After a long day sitting at the desk, there’s nothing better than a gentle hip opening yoga sequence.
Taking care of your hips is more important than you might think.
After all, they connect your torso to your lower body.
They’re also responsible for stabilizing and supporting the weight of your body during static (standing) and dynamic (walking) postures and allow you to bend at the waist and lift your knees.
Simply put: without hips, you wouldn’t be able to move around with ease.
So it’s crucial you give them the care they need.
Otherwise, you’ll be left with tight hips, lower back pain, and a lack of flexibility in your lower body.
Now the first step to fixing a problem is understanding the root cause.
In this case, it’s sitting.
And more sitting.
Related: Yoga for Sitting All Day: 12 Yoga Poses to Undo the Damage From Your Desk Job
Sitting for extended periods of time causes the hip flexors, the muscles that connect your hips and legs together, to weaken since they’re so often contracted.
As a result, the muscles get smaller and therefore feel tight.
The best way to correct this problem is through stretching, which is where this hip-opening yoga flow comes in.
The Best Hip-Opening Yoga Poses
Yoga is a great tool for stretching and releasing tight muscles.
There are numerous yoga poses that specifically focus on increasing flexibility and mobility in the hips.
So if you suffer from tight hips, this sequence is just what you need.
But remember: the key to lasting change is incorporating these hip opening yoga poses into your routine.
Whether it’s a few times a week or every day, practicing these yoga hip openers consistently will increase your flexibility and relieve any tightness you may have.
1. Fire Log Pose (Agnistambhasana)
Begin seated with your legs extended in front of you.
Slide your right shin towards you so it’s parallel with the mat. Your right foot should be on it’s side with the sole perpendicular to the floor.
Now bend your left leg so it’s parallel with the mat and stack your left shin over your right.
Your left ankle should be on top of your right knee, with the sole of your foot perpendicular to the floor.
With an elongated spine, either sit up straight or slowly hinge at the hips to fold forward over your legs.
Taking deep breaths, hold for 1 minute and repeat on the other side.
2. Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana)
Sit up straight with your legs extended straight out in front of you.
Exhaling, bend your knees and draw your heels toward your pelvis. Gently drop your knees out to the sides and press the soles of your feet together.
With your hands on your feet, slide your feet as close to your pelvis as you comfortably can, keeping the outer edges of your feet on the floor.
Bring awareness to your posture, making sure to keep your spine elongated.
For a deeper stretch, you can gently push down on your thighs (not knees).
Stay in Bound Angle Pose anywhere from 1 to 5 minutes.
3. Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)
Bring yourself onto your hands and knees, with your hands positioned directly below your shoulders and your knees below your hips.
Carefully bring your right knee forward so it’s just behind your right hand. Move your right ankle over so it’s between your left hip and hand.
If possible, position your right leg so it’s parallel with the front of your mat. This will provide a deeper stretch.
Now slide your left leg back, straighten your knee, and place the top of your foot on your mat.
Your back leg should be straight behind you, parallel to the mat, with your quadriceps squarely facing the floor.
Your hips should be parallel to prevent any strain on your lower back. If needed, you can place a blanket under your right hip to keep everything in alignment.
On an inhale, come onto the tips of your fingers, lift your upper body, draw your navel in, rotate your tailbone down, and open your chest.
Exhaling, walk your fingertips forward and lower your upper body to the floor, resting your forearms and forehead on the mat. If you need more support, you can place your hands or head onto a block.
Stay in Pigeon Pose for 1 minute then repeat on the other side.
4. Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana)
From tabletop position, send your hips back into Downward Dog and then swing your right leg forward into a low lunge.
Your right thigh should be parallel to the ground with your knee directly above your ankle.
You can either curl your back toes under or rest the top of your foot on the mat.
On an inhale, tuck your tailbone and raise your arms up above, opening up through the chest.
Hold Low Lunge for 30 seconds to 1 minute and repeat on the other side.
5. Lizard Pose (Utthan Pristhasana)
Begin in Downward Dog and step your right foot forward to the outside of your right hand.
Straighten your back leg and curl your toes under, or gently rest your back knee and top of your foot on the floor.
With your core engaged, find length in your spine.
Bring both of your hands to the inside of your right foot and place your forearms parallel to one another on the ground.
Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then repeat on the other side.
6. Wide-Legged Forward Fold (Prasarita Padottanasana)
Bring yourself to Tadasana.
Step your feet wide and send your fingertips out at your sides so your ankles are directly below your wrists.
Bring your hands to your hips as you firmly press down through your feet.
Drawing your shoulder blades together, engage your core and slowly lean your torso forward while maintaining a straight back.
Continue bending forward until you can comfortably place your palms on the floor directly under your shoulders.
Soften your knees and keep awareness in your neck and spine.
Stay in your Forward Fold for 1 minute.
7. Side Lunge (Skandasana)
From Wide-Legged Forward Fold, come up to a Halfway Lift with your fingertips resting on the floor.
On an exhale, Low Side Lunge to the right, extending the opposite leg out to your left. Rest your left heel on the ground while flexing your toes up to the sky.
Either place your right foot flat on the ground or come up onto the ball of your foot, depending on what feels most comfortable.
Engage your core and lengthen your spine.
With your fingertips still touching the mat, inhale and reach your left hand up to the sky for a deep side body stretch.
Exhaling, bring your fingertips back down to the mat and inhaling once again, lengthen your spine.
On an exhale, Low Side Lunge to the left.
Repeat this sequence for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
8. Garland Pose (Malasana)
From Low Side Lunge, center yourself in a deep squat with your thighs slightly wider than your torso.
Bring awareness to the spine, maintaining a straight back.
If your feet aren’t flat on the ground, place a folded blanket under your heels for support.
Now drop your torso forward slightly and move your upper arms to the inside of your knees.
Bring your hands together in prayer position while pressing your elbows into your knees, aiming at bringing your hands to the center of your chest and your forearms parallel to the floor.
Exhaling, lift and lengthen your torso, relaxing your shoulders and keeping your spine straight. Shift some of your weight to your heels.
Hold this Yogi Squat for 30 seconds to 1 minute then slowly lay back into Savasana to recharge.
Move It or Lose It
Sitting is inevitable, but it’s important you limit how often and how long you sit. Otherwise, you’re compromising your health in a serious way.
Consistently practicing these hip-opening yoga poses will allow your hip flexors to strengthen and grow, giving you the relief – and flexibility – you need.