The Yoga Hip Openers That'll Finally Loosen Up Your Lower Body
There's a really good chance you spend most of the day on your butt even if you work out. Just think of all the time you spend parked at your desk, watching Netflix, scrolling through Instagram, sitting in your car, etc. Translation: You're basically guaranteed to have tight hips.
Stretching your hips will keep everything in the area happy-from your hamstrings and glutes to your lower back. (And if you're a runner, having weak hips can give you some serious pains.) This simple two-minute yoga flow from yogi Danielle Cuccio of Cuccio Somatology will guide you through some key yoga hip openers that you can incorporate into your workout cool-down or tag on the end of a full yoga session.
Follow along with Danielle in the video, or go through each step below. (Still kinda tight? Try these other yoga hip openers for an even deeper stretch.)
A. Start in a tabletop position on all fours.
B. Exhale to sit hips back to rest on heels, releasing torso to fall over legs. Knees can be close together or wide, depending on personal preference. Arms can be stretched forward, palms down, or extended back by hips, palms up. Hold for 2 breaths.
A. From child's pose, inhale to return to tabletop.
B. Exhale and drop heels and lift hips to form an upside down "V" shape (downward dog), pressing palms into floor with fingers spread wide. Hold for 2 breaths.
A. From downward dog, step both feet up to hands and inhale to reverse swan dive (lifting arms, head, and chest) to stand (mountain pose). Press palms together overhead and exhale, lowering hands to chest in prayer position.
B. Shift weight into left leg and inhale to lift right leg, bent at a 90-degree angle, in front of body. Open knee to the side, and cross right ankle over the left thigh just above left knee.
C. Exhale, sinking into a half squat, on the left leg, hands still in prayer (hip opener). Hold for 2 breaths. Reverse movement to uncross right leg, lift in a high knee, and lower to ground. Repeat on the opposite side, then return to mountain pose.
A. From mountain pose, exhale to swan dive to fold forward over straight legs. Inhale and lift halfway up with a flat back, then exhale and release to fold over legs.
B. Place palms flat on the floor and step back into downward dog. Inhale and extend right leg up and back, then shift shoulders over wrists and draw right knee under hips, shin parallel to the front of the mat.
C. Lay right leg down in this position, untuck left toes, and slowly fold forward over right leg, keeping weight centered between hips. Hold for 2 breaths.
D. Press torso up and carefully untuck right leg to return to downward dog. Repeat on the opposite side.
Thread the Needle
A. From left half pigeon, swing legs around to sit on mat, feet flat and knees pointing up. Inhale then exhale, slowly rolling down vertebra by vertebra to lie faceup on mat.
B. Keep left foot flat on the ground, lift right leg and cross right ankle over left thigh. Lift left leg off the ground and thread arms through to hold on to left thigh. Hold for 2 breaths.
C. Lower left foot to the ground and slowly uncross right leg. Repeat on the opposite side.
A. Extend left leg on the ground.
B. Holding ankle or calf, pull straight (but not locked) right leg up toward face. Hold for 2 breaths.
C. Scissor legs to switch, extending right leg on the floor and stretching left leg toward face.
A. From left full-leg stretch, slowly lower left leg to mat and extend arms by sides, palms facing up.
B. Relax all the muscles in the body. Hold for as many breaths as needed.