Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

Most of the people do not realize they have tight hips until they practice Pigeon or Half Pigeon Pose in the yoga class.

But for others, tight hips and muscle stiffness comes up with symptoms like low back pain, difficulty in prolonged sitting and as severe as difficulty in walking from room to the washroom.

People who sit for long time at work, their hip flexors and rotators become tight, and the gluteal muscles become weak. This affects our ability to walk, maintain proper posture, and the stability of our spine.

So, it is very important to practice Hip opening yoga poses so as to help maintain proper posture, prevent lower back pain, improve your range of motion, protect your knees and keep you agile.

It is very important to open the front, back and sides of your hips to really get a good stretch. You must warm up a little and practice the poses and hold them only till you feel comfortable.

Hip-Opening Yoga Poses & Its Benefits, Precautions

Hip-Opening Yoga Poses

  1. Anjaneyasana or Low Lunge Hip-Opening Yoga Pose

    Anjaneyasana gives a very good stretch to the hip and hip flexors. It stretches the gluteus muscles and the quadriceps thereby making them stronger. Regular practice of Anjaneyasana also cures Sciatica.

    Steps to do Anjaneyasana or Low Lunge Hip-Opening Yoga Pose

    • To practice Anjaneyasana, get into Adho Mukha Svanasana.
    • Breathe out and keep your right foot in forward direction beside your right hand.
    • Make sure that your right knee and your ankle are in parallel line.
    • Gently lower your left knee and place it on the ground, right behind the hips.
    • Breathe in, and raise your torso; after that lift your arms above your head, in a way that your arms are touching your ears, and combine your palms and make Namaskar pose.
    • Exhale deeply and let your hips relax.
    • Stretch your lower back and arms
    • Look behind as you get in to this position.
    • Remain in the pose for 15 to 30 seconds. You may also lift up your knee of the back leg off the floor to a full Crescent pose.
    • Practice the same asana with other leg.
  2. Malasana or Garland Hip-Opening Yoga Pose

    Malasana helps open the hips and increase mobility in the hips, legs and back. It is also said to improve the balance of mind, body and spirit. This yoga pose for hip stretches groin, lower back, sacrum and hips.

    Steps to do Malasana or Garland Hip-Opening Yoga Pose

    • To practice Malasana stand on a floor or on a Yoga mat.
    • Squat on the floor with legs far apart in such a way that the sole of both the feet touch the floor.
    • Make sure your feet should point out in other direction of the body.
    • While sitting in this position, bring your torso forward and bring your hands in front of the thighs. The outer side of the upper arm should touch the inner side of the thigh.
    • The elbows should touch the inner side of the knees.
    • Place the hands in Anjali Mudra.
    • Push your legs wide apart with the help of elbows, by putting pressure against the inner side of the knees.
    • Maintain your breath in this position.
    • Stay in this position for a few breaths or as long as you feel comfortable.
  3. Prasarita Padottanāsana or Wide-Legged Forward Bend Hip-Opening Yoga Pose

    Prasarita Padottanāsana lengthens the spinal column and stretches the backs of the legs and the back muscles and hip muscles.

    Steps to do Prasarita Padottanāsana or Wide-Legged Forward Bend Hip-Opening Yoga Pose

    • To do this hip opening yoga pose, stand in Tadasana on the floor or on Yoga mat.
    • While inhaling, place the hands on the hips, Open the chest and look up.
    • While Exhaling, bring your hands forward to touch the ground while moving the torso forward.
    • Fold forward so the crown of the head rests on the mat between the feet.
    • Your legs and arms then should be perpendicular to the floor and parallel to each other.
    • Stay here for 5 breaths.
    • While inhaling, come back to the original position.
  4. Eka Pada Rajakapotasana or One Legged King Pigeon Hip-Opening Yoga Pose

    Eka Pada Rajakapotasana opens up the hip joint by stretching the hip and thigh muscles altogether. It strengthens the lower part of the body and also helps in getting rid of Sciatica with regular practice.

