of the upper legs, and support the weight of the upper body. There are two main parts of the hip joint: the ball, otherwise known as the femoral head, and the top of the thighbone, otherwise known as the femur. The two parts fit into the acetabulum, which is the rounded socket of the hip, located in the pelvis.
There are over 15 different muscles at work when the hip has full range of motion. Hip flexibility is the term used to describe how flexible or how efficient the movements made from the hip are. It’s important for a variety of different reasons, including range of motion and strength. When the hips are tight and lack that vital flexibility, they can hinder full range of motion, which can lead to back strain and an increased risk of injury. So, how can yoga help with hip flexibility? Let’s find out.
How do you increase hip flexibility?
Nobody wants tight hips, and that’s why it’s vital to make sure you’re doing all the right things to keep them limber. The best way to increase hip flexibility is to stretch regularly – and to practice yoga! Yoga is a great practice to help open up those hips and release that tension.
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Yoga hip openers for beginners
There are many different yoga poses that can be beneficial for tight hips. They can be done by both beginners and experienced yogis alike. The following five poses will help you increase your hip flexibility to help with your range of motion and decrease any back pain you might be experiencing.
1. Happy Baby Pose
The happy baby pose is a great place to start getting your hips loosened up. Start by lying on your back on your mat and pulling your knees to your chest. Once there, place your hands on the outsides of your feet while they are in the air, and open your knees wider than hip stance. Then press your feet into your hands while you pull down on them. This creates resistance in the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds while breathing deeply and repeat as necessary.
2. Half pigeon
Half pigeon is a great pose that provides a more moderate stretch than happy baby pose. You’ll start by positioning yourself in a runner’s lunge with your right leg forward. You right knee should be over your right ankle, with your left leg straight behind you. Walk your right foot towards your left hand and drop your right knee outwards to the floor. Your dropped leg will then be perpendicular to your opposite leg.
With your leg rested on the floor, you can either hold the position there or lean forward at the hips, resting your head on your forearms. Hold for 30 seconds while breathing deeply and repeat on both sides. If you are unable to lean all the way over or feel any pain when you do, you can use yoga blocks to help you stabilize and still enjoy the stretch without having to go into the full pose.
3. Low lunge pose
The low lunge pose is great for beginners because it’s a gentle stretch that targets the hip flexors directly. To perform this stretch, start in a runner’s lunge position with your right leg forward and your left leg back. The right knee should be aligned with the right ankle. Then lower your left leg to the mat gently and slowly lift your torso. To deepen the stretch, lean your hips forward without causing your right knee to go past the toes on your right foot. To deepen even further, you can raise your hands over your head. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on both sides.
Image by Alex Shaw on Unsplash: Does yoga help with hip flexibility? Yes!
4. Crescent lunge pose
This is like low lunge pose, just slightly different. It also targets the hip flexors directly and can bring about a great stretch to improve hip mobility. To get into this stretch, start in a low lunge. Then straighten your back leg and move on the ball of your foot. This easy stretch should be held for 30 seconds and repeated on both sides. Those with hip issues should benefit from this gentle stretch the most.
5. Wide leg child’s pose
Child’s pose is very popular and has a bunch of benefits. It helps to improve digestion, lengthen your lower back, and calm your mind. When it comes to tight hips, child’s pose is particularly beneficial. There are two types of child’s poses that you can do. One is with your legs hip-width apart and the other with your legs wide. The wide-leg variation is the best option if you want to improve flexibility.
To perform this stretch, start on your hands and knees. Once there, sit back between your heels. While exhaling, lower your belly down in between your knees and rest there for 30 seconds. While in the pose you want to ensure that your hips are back for the optimal stretch.
Hip flexibility is crucial for everyday movement. Many people feel tightness in their hips, but by doing any of the above stretches on a regular basis, you can improve your hip flexibility, loosen your muscles, and get full range of motion back.
Featured image by Patrick Malleret on Unsplash
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