Exercises to Stretch Hips

Caitlin ParsonsFounder of The Aligned Hygienst

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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