Yoga Hip Openers- 6 Tips for Your Tight Hips

Svadhishthana Chakra and yoga

Yoga Hip Openers

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Hips- the key to our mobility in the world.  Yoga- the way we stay mobile and flexible.  Put them together for Yoga Hip Openers. We start to have problems for three reasons, 1) sitting in chairs, 2) participation in intense sports activity, and 3) genetics.  These three combine to make the hips one of the tightest spots of the body.  This can limit our motion and strain the lower back.

Open hips are one of the key elements to practicing safe and deep back bends, forward bends, and being able to sit on the floor with ease.  Let’s hear it for meditation, right? We can develop and maintain a healthy range of motion in the hips through balanced practice that addresses each of the associated muscles, Hip flexors, Hip extensors, Hip abductors, Hip adductors, Internal rotators, and External rotators.

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Yoga Hip Openers for Balanced Practice

Hip Flexors- When the hip flexors are tight, the pelvis is pulled into anterior rotation which limits back bends. Anjanyasana (low lunge) and Virabhadrasana A (Warrior I) will stretch these muscles.  Also try Supta Virasana for more targeted release of the hip flexors. Elevating on the bolster will help to tilt the pelvis and lengthen the hip flexors.

Yoga with a Bolster
Get the bolster pictured here!

bolster

Hip Extensors- Tight hip extensors pull the sitting bones toward the backs of the knees, potentially flattening the lower back.  Tight hip extensors, especially the hamstrings and lower gluteus maximus, limit forward bending.  You can stretch the hamstrings and glutes with forward bends. As you fold forward, balance your weight on on your toes and heels equally to engage the hamstrings.

Yoga Bandha Locks

Hip Abductors- Tight abductors are a prime cause of the front knee shifting outward in standing lunge asanasa like Virabrahdrasana B (Warrior II).  We feel the strain in poses like Gomukhasana (cow face pose) and Garudasana (Eagle Pose).  The poses that feel the most strain, also stretch the most.  This is the beauty of yoga hip openers! Try this ease into Gomukhasana.

Hip Adductors- Tight and weak adductors cause the front of the knee to splay inward in standing lunge asanas and make it more difficult to bring the legs apart in standing and seated asanas like upavista konasana.  So again, practice upavista konasana to get more flexibility in the hip adductors.

Yoga Hip Openers

Internal Rotators- Tightness in the internal rotators can cause the knees to splay toward each other when standing in Tadasana and limit being able to open in poses like Virabhadrasasna II.  Baddha Konasana can help stretch these muscles.

Alignment and Balance with Yoga

External Rotators- The glutei maximi are the most powerful muscles in the body.  When they get tight and overused, as often the case with dancers, the knees and feet tend to turn out.  This causes misalignment in standing asanas and puts pressure on the sacroiliac joint.  Supine spinal twists can help to stretch these muscles. Yoga hip openers can help to relieve so many aches!

Yoga with a Bolster

Yoga Hip Opening Sequences

What are the three biggest complaints that I have from my students?  Tight Back, Tight Hips, and Tight Hamstrings.  I call these the BIG 3!  Our back gets tight when we do not know how to strengthen our core or understand how to stretch it out.  Our hips get tight from pain in the sacrum, where the hips and back connect.  Our hamstrings get tight when hips and back are tight.  See?  The BIG 3!  We need to learn how to stretch and strengthen all three areas to ease and comfort in the body. We need yoga hip openers!

Try this sequence from the program and see how you can use yoga hip openers for your benefit!

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Published by Yoga Traveler

Yoga is my passion, teaching is my life. I started teaching yoga when my husband entered the US Air Force and now my career travels with me. Every time I move, I look for places to teach and a community of caring yogis who I grow to love and then one day, leave behind. This is a place where we can reconnect and create our yoga together. This site can travel with you. Welcome!

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