10 Gentle Yoga Poses to Release Tight Hips

Many people experience tight hips due to either too much sitting or an unbalanced exercise program. These 10 yoga poses can help balance things back out.
The term “tight hips” can be misleading, since this feeling stems from much more than the actual hip joint. It’s likely that you’re experiencing tightness in the muscles surrounding the hip girdle, including your hamstrings, glutes, tensor fascia latae (TFL), and quadriceps. So, in order to loosen up the hips, it is also important to pinpoint which surrounding muscles have been acting up.

Practicing yoga postures can be a great way to increase flexibility. (1) Focusing on specific postures that loosen up the muscles around the hips can help you find gentle relief.

Loosen up tight hips with these 10 yoga poses. This routine can be done three times per week and can be done anywhere – all you need is a yoga mat.

10 Yoga Poses for Tight Hips

Around The World | 8 breaths per side

This pose gently relieves tension in the outer hips, quadriceps, and lower back.

  1. Begin seated. Bring the soles of your feet to touch and allow your knees to butterfly out.
  2. Keep your right leg where it is, and then take your left leg back behind you, so that the thigh is parallel to the top of the mat. Both knees should be bent at 45 degrees.
  3. Square your shoulders towards the top of your mat and slowly fold over your right shin. Keep your right forearm on the ground and straighten your left arm all the way out in front of you. Rest your forehead on your right forearm to allow your neck to relax.
  4. Hold for eight breaths, then switch sides.

Butterfly | 8 breaths

This pose relieves tension in the inner thighs, groin, glutes, outer hips, and lower back.

  1. Bring your legs back into a butterfly position and sit up straight.
  2. Interlace your hands underneath your feet and slowly fold forward. Use your elbows to gently press your knees towards the ground.
  3. Hold for eight slow breaths.

Windshield Wiper | 8 breaths per side

This exercise helps to create fluidity in the hips by opening up the inner thighs, outer hips, lower back, and hip flexors.

  1. Begin seated with your knees bent and your feet on the ground. Place your hands on the mat behind your hips with your fingers pointing forward. Relax your shoulders and keep a small bend at your elbows.
  2. Next, separate your feet out wide to the edges of your yoga mat.
  3. Take an inhale, then exhale to slowly lower your knees to the right.
  4. Inhale back to center and exhale to slowly lower your knees to the left.
  5. Continue lowering your knees side-to-side for eight repetitions per side.

Modified Runner’s Lunge | 8 breaths per side

This yoga pose relieves tight hip flexors, reversing the effects from a long day of sitting.

  1. Begin in a high plank position.
  2. Step your right foot outside of your right hand and lower your back knee to the ground.
  3. Heel-toe your right foot forward so that the right ankle is slightly in front of your right knee. Turn your toes out to a 45-degree angle.
  4. Engage your lower abs and gently press your hips forward to feel a stretch through the hips.
  5. Hold for eight breaths, then switch sides.

Single Leg Seated Forward Fold | 8 breaths per side

This relaxing pose helps to open the hamstrings, calves, outer hips, and lower back.

  1. Begin seated. Straighten your right leg towards the top right corner of your mat. Then, bend your left knee and bring your left foot to your inner right thigh, allowing the left knee to open out into a half butterfly position.
  2. Inhale to reach your arms up over your head, lengthening your spine. Rotate your shoulders towards your right leg.
  3. Exhale to fold forward while keeping a long spine. Reach and place both hands around your right foot. If they don’t reach, bend your right knee until they do. Your belly should touch your thigh.
  4. Hold for eight slow breaths. Switch sides.

Wide-Legged Forward Bend | 8 breaths

This pose uses gravity to release tension in the hips, back, hamstrings, and calves.

  1. Stand facing the long side of your mat with your feet out wide. Keep your toes pointed forward and a small bend in your knees.
  2. On an exhale, hinge forward at your hips and place your hands on the mat or a block.
  3. Let your head hang heavy and feel the spine release. Keep a bend in the knees so that your lower back isn’t rounding. Shift the weight slightly toward the balls of your feet.
  4. Hold for eight breaths, then slowly roll up to stand on an inhale.

Crossed Ankle Forward Fold | 8 breaths per side

This stretch helps to release tension in the TFL and the glutes.

  1. Start standing up and cross your right ankle in front of your left. Bring your pinky toes as close together as they will comfortably come, and keep a small bend in both knees.
  2. Fold forward with a flat back, reaching your hands towards the ground. Bend your knees as much as you need to in order to rest your fingertips on the ground.
  3. Walk your fingertips over to the right to feel a stretch through the TFL and IT band on your left leg. Gently press your hips to the left to deepen the stretch. Let your head hang heavy.
  4. Hold for eight breaths, then walk your hands back to center and rise up to stand. Switch sides.

Child’s Pose | 8 breaths

This restorative pose opens up the outer hips, glutes, and the entire back.

  1. Begin in a tabletop position. Stack your shoulders over your wrists and hips over your knees.
  2. Walk your knees out wide to the edges of your mat and sit your hips back onto your heels.
  3. Walk your hands forward and lower your forehead to the floor. You should feel a stretch through both sides of your body.
  4. Close your eyes and stay here for eight breaths.

Seated Figure 4 | 8 breaths per side

This yoga pose opens up tight outer hips and relieves lower back pain and stiffness.

  1. Begin seated on your mat with your knees bent and your feet on the ground. Place your hands on the mat behind your hips with your fingers pointing forward. Relax your shoulders and keep a small bend at your elbows.
  2. Cross your right ankle over your left thigh and flex both feet. Lift up through your chest bone to sit up tall. You should feel a stretch through the outer right hip. To deepen the stretch, scoot your butt closer to your left heel.
  3. Hold for eight breaths, then switch sides.

Broken Bridge | 10 breaths

This relaxing pose allows the hip flexors to relax in a neutral position and relieves pain in the lower back.

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the mat. Let your arms rest alongside your body with your palms facing up.
  2. Tap your knees together to touch. Then, keeping the knees together, heel-toe your feet out towards the edge of your mat. Go as wide as you can without letting the knees separate. You should feel a stretch through the outer hips.
  3. Hold for 10 slow breaths.

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