Sitting for long periods of time can take a toll on the body, especially the hips. If you sit for extended periods of time, you may be feeling tightness in the front, back or side of your hips. Although most people think this is due to the aging process, it’s likely a reflection of your posture.
Sitting for extended periods of time brings your body out of balance, and in particular, your hips. To learn proper posture and ergonomics, I created a blog post to help you find better seating to support your body.
Whether the tightness in your hips is stemming from poor posture, excessive sitting or specific exercises, I want to help you feel better. When you’re ready, here are some exercises to improve your hip mobility.
In this article, I share 4 specific exercises to stretch the hips. Grab your mat, a yoga strap and let’s get started!
Strap Series #1 – Exercises to Stretch Hips
For the first three exercises, you’ll need a strap. You don’t need a fancy yoga strap, but if you want one, this is my favorite set. If you’re at home without a yoga strap, no worries. You can use a belt, scarf, rolled towel, or long sock instead.
You’ll start by lying on your back with the strap by your side. Begin to connect to your breath and slow it down. It’ll be a lot easier to relax and release tight hip muscles if your whole body is relaxed through a calm and steady breath.
Bring your right knee towards your chest and loop the strap around the ball of your right foot. Extend your right leg towards the sky. Keep the leg bent as much as you need to but work towards spreading the toes and pressing your heel up towards the sky.
Here, you’re working on stretching the hamstring muscles on the back of the thigh. Stay for 5-10 breaths, unless you need to come out earlier.
Strap Series #2 – Inner Thigh Stretch
From here, bring the strap into your right hand and guide your leg out to the right. Keep both hips on the ground so your lumbar spine is supported. Continue breathing steadily with your ankle flexed and toes spread.
In this portion of the stretch, you’re accessing your inner thigh and groin muscles. Stay for 5-10 breaths.
As always, I encourage you to become aware of the sensations in the body. Here are some awareness cues that may help you.
- Notice what kind of sensation you’re experiencing. What does it feel like?
- Does the sensation dissipate as you focus on the breath?
- Are you tightening any other areas of the body as a result of this stretch?
Strap Series #3 – IT Band Exercise to Stretch Hips
This is the last stretch in this 3-part stretch series, the one I call “Strapasana!”
From Stretch #2, slowly guide your right leg back to center, across the body, towards the left. Keep your ankle flexed, toes spread, and actively pressing your heel upwards.
This one can be intense, so don’t forget to breathe slowly!
If you notice your right hip hiking up towards your right rib cage, try to guide the thigh away from you, helping to create space and stability for your low back.
Stay here for 5-10 breaths, bending the knee as much as you need to here to be comfortable.
Figure Four Exercise to Stretch Hips
The last exercise for tight hips of this series, but now you can put the strap down. I know, you’re probably not sad about that…
With your left leg bent and foot on the floor, bend your right knee and place the outer edge of your right foot at the top of your left thigh. Flex your right ankle and breathe.
If you’re getting a good stretch/sensation through the right hip, stay! If you’d like to add on, you can explore lifting your left leg and interlacing your hands behind your left thigh. Make sure you don’t tighten your shoulders though!
I recommend staying here for 5-10 breaths so you can really breathe into and relax the hip.
Exercises to Stretch the Hips with Ease!
Hopefully by now you’re seeing SOME results in the tight hips. Depending on what’s going on in your body though, it can definitely take some time to get results. If you’re hips are really tight, I recommend trying these exercises every day, even if it’s only 5 breaths per day.
If you’re starting to feel a benefit, great! If you have specific questions or concerns about the exercises or your particular alignment, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Perhaps I can give you a quick tip or support your further with private yoga therapy sessions.
If you’re interested in doing more exercises like this for tight hips (and more!), check out Aligned Online. Aligned Online is a monthly yoga membership program to help you reduce tightness and pain, while improving posture, strength and mobility. Aligned is all online, so you can start practicing yoga in the comfort of your own home–or office space!
Ready to learn yoga poses for back pain, heal chronic pain & feel your best?
Aligned Online is a monthly membership program for people that want to lead a pain free life and ditch chronic pain aches, & injuries by improving posture, building strength & mobility & managing stress through guided yoga therapy classes.
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About the Author
My name is Caitlin, I’m a chronic pain survivor, Certified Yoga Therapist, Registered Dental Hygienist, and founder and CEO of Caitlin Parsons Yoga Therapy, a yoga therapy and wellness company. I recently made my dreams a reality by quitting my full-time job as a dental hygienist to pursue my passion and purpose helping others get back into alignment.
Now I use my personal and professional experiences with chronic pain, stress and anxiety, and injury recovery to help women step back into their own alignment – in their bodies, minds and throughout their lives. I help empower women to create balance in their bodies and minds so they can access greater levels of freedom in their lives inside my monthly membership program (Aligned), group coaching program for hygienists (The Aligned Hygienist), a Yoga + Coaching Program for Dental Teams, and private yoga therapy coaching.
I love to share my knowledge and expertise on mindfulness and therapeutic yoga for back pain through my blog and social media platforms as well as guest appearances on other inspiring and like-minded podcasts.
Client Success Stories
“I started working with Caitlin because I had recently gotten surgery from a brain tumor. I had very little mobility in my shoulder and arm. I was concerned that the lack of mobility, discomfort and reduced strength would increase chances for more pain and injury. Working with Caitlin was amazing, I would recommend her personal approach to anyone. She is dedicated to her work, has great knowledge and communication. Caitlin does a wonderful job guiding you back to your body and yourself.” – Ania
“I started working with Caitlin because I had chronic low back pain and regular flare-ups. I was told by multiple doctors that I would always be in pain and my posture would never improve unless I had surgery. The pain got so bad that I couldn’t play volleyball anymore, which created a negative spiral in my mood, energy and throughout my life. The results I got with Caitlin was amazing. I no longer have chronic pain or chronic acid reflux which I was on medication for. I’m much healthier and happier now than I ever have been!” – Russ M.