    Steps to do Eka Pada Rajakapotasana or One Legged King Pigeon

    • To practice Ek Pada Rajakapotasana to open your hips, get into Marjariasana or Cat stretch.
    • Exhale deeply and bring your right knee forward to touch the right wrist.
    • Now bend the knee in such a way that your ankle comes near the groin region.
    • Bring the right foot towards the left hand, till the toes touch the left wrist.
    • Slide the left leg back behind the hips.
    • Ensure that the front of the foot is touching the ground and the sole of left foot is facing the sky.
    • Maintain your breath in this position.
    • Stay in this pose for a few breaths.
    • Come back to Marjariasana and relax in Shavasana.
  5. Baddha Konasana Or Butterfly Hip-Opening Yoga Pose

    As the feet get closer to the groin region while the thighs are stretched on either side of the body, Baddha Konasana is a very beneficial pose for Hip-Opening. It Stretches groin, lower back, sacrum and hips.

    Steps to do Baddha Konasana Or Butterfly Hip-Opening Yoga Pose

    • To practice Baddha Konasana, sit with your legs straight and outstretched on the floor or on the Yoga Mat.
    • While exhaling, fold your knees in such a way that your heels come near the pelvic area.
    • Join both the heels together and bring them as close to the pelvis as possible.
    • Hold your toes with both the hands or clasp both the hands to the respective ankle if your unable to hold your toes while practicing Baddha Konasana
    • Drop your knees towards the floor and push both your feet together.
    • Lengthen your spine from the front of the torso to the sternum in such a way that you are pulling your body down towards the floor.
    • The aim of this asana is to touch the knees to the floor or the yoga mat and to bring the head in front of your feet while having your torso flat over the legs.
    • Do not force your knees to touch the floor or your head to bend forward completely on the ground. Release the thighbones towards the floor. When you do this the knees will follow.
    • Gaze at a point forward or on your nose.
    • Stay for 1 to 5 minutes or 15-20 breaths in Baddha Konasana.
    • Maintain a constant breath while practicing Baddha Konasana.
    • To release Butterfly pose, first unclasp the hands from the toes and then lift your knees and extend your legs on the floor in Dandasana.
  6. Bheekasana or the Frog Hip-Opening Yoga Pose

    Bheekasana or The Frog Pose Opens up the Hip Joint. It Stretches and strengthens the lower back muscles and improves the posture.

    Steps to do Bheekasana or the Frog Hip-Opening Yoga Pose

    • Start by lying down on your stomach on the floor or on the yoga mat.
    • While inhaling, come on your forearms so that you can lift your head and upper torso.
    • While exhaling, bend your right knee and bring the heel to touch the right hip.
    • You can use the left forearm to clasp the inside of your foot with the right hand.
    • While inhaling, rotate your elbows toward the ceiling in such a way that your palms are over the top of the feet.
    • Use your hands to press your heels down towards the floor.
    • Square your shoulders in such a way that they are down and away from the ears.
    • Make sure that your chest is raised in this position.
    • Maintain your breathing while being in this pose.
    • Relax to lie on your stomach again while exhaling deeply.
  7. Ustrasana Or Camel Hip-Opening Yoga Pose

    Ustrasana tones the digestive organs and helps in getting the waste out of the body and thus helps in getting rid of Acid Reflux.

    Steps to do Ustrasana Or Camel Hip-Opening Yoga Pose

    • Kneel on your mat or on the floor and place your hands on your hips.
    • Ensure that your knees and shoulders are in the same line, and the soles of your feet are facing the ceiling.
    • While Inhaling draw your tailbone in towards your pubis. While ding this you will feel pull at the navel.
    • At the same time, arch your back. Gently slide your palms over your feet and straighten your arms.
    • Keep your neck in a neutral position. It should not be strained.
    • Hold the position for about 30 to 60 seconds before releasing the pose.
  8. Padmasana Or Lotus Hip-Opening Yoga Pose

    Padmasana opens up the hips, making them more flexible. This hip opening yoga pose activates the spine, the pelvis, the abdomen, and the bladder. Since it is one of the meditative Yogasanas, the energy of the body is also restored while practicing Padmasana.

