10 BEGINNER YOGA POSES FOR TIGHT HIPS
1. Modified Fire Log/Double Pigeon Pose
This is a nice modified version of the Double Pigeon or Fire Log Pose for people with tight hips.
Begin by sitting on the floor with legs extended in front of you. Flex your feet, bend one leg and place the ankle under the opposite knee. Bend another leg and place the ankle under another knee, so that your chins are almost parallel and when you look down, your legs are creating a triangle shape. Inhale to lengthen the spine and with exhale bend forward until you feel the stretch in the outer hips. Hold for a minute or more, then repeat on the other side. You might feel a different stretch when you change legs if one side is more tight/flexible.
2. Low Lunge/Crescent Lunge/ Other Lunge Pose Variations
Different Lunge Pose variations are some of the best yoga poses for tight hips, especially hip flexors and quadriceps.
In Low Lunge, the back knee stays on the floor which makes this pose easier for beginners. From downward-facing dog, step one foot forward between your hands and lower the back knee to the ground. Use a folded blanket or towel under your back knee if you need extra padding. Stay here and keep reaching your chest forward to deepen the stretch in the hips. Or lift your torso up and raise arms overhead. To come out of the pose, tuck your back toes under, place your hands down and step back into a downward-facing dog. Repeat on the other side.
You can also keep your hands on the yoga blocks for support in Low Lunge. For a deeper quad stretch, try bending the back leg and pressing the heel closer to the hips with the opposite hand.
3. Lizard Pose
Lizard Pose is a bit similar to Low Lunge, but the front foot is on the outside of the hands. To get into the pose, from the downward-facing dog, step your foot forward and then walk it to the side of the yoga mat so that you can place your palms on the inside of the foot. Back knee can be up or down on the floor. If you feel enough stretch in this position, just stay here. To deepen the stretch you can place your forearms on the blocks or on the floor.
Another option in Lizard Pose is to roll to the outer edge of the front foot so that the knee opens to the side. You might feel a slightly different stretch in this variation. Keep one hand on the ground and try to open the knee more with another hand or keep both hands/forearms on the floor.
4.Garland Pose/ Yoga squat
Garland Pose or Yoga Squat is a great yoga pose for tight hips plus it stretches the lower back and ankles.
Begin standing with your feet apart, slightly wider than the hips, and toes turned out. Bend your knees and sit down into the squat. Bring the palms together in front of your chest and try to open your knees wider with the elbows. Keep lifting your chest and lengthening the spine, trying to bring the thumbs closer to your chest.
You can sit on the yoga block(s) if you need help with balance in this pose. Placing the heels on the rolled blanket also helps to relax the hips more if it’s difficult to place the heels down on the floor.
For Bound Angle Pose, bring the soles of your feet together and place your feet closer to your groin. Sit up straight and try to relax the legs so that knees fall down to the floor. You can try this pose next to the wall, then you don’t need to worry about keeping your spine straight. Gently press the knees down with your hands.
If you find it hard to sit with neutral spine, try sitting on a blanket. Elevating your hips can help to make this pose easier. To deepen the stretch in the groin, you can bend forward, but try to keep your spine long.
6. Reclined Bound Angle Pose
Reclined Bound Angle is one of my favourite beginner yoga poses for tight hips. It’s a nice relaxing passive stretch. Lay down on your back with bent knees, bring the soles of your feet together and let the knees fall to the sides. Place your hands on your belly or on the mat next to your torso – wherever it feels comfortable. If you have yoga blocks, place them under your legs for support, to allow your inner thighs to relax even more.
Stay in this pose for a couple of minutes and just allow your hip muscles to relax. You can use this pose instead of Savasana as the final relaxation pose at the end of your yoga practice.
7. Happy Baby /Half Happy Baby
For Happy Baby Pose, lay down on your back and bring your knees close to your chest. Try to take a hold of your shins, ankles or the outsides of your feet. Then press your feet down, trying to bring knees closer to the floor. Make sure the lower back stays on the floor.
For Half Happy Baby variation bring one knee closer to the chest while the opposite leg is relaxed on the floor. If you feel too much stretch on the straight leg, you can bend it. Use a yoga strap if it’s hard to grab the foot and pull the foot down, bringing the knee closer to the armpit.
8. Reclined Pigeon/Figure Four Stretch
Pigeon Pose is one of the best yoga poses for tight hips, but a traditional variation of this pose can put too much pressure on the knee. Reclined Pigeon Pose is a nice variation of traditional Pigeon Pose especially for beginners and people with knee problems. Begin laying down on your back with bent knees, feet hip-distance apart. Bend one leg, flex the foot, and place the ankle over the opposite knee. Grab the back of the thigh, shin, or use a yoga strap to bring the knee closer to your chest until you feel the stretch in the hip.
Another option id to place a yoga strap around the foot and straighten the leg. Pull onto the strap to bring the leg closer.
9. Seated Figure Four Stretch
Start in a seated position with bent knees, feet parallel and a bit further away from the sit bones. You can do this pose next to the wall or use hands for support to keep your spine upright. Bend one leg, flex the foot, and place the ankle over the opposite knee. Now bring the foot that is on the floor closer to your sit bones, until you feel the stretch in the hip. The closer the distance between the torso and the leg – the deeper the stretch.
10. Seated Spinal Twist/Half Lord Of The Fishes
Start seated on the mat with legs extended in front of you. Bend one leg and place the foot flat on the floor outside of the opposite leg. One hand is behind, helping you to keep the spine straight. With the arm opposite to the bent leg, hug the thigh or hook your elbow to the knee. Lengthen the spine on inhale, and with exhale twist from the upper back. With the elbow keep pressing the knee to the opposite side so that you feel the stretch in the hip.
For Half Lord Of The Fishes, just bend the straight leg and place the foot close to the sit bones.
I hope this was helpful and you can find some hip-opening yoga poses that work best for your body. Let me know in the comments, what is your favourite yoga pose for stretching the hips?