“I started working with Caitlin because I had neck pain, shoulder pain, neck congestion and ringing in my ears. I was working a lot, taking care of my family, and I was beginning to spiral downwards in a state of stress and pain. With all of that, life became a chore. I wanted to learn how to take care of myself so I could live a happy life and take care of my responsibilities from a place of joy, not dread. I wanted to get my neck to a place where it wasn’t painful and tightening every time I was stressed.
Now I no longer have neck pain or tightness, I’m stressed and ear ringing has greatly reduced. My body feels so much better as a whole. Caitlin helped me find peace. Caitlin has an innate sense of knowing how to tailor each session to fit how I’m feeling in my body and what I need. Caitlin helped me change the way I react to stress; now I’m more mindful of my reactions and the way I take care of my body. I’m stronger in my body and mind now which has positively affected my entire life.” – Donna M.
“I started working with Caitlin because I was completely disconnected from my body because of a genetic disease, having constant, chronic pain, extreme trouble sleeping and anxiety living in my own skin. I wanted to feel better- I wanted to have less pain and have a better quality of life–building strength and reconnecting with my body were a bonus. Working with Caitlin exceeded my expectations- I sleep so much better now and my pain has improved significantly. I’m less anxious and have practices to help when my symptoms flare. I’m more grounded and embodied, I have a daily yoga practice that continues to build on the foundation Caitlin helped me create.
Caitlin is incredible, she validated me and helped me work on my whole self. She customized everything to work specifically for me. I 100% recommend working with Caitlin. She believed that healing was possible and she held that vision for me and brought it to each session, and eventually I believed and embodied it too. She helped me find the power in every single baby step towards a more whole and healthy life, and I am completely transformed by it. This work isn’t the quick fix, it’s deep, holistic, soul-led healing.” – Hayley
“Working with Caitlin was the best thing I ever did for myself. I thought that I would always have pain because I’ve done so many things to try and help but they haven’t worked, until yoga therapy with Caitlin. Now I am living with less pain, my posture has improved, I am getting stronger, and my clothes are getting looser.” – Joan
“Before I came to Caitlin, I was taking Motrin and Tylenol on a daily basis like clockwork. I would skip going to the pool or out with my family after work due to the pain in my body. I was very depressed and isolating myself from activities that I really enjoy doing with my family and friends. I had pain on a daily basis in my lower back, shoulder blades, hips and left knee. Some days I had so much pain and inflammation in my body I felt like I couldn’t make it through the day.
Since starting FTF I am slowly starting to get control of my pain and inflammation through the online program one-on-one sessions with Caitlin. Inflammation is decreasing, I’m sitting up taller and I’m more aware of my posture both at work and in my daily routines outside of work. I am no longer having to take Motrin and Tylenol on a daily basis and I am able to walk longe distances without pain in my knees. “
“I never thought I would get out of back, knee, and postural pain. I also have a curvature in my back that I have been told most of my life cannot be changed. When I came to Caitlin, I wasn’t playing my favorite sport and I was miserable at work. Even doing simple things was really painful. Caitlin completely personalizes her services based on your needs. She takes considerable time to answer all of my questions and targets my sessions for exactly what I need that day and what my goals are. Caitlin always asks me what is going on and listens really well. She is a wealth of knowledge about yoga, human anatomy, and how humans should move. No two sessions are the same. We changed the way I move while doing simple things like sitting in a car or at my desk, putting dishes away and bending over to clean dog poop so that my back is protected from re-injury. I am healing my back partly to return to playing volleyball. I now understand how to be in my volleyball stances and movements so that I can avoid injury when I get back to playing. I am already standing up much straighter and feel more confident. I never thought I would feel this good in my body and I am so wow-ed by Caitlins mastery of her craft.” – Russel
“Caitlin really knows how to curate yoga program for sustainable strengthening. My shoulders and core used to be weaknesses but after a few sessions I see my posture has improved and the range of motion in my shoulders. She’s caring, fun, and a pleasure to work with. I’d recommend her to anyone interested in trying yoga therapy.”
“Caitlin is fantastic. I’ve gone to many of her classes, specifically those with a focus on healthy backs. I’ve worked with her as a therapist on issues I have with my neck and shoulders from work. She’s patient, attentive and offers focused one-on-one sessions. The exercises I’ve done really help me combat the negative effects of sitting at a desk all day, highly recommend working with this lovely and professional woman!!”
“Caitlin has helped me grow and learn a lot about myself. She helped me realize the strong power of breath when I was over stressed and unaware of my mental needs. Caitlin helped me focus my energy, both good and bad, on my breath. With every deep inhale and cleansing exhale, I felt my stress and anxiety lessen and lessen. Eight years later, my main mantra is to ‘just breathe.’ It has literally changed my life. Along with the power of breath, Caitlin has helped me keep a constant awareness of how I physically hold myself. Not only has my posture changed, but I have also become stronger and my confidence has increased. I recently began running and was having pain in my hip and side leg. Through working with Caitlin, my pain subsided. She put together an easy to follow yoga sequence that helped my muscles and ligaments heal. I fully trust in Caitlin as a yoga professional, and recommend her gentle way of teaching to anyone.”
“This program has been so amazing for my pain. In just one class, my neck and shoulder tension released more than it has in years. This program has been so instrumental in managing and controlling my stress. It’s so easy to be “on the hamster wheel”. I look forward to my yoga time and meditation and have noticed a huge difference in my pain level. My family has even noticed my calmer demeanor. I couldn’t believe how much my pain was linked to my stress.”