Hips-softening Yoga Postures

 Sporty or sedentary, the hips are a part of the body that can be quite stiff, painful and lack flexibility. Sports such as running or cycling can stiffen this part, as the muscles that promote mobility in the hips are very stressed and can stiffen if no stretching is practised. In the same way, the seated position also promotes tension in this area.


The main function of the hips is to connect the lower and upper body with a lot of muscles to allow the mobility of the legs independently of the trunk, so it is a strategic point. If your hip joints are not very flexible, you may experience pain in your back, legs or knees.


As soon as you work on the hip joint, 2 major families of pain can arise:


  • The knees:  If you force too much and the muscles do not relax, then the tendons/ligaments of the knee can pull. It is then necessary to leave the posture and redo it more gently.
  • Lower back:  Since the psoas muscle is attached to the lower back, if it is too tight, you may feel pain in your lower back.

It is extremely important to find the right balance between the effort to be provided and attentive listening to your body when you are going to perform the exercises suggested.


The following 5 postures to make the hips more flexible are easy to do, do not require any particular warm-up and will allow you to become more flexible, relax this area and allow you to regain good mobility.



1. The Pigeon Pose


From the downward-facing dog position, bring your left shin to the floor.


Keep your left knee behind your left wrist, the angle of your thigh and shin should be adjusted according to your flexibility.

The Pigeon Pose


You can bring your left foot closer to your right buttock if you are less flexible, or keep a 90° angle if you are very flexible. Next, try lying down with your hands gently forward and lower your elbows to rest your forearms on the mat or on blocks. You can place a blanket or block under your front hip for extra support and to help your hips drop toward the floor.


Hold the position for 5 to 10 breaths. Repeat on the other side.


2. Cow head pose


Sit on the floor, if you are too uncomfortable, put yourself on a mat, legs in front of you.


Bring your left foot over your right leg as high as you can so your left foot is closer to your right buttock.

cow head pose


Then slide your right foot under your left leg to the outside of your left hip, you are in a cross-legged position, with your feet closest to your buttocks.


Tilt your chest slightly forward and rest your hands on the ground in front or on your ankles. Depending on your flexibility, you can lean forward more or less low. You may be able to rest your torso easily on the inside of your legs, or you may find that a slight forward motion is enough to stretch your hips. In any case, keep your buttocks on the ground, don't take them off.


Hold the position for 5 to 10 breaths. Repeat on the other side.


3. The Diamond Pose 

If you're pressed for time and need a single stretch to target multiple joints and muscle groups, this is the Diamond Pose for you. In a seated position, bring the soles of your feet together, with your feet away from your chest to form a diamond or rhombus shape (unlike the butterfly pose where your feet are close to your chest).


Exhale, lean forward and let your chest move forward. Be careful not to force too much, at the slightest pain in the knees, and raise your bust.

The Diamond Pose


Stay in the position for at least 30 seconds. If you want to stay longer, you can place a cushion and relax in this posture for a long time.


4. The half-monkey pose

This position is ideal for runners or cyclists. The stretch in front of the thigh is very intense, so pay attention to how it feels.


From a standing position, take a big step forward with your right leg in a lunge, then lower your left knee to the floor. Be careful not to be on the patella, but on the part above the knee. If it's uncomfortable, place a blanket under your left knee or fold your yoga mat into 3 layers.

The half-monkey pose


Keep the right knee above the right ankle and straighten the bust as much as possible. You should feel an intense stretch in the front of your left thigh. If you want to go a little further in the pose, raise your hands above your head, arms outstretched and look at the thumbs.


Stay in this position for  5 breaths, then switch legs.


5. The butterfly posture

From a seated position, bend your legs so that your soles touch each other. Bring them closer to your bust.


If you feel no pain in your knees, you can press your heels together a little harder and open your feet like a book. This will loosen up the hip joint by engaging the adductors. You can do this  5 times, squeeze your heels, then release.

The butterfly posture


If you want to go even further, assuming you're comfortable, you can try lowering your torso to the floor with your back flat, guiding your chin forward, without putting tension on your shoulders.


Stay in this position for  5 breaths.


 


All of these exercises can be done at any time of the day. You can also perform them at night, in front of a TV show, in the butterfly position, and you will quickly see results. Practice regularly, at least 3 times a week, and in 3 weeks you will feel more flexible.