10 Minute Yoga: Hip Openers

Prolonged sitting at a computer, a long commute, and stress contribute to tight hips. Even healthy habits like running or cycling can cause inflexibility in the hip area. Tight hips often lead to low back pain, sciatica or decreased mobility. Luckily tight hips can be prevented or remedied with movement and stretching.

Try incorporating these 5 yoga moves into your breaks at work or your post work out cool down to help loosen the hip muscles. Hold each pose for about 30 seconds. Then repeat on the other side for balance in the body.

Use the image gallery for visual examples or read below for descriptions of each pose.

Pose 1: Forward fold with a twist

  • Plant the fingers of your right hand on the mat below your face. Bend your left knee slightly, open your chest to the left, and extend your left arm upward. Look up at the left hand.
  • Stretches hamstrings and IT band

Pose 2: 3 legged dog

  • From downward dog, open your hips to the left and lift your left leg up high behind you, point the toes and bend the knee.
  • Releases the hip flexors

Pose 3: Lizard

  • Step your left foot to the outside of your right hand. Make sure your foot steps forward enough so the the knee is directly over the ankle. Lengthen your chest forward and sink your hips closer to the mat.
  • Hip release

Pose 3 option: Lizard with a quadriceps release

  • Bend the right knee and bring the heel toward the torso. Use the left hand to hold the foot.
  • Stretch for the quadriceps

Pose 4: Pigeon

  • Bring the left shin across the top of the mat so that the left knee is by the left hand and the left foot is by the right hand. Flex the left foot. Ease your hips toward the mat.
  • Releases the glutes

Pose 5: Spinal twist

  • From your back, bring your left knee to your chest and twist it across your body until the left knee rests on the floor. Bring your arms out to the side to make a T shape with the upper body.
  • Releases low back, glutes and IT band.