6 Yoga Poses for Improved Hip Mobility
Hip openers are important in yoga. They make it possible for you to move into other poses and improve posture and overall health.
One of the most effective ways to practice hip openers is through a sequence of poses done in a row. When you do hip-opening yoga poses, make sure not to rotate your knees. Any rotation will come from your hips, which are ball-and-socket joints and therefore have a greater range of motion than hinge joints like knees.
Yoga Poses for Improved Hip Mobility and Flexibility
Before you start practicing, take a look at these six safe and effective hip-opening yoga poses:
1) Child's Pose
Child’s pose is a great way to start any hip-opening yoga sequence.You can do this pose by opening your knees and bringing the big toes to touch. If you cannot touch your big toes due to knee problems or tight hips, you can still do the pose by bringing your heels together.
The child’s pose can be a wonderful way to increase flexibility, strength, and balance in the hips, spine, arms, back, and abdomen. Allowing gravity to pull the forehead towards the mat can help relax tension in the jaw and neck muscles.
2) Lizard Pose
The lizard pose is a hip opener that can create intense sensation; it’s also an opportunity to practice steady and full breathing and being present in the body. This pose is suitable for beginners and advanced practitioners alike. It’s often paired with the pigeon pose during a dynamic flow sequence.
To do it, step back with one leg, bending the front knee and lowering the back knee till you feel a stretch in your hip flexor. Lower your hips, and bring them towards each other by engaging your core muscles. Stretch your spine by pushing your chest up.
3) Bowing Warrior
The warrior pose is one of the more common yoga poses, as well as one of the most challenging.
To do this pose, push past your perceived physical, mental and emotional limitations. It's an opportunity to focus on determination and practice moving into a deeper expression of the asana.
To do it, begin with your feet in a wide stance, with toes pointing forward and back. Lift the arch of both feet, and squeeze them towards each other. Reach back with your tailbone, lengthening the core muscles. If you can, clasp your hands behind your back for a nice shoulder stretch.
4) Supine Figure-4 Stretch
The figure-four stretch targets muscles on the outside of the hips and butt. These muscles are part of a group called the gluteal muscles, which aid in hip movement, hip stabilization, and mobility.
To get the maximum benefit from the pose, bring the sole of one foot as close to the thigh as possible while pressing the mound of that foot forward and towards the knee.
5) Standing Figure-4 Stretch
The standing figure four pose is one where the ankles are placed across opposite thighs, with the knees opening to the side and shin coming parallel to the ground. The torso can be lowered forward so that the forearms rest on the shins, with deeper knee bends in one leg.
You can do this pose either on a yoga mat in the middle of the room or near a wall for support. Keep your feet flexed and active, and place one foot on top of the other thigh, perpendicular to the floor.
6) Wide Legged Forward Move
This pose is hugely versatile. It can be used to transition between or end other advanced poses and is a great way to get an inversion in your practice if you’re just starting out. Use blocks to make the pose easier if you want to keep it light.
Start by standing with your feet spread apart and knees bent. Squeeze your feet towards each other; lift the arch of each foot, and pull in the shins. Curve your lower back, and push the sitting bones apart to open your pelvic floor. As you lean forward, shift more of your weight onto the ball of your feet.
If you want to work on your yoga poses, remember that flexibility is crucial. That's why you do all those stretches — not only because they're relaxing and fun, and help you with mobility, but also because they make you more flexible.
If you don't have enough range of motion, it's a good idea to target the areas where problems occur by practicing yoga poses that address those regions.