Our hips can become tight for all kinds of reasons and, if you’ve been there, you’ll know that it can be quite painful!
The good news is that you don’t need to live with it. In fact, it can be really quick and easy to release tight hips by practicing yoga regularly.
So, let’s talk about what causes tight hips, why yoga is good for stretching the hips, and what the best style of yoga is to relieve tension in this area.
We’ll also cover the best yoga poses for tight hips and guide you through a simple routine that you can practice from home!
What Causes Tight Hips?
Tight hips can happen for several reasons. Mostly, tight hips are caused when our lifestyle becomes too sedentary – something that many of us experience due to having jobs that require us to spend a lot of time sitting.
When we don’t move our bodies enough, the muscles around our hips become shorter and weaker, causing us to feel tight and uncomfortable.
You may also be struggling with tight hips due to exercise such as running, CrossFit, or weight training. If so, yoga poses for tight hips are a great way to recover.
Is Yoga Good for Stretching Hips?
Yoga is a wonderful way to stretch your tight hips. When we practice yoga we mobilize the muscles around the hips – which leads to less pain in the hips, glutes, psoas muscle, hamstrings, back, and shoulders!
What’s the Best Style of Yoga for Tight Hips?
All styles of yoga are great for tight hips because, whether you want to or not, you will spend time stretching your hips in every yoga class – even if you don’t feel like you are.
Moving through basic postures such as forward fold and low lunge are low-intensity stretches for the hips and a great place to start.
However, in this post, we’re going to guide you through a short yin yoga sequence where you’ll hold poses for a longer amount of time. This will help you to stretch the muscles and deep tissue (fascia) around the hips for a deeper hip-opening experience.
Yoga Poses for Tight Hips
Here’s a short sequence to help you begin to stretch the hips and release discomfort in the lower body.
Depending on how much time you have, we recommend holding these poses for between 30 seconds to 3 minutes each.
As you move into each pose, try to find a place where you feel a stretch but no pain. Although it may feel a little uncomfortable, the pose shouldn’t hurt. If it does, move out of the pose slightly or use a block or cushion for greater comfort.
Related: Best Yoga Poses for Hip Flexors
Yoga Poses for Tight Hips 5-Minute Sequence Video
Related: Best Yoga Poses for the Hips
Now, let’s break down each pose step-by-step.
Start in a seated position on your mat with a folded blanket or cushion beneath your sit bones.
From here, bring the soles of your feet together and let your knees fall out to either side. If this feels too intense, place a block under each knee to reduce the stretch – you can always remove or lower the block as your hips start to open.
Bring your hands to cup your feet and grow tall from the base of your spine through the crown of your head.
To add a gentle stretch in the lower back, bring your tummy and chest towards your feet – focusing on keeping a straight spine. If you have no pain in the lower back, you can round your shoulders and bring your head to rest on a block placed in front of your feet.
Come to all fours on your mat with your wrists beneath your shoulders and your knees beneath your hips.
Step your right foot to the outside of your right hand and slide your left knee back until you feel a deep (but not painful) stretch. Push into your hands and keep your shoulders away from your ears.
To reduce the stretch, place your hands on blocks.
To increase the stretch, come down onto your forearms.
As you spend more time in the pose, you may find that you can increase the stretch comfortably – but don’t push to achieve a deeper stretch before your body is ready.
Move onto pigeon pose.
From lizard pose, bring your right lower leg to rest on the ground so that your knee is close to your wrist and your heel is slightly in towards your body.
Lay your back leg flat on the ground and point your toes away from you. Push into your hands to keep your chest open.
Slowly walk your hands in front of you as you bring your chest down towards the ground. To make the pose more accessible, you might like to place a bolster cushion below the upper body.
Allow your head to rest on the ground, a block, or a cushion.
Slowly come back onto all fours and repeat lizard pose and pigeon pose on the other side.
Find all fours with your wrists beneath your shoulder and your knees beneath your hips.
Then sit back on your heels (to increase the stretch, walk your knees and feet apart until they’re wider than your hips and sit between your heels).
Bring your hands to your knees and breathe here.
Cow face pose
Sit on your mat with your legs straight out in front of you.
From here bend your right knee and bring your right heel underneath your left thigh. Bend your left leg and stack your left knee on top of your right knee, placing your heel close to your right hip.
Bring your attention to staying tall through the spine. If it’s difficult to sit up straight, try bringing a cushion or folded blanket beneath your sit bones.
Optionally, connect your hands behind your back as shown in the picture above, or if your hips are your only focus, simply rest your hands on the sides of your body.
To make this pose less intense, practice by bending one leg at a time.
Repeat on the other side.
Come into a standing position and place your feet a little wider than hip-distance apart with your toes turned slightly outwards.
Place your hands in a prayer position at your heart center and bend your knees as you bring your sit bones towards the ground to come into a low squat position.
Allow your elbows to rest on your knees, but try to push your knees away using your hips as opposed to physically pushing them away from each other with the force of your elbows.
To make this pose more accessible, place a block beneath your sit bones.
Happy baby pose
Lay on your back with your knees bent and the soles of your feet on the floor.
From here, draw your knees towards your armpits. Bring your arms to the inside of your legs and hold onto your outer feet. Lift your feet towards the sky while pulling them down towards your chest.
Your shoulders and lower back should maintain contact with the ground beneath you – bring your heels closer to the floor to allow for this.
For an added back massage, rock slowly from side to side.
Want more? Check out the best yoga poses for tight hips and hamstrings complete with a full 15-minute sequence.