Hip opening poses should be included in your routine to increase your range of motion, relieve tight muscles and even prevent back pain.
The pelvic region plays a key role in body movements as it is where your body hinges from. Sitting for too long, leaning more weight on one foot, and overexercising can cause them to get tight or injured. Incorporate these hip opening yoga poses into your practice to increase your range of motion for daily activities and relieve tight muscles.
(Also read: 7 Easy Stretches You Must Do Every Morning)
Start with feet mat’s distance apart. Turn toes 45 degrees outwards. Squat and bring hips down. Relax in the pose for one minute.
Scale it down: If this is too challenging and you find it hard to lower your hips or heels, try bringing your feet closer together.
A stationary high lunge stretches and strengthens. The front leg has to stay active to support the body while the back leg gets a good stretch all over.
Stand with feet together. Take a big step forward with your right foot. The right knee should be bent at 90 degrees. Keep your left leg straight with your knees and heels off the floor. Stay for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Scale it down: If you are unable to support your weight, opt for the next pose, the low lunge, instead.
(Also read: 10 Lunge Variations For Longer And Leaner Legs)
For a deeper leg stretch, try a low lunge. This is similar to the high lunge but it helps to stretch the front leg’s hamstrings and the back leg’s quads. It is also a more stable and less strenuous pose if you are unable to hold a high lunge.
Start in high lunge pose. Lower the back knee. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Scale it down: Place towel or mat under your back knee for cushioning if needed. Keep your front leg engaged to take the pressure off your knee. You can also tuck in your back toes to the mat for less pressure on your back knee.
(Also read: How to Do Lunges Without Hurting Your Knees)
The lizard pose helps to give the hamstrings and hip flexors a deeper stretch. It is also great a great stretch for the inner thigh as you can repeat this pose at various angles.
Start in a high lunge. Place hands beside front feet. Bounce softly. Place elbows down for a deeper stretch. Hold for 30 seconds. Turn front foot 45 degrees and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat the process on the other side to complete.
Scale it down: For those with tight hips, bring your front leg behind your elbow and bring it closer to your body. Bounce and move side to side to release tension.
Scale it up: If you want a deeper stretch, lift the arch of your front foot and tilt it to the side. Keep rocking your body to push the front knee as far away from your body as possible.
(Also read: Best Floor Stretches For Runners with Tight Muscles)
The pigeon pose helps to stretch the upper and outer thigh and can be adjusted based on your flexibility.
Start in a downward dog. Bring your right knee behind the right wrist and right ankle to left wrist. Keep thighs and butt on the floor. Hold for one minute. Repeat on other side to complete.
Scale it down: You can bring your front foot closer to the body if this stretch is too much for your hips and thighs.
Scale it up: On the other hand, if you’re flexible, move your front foot away such that your knees are angled at more than 90 degrees. You can also prop your front foot on a block.
Target the back and side of the thigh with the double pigeon. It helps to further relax the top leg as the bottom leg acts as a block for added height.
Start in a cross-legged sitting position. pigeon pose. Stack your left ankle over the right knee, and your left knee over the right ankle. Lean forward slowly as much as you can. Hold for one minute. Switch sides.
This is a classic pose that stretches the upper leg muscles and butt.
Stand up and lean forward. Place hands on floor and slide legs away from each other as much as possible. Flex toes to stretch calves or relax for a thigh stretch. Hold for one minute.
Scale it down: If you are unable to sit in a straight line, simply bring your legs closer together until you reach a comfortable position. Then, open them slightly to give yourself a stretch.
Scale it up: If you can relax in a side split, challenge yourself by placing your feet up on blocks. This will put you in a split that is deeper than 180-degrees.
The frog pose is like an intense pose for the inner thighs so do this at your own pace.
Start with both legs splayed outwards with knees bent at 90 degrees. Lean forwards till your forearms and elbows are on the floor. Hold for a minute. Allow your tummy to sink deeper towards the floor as you get comfortable. Remember to take regular deep breaths.
Scale it down: Bring your knees behind your hips and let your elbows support your body weight.
(Also read: Easy Ways to Do Yoga in Bed)
Front splits look difficult, but they are usually easier than side splits as they require less external rotation.
You can start in a low lunge position – rest your back knee and top of the foot to the floor and extend your right foot as much as possible to the front while straightening your right leg. You may rest your hands on blocks if needed.
Rock back and forth to feel the stretch in both legs. With regular practice, you’ll be able to fo a full split.
(Also read: 5 Calf Stretches That Every Runner Should Do)