Most of us, today, spend a lot of our time sitting. This doesn’t just mean sitting at a desk. It also means the couches we sit on at night, the cars we sit in on our way to wherever we’re going, the restaurants we sit in with friends, and even the seats we take on public transport.
Sitting down for the majority of our day takes its toll on the body. From tight hamstrings, hunched backs, and closed chests, tight hips is one of the many ramifications of our modern lives.
A lot of our yoga practice targets the hips, whether that is to open them, strengthen them, or simply stretch them. Here are our favourite ways to open up tight hips.
Supta baddha konasana
A very simple and relaxing pose, supta baddha konasana is a great way to open a class. Lying on your back with the soles of the feet together and knees out wide, it’s a restorative way to open up through the hips and the inner thighs. If there is a lot of tightness through the hips and this pose is difficult to hold, you can place a block under each knee for added support.
This open standing pose works to open the hips while building strength and focus. With a deep bend in the front knee it allows for a lot of space to be created through the hips. It also strengthens the glutes, the thighs, and the shoulders. It’s a great pose to use throughout a standing series when working to open the hips. It also paves the way for side angle, triangle, and half moon, which are all open hip poses.
Half Moon Pose
Another pose that works on opening and strengthening at the same time. Half moon pose is a standing balance where we are stacking our hips and shoulders. As we do this it creates a beautiful opening for both the hips and the shoulders, while also allowing strength through the standing leg and the lifted leg, the core, and the glutes. It’s perfect as a peak hip opening pose through the standing series.
Half Pigeon Pose
As the practice starts to wind down, more restorative hip openers can come into play. One of our favourites is half pigeon pose. With the front shin parallel (or as close to parallel as feels good) to the front edge of the mat and the back leg stretched out behind the body, it works the outside of the hips on the front leg and the hip flexors on the back leg. It’s a strong pose working on external rotation of the hips and allows options from staying on the hands, to lying all the way out in front of the body with the arms reaching forward.
Cow Face Pose
Just like half pigeon, cow face pose is a great restorative option and works on internal rotation of the hips. With the legs crossed over each other working towards having the knees stacking, this pose is deep for a lot of us. It can help to sit up on a block to elevate the hips. Once you find a semi comfortable position you can either stay upright, or start to fold forward to create a deeper variation.