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If you have tight hips, this yoga sequence will help open them and give your lower back a good stretch. Dallas-based yogi Nicole Payseur will guide you through this short sequence that will offer relief and stretch you out. Because this sequence is just a few minutes long it is great for people who are seeking relief but don’t have a lot of time.
This sequence starts in a seated position and happens entirely on the floor. You may need a blanket to provide some extra support in the seated positions. When your hips are higher than the floor it gives the hips and groin a chance to relax.
Yoga for Open Hips
- Turn sideways onto your left hip. Hold your right knee, and swing your torso so that the right knee is all the way forward.
- Lift your right leg and, if you can, stack the right leg over the left. Ease sideways, place your right elbow over your right knee, and twist.
- Inhale, launch up, and raise your hands toward the ceiling. Get tall!
- Exhale; your left hand goes to the outer right knee. Turn your left ribs forward and around. Place your left elbow across the right knee, twisting. Wind out.
- Inching your right foot sideways, cross your legs so that the ankles are wide apart, with the soles of your feet toward the ceiling. Reach your arms up, and walk your hands forward on the exhale. If this is too much use your blanket, or sit cross-legged and lean forward.
- Release after several counts, and drill your knuckles into the arches of your feet. Massage the arches of your feet and the pressure points there.
- Swing your legs out, and while still bent, swing them from left to right.
- If using a blanket, remove it now. Swing to the left hip, legs stacked and left leg on the floor, with your knees bent. Grab your ankle and swing the top leg forward several times.
- Place your legs so they’re stacked again and hang out in this position, swinging the neck, to open up the neck and ribs.
- Move onto the right hip and repeat steps 1-9 for the opposite side.
- Move onto your back with your knees still bent, and then windshield wiper your knees from right to left.
- Let your knees fall to one side then pick up your ankle and place it on the opposite knee. Stretch your arm (on the same side of the body as the leg that is resting on top) above the head. Use the other hand to help stretch the arm.
- Release your arm, and while keeping your ankle to knee, bring both toward you, grabbing your foot to pull it in closer. Take your hand and press the bent knee away from you. If you’re able, stretch your leg until your ankle is pointing toward the ceiling – grabbing your toes and pulling them toward you.
- Release, and go into the happy baby pose. Let your legs go to the side, knees toward you, grabbing a foot in each hand.
- Release, and then repeat steps 11-14 for the opposite side.
- Ease out, and bring your knees together with your hands on your knees. Swing your knees in a circular motion, reversing after a few cycles.
- Fold your knees to one side, then outreach your arm and look to the opposite side. Repeat on the other side.
- Place the soles of your feet together, knees wide apart, arms outstretched. Stay here for ten deep breaths through the nose (or longer if you’d like). Close your eyes and relax your face, eyes, and the space between your eyebrows.
- Ease your legs straight, then let your toes turn out at an angle. Windshield wiper your feet.
- Move your feet onto the floor and grab the back of the knees. Using your core, slowly roll up and come back to sit.
What Causes Tight Hips?
Some of the causes of hip tightness include sitting for several hours a day, stress from regular physical activity, or sleeping on the side of the body all night long. It can also be caused by natural things, like if one leg is longer than the other or just how you stand! If you tend to lean into one hip it could cause hip tightness.
How Do I Know If My Hips Are Tight?
You may feel tightness in your hips for many reasons. The tightness comes from the tension across your hip flexors (the muscles that connect your upper leg to the hip). You will often feel this tightness in the lower groin area or might have lower back pain. Sometimes you may even experience hamstring strains associated with hip tightness, which can occasionally lead to issues in the lower back or knees. One way to determine if your hips are tight is through the Thomas Test.
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