    Steps to do Padmasana Or Lotus Hip-Opening Yoga Pose

    • To practice padmasana, sit on a flat surface on the ground or on the yoga mat with your spine erect and your legs stretched out.
    • Gently bend the right knee, and use your hands to place it on your left thigh.
    • Make sure that the sole of your foot must point upward, and heel must be close to your abdomen.
    • Gently bend the left knee, and use your hands to place it on your right thigh. Make sure that the sole of your foot must point upward, and heel must be close to your abdomen.
    • Bring your hands to rest on your knees.
    • Make sure your head is straight and the spine erect at all the time while practicing Padmasana.
    • Maintain your breath. Take long and deep breaths while practicing Padmasana and focus on the eye center while closing the eyes and become aware of all the body parts.
    • Sit in Padmasana for as long as you can.
    • Repeat the same pose with the other leg on top.
  9. Gomukhasana or Cow Faced Hip-Opening Yoga Pose

    Gomukhasana helps in flexing and strengthening of the hips. Regular practice of Gomukhasana is also beneficial in getting rid of pain in the hips region as well as lower body.

    Steps to do Gomukhasana or Cow Faced Hip-Opening Yoga Pose

    • To practice Gomukhasana, sit in Dhyan Veerasana so that the right knee comes directly over your left knee
    • Place the left arm behind the back in such a way that the back of hand rests on the spine.
    • Bring your right arm above the right shoulder
    • Clasp the fingers of both hands with each other.
    • Bring the folded hands together behind the head in such a way that the back of the head presses against the inside of right arm.
    • Close your eyes and breathe deeply.
    • Keep the head and spine straight.
    • Stay in this position for 2-3 minutes.
    • Unclasp the hands.
    • Practice the same asana with the left leg over the right leg and left arm over left shoulder.
  10. Hanumanasana or The Monkey Hip-Opening Yoga Pose

    Hanumanasana is also referred as Split by gymnastics and yoga practitioners. Regular practice of Hanumanasana opens up the hips and the groin region, increasing your overall flexibility, balance and alignment.

    Steps to do Hanumanasana or The Monkey Hip-Opening Yoga Pose

    • To practice Hanumanasana, sit in a kneeling position on the floor or on the yoga mat.
    • While inhaling, bring you right foot forward in such a way that only the lower and outer part of the heel is touching the floor.
    • While exhaling, bring your torso a little forward and bring the fingertips of your hands to touch the floor.
    • Gently and slowly, move your left knee backwards behind the hips in such a way that the leg lies straight behind the body and the front of your left foot is touching the ground.
    • Similarly, bring your right leg forward in such a way that the front of your right foot is facing the sky.
    • Maintain your breath while being in this position.
    • Stay in this position for a few breaths or for as long as you can.

Benefits of Practicing Hip-Opening Yoga Poses

  • Yoga helps in increasing your hip flexibility, which will create a greater range of motion in all movements and activities.
  • Regular practice of Hip opening Yoga poses improves lower back pain.
  • Hip opening yoga poses improve the stability of the body and they also improve your posture.
  • Hip opening yoga poses work on increasing the strength and flexibility of the hips which can help prevent injuries in later part of life.
  • Practicing hip opening poses can improve strength and power in your daily work outs.
  • These Asanas improve the blood circulation thereby improving movement and ultimately releasing toxins out of the body.

Precautions to Be Taken While Practicing Hip-Opening Yoga Poses

  • Do not practice Hip-opening Yoga poses if you suffering from any injury in hamstrings or in the groin area.
  • Do not practice the hip opening yoga poses if you have had any hip surgeries
  • People who have any ankle or knee injuries should practice hip opening yoga poses under supervision.
  • The yoga exercises should be practiced slowly and with awareness of the all the body parts moving and which muscles are stretching.
  • The bodily movements should be very gentle and synchronized with the breathing.
  • The Yogasanas should be practiced a couple of times in a day to get relief from the pain.
  • The Yogasanas should be practiced even after the pain goes to get a permanent relief.
  • People with severe back injuries should practice Yogasanas carefully.
  • People who have undergone any surgeries recently should practice Yogasanas under the guidance of trained yoga experts and after proper consultation from a physician.
  • Do not over stretch your body while doing Asanas. Only go as far as your body allows.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: July 10, 2017

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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