We often think of hip injuries as being something that happens to grandparents. While this might be mostly true, it’s typically an older person’s ailment, at some point, most of us are going to get a couple of decades older, hopefully, more. In other words, our hips are going to age, too.

Opening our hips regularly, or shall we say loosening them up, is also helpful to the lower back.

Furthermore, these days are not the days of old. Hips tend to tighten up a lot more when we spend a lot of time sitting in chairs at the office, sitting in seats in the car, and sitting on the couch at home.

If we don’t actively seek ways to stretch our hips, we may never do it, until, that is, it’s too late and a sudden stretch causes a major problem. So, whether it’s a full-on yoga practice or simply a good stretch to keep our hips fit, here are some basic yoga poses to help keep this very important joint mobile and flexible.

1. Extended Child’s Pose (Utthita Balasana)

Known as a restful pose, one that yogis move to when in need of relief, a child’s pose is not so restful that the body isn’t working. An extended child’s pose is great for elongating the upper back, subtly working the ab muscles, and flexing the outer hips. This is a great starter’s pose, both as a solo stretch for the hips and as an approachable stretch for most beginners.

Source: Yoga With Adriene/Youtube

2. Seated Twist Pose (Pavritta Sukhasana)

Another great pose for beginner yogis or even those more worried about their hips than establishing a yoga practice, the seated twist is doable for most. It stretches the back and hips and can be engaging for both the most athletic and most unathletic participants. All that is necessary is to be able to sit cross-legged with a straight back (you can even use a block to sit on if need be) and twist.

Source: Bad Yogi Yoga/Youtube

3. Twisted Hero Pose (Pavritta Virasana)

Another sitting pose, but slightly more challenging, the hero pose requires knees that still have some flexibility. Essentially, this is similar to the seated twist pose, only it is done while sitting on the kneeling and turning right or left. If this base position (kneeling whilst sitting between your calves) is too much for the knees, sitting on a block can help with that, and the hips can get the desired movement.

Source: Yoga International/Youtube

4. Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana)

While sitting, the bound angle pose can intensify the hip flexing. It can include a blanket or block if necessary (it’s more relevant to doing it effectively than without aids). This pose is also known as the cobbler’s pose, and it is mostly known for stretching the groin area. However, it’s great for loosening the hips as well. It’s easy to modify to work for just about all levels.

Source: Yoga With Adriene/Youtube

5. Supine Figure 4 Stretch (Supta Kapotasana)

Continuing on the mat, the supine figure 4 stretch starts on the mat, knees bent, and feet on the ground. One ankle goes atop the other leg’s knee. Keeping the feet active, hands pull back on the bottom leg, bringing it towards the head and stretching out the hip of the other leg. The sequence is repeated and vice versa. The intensity level can be lessened by not pulling the leg, or it can be increased by grabbing the ankle of the top leg and pulling it even closer to the head.

Source: Vive Health/Youtube

6. Yoga Squat (Malasana)

The yoga squat requires both strength and flexibility, but it’s a great way to open up the hips. It’s a position that can be held for an extended time to increase elasticity. This pose requires working ankles and knees, and there are a few helpful props to use if that isn’t entirely possible. Doing this pose successfully requires a bit of practice, but it is a serious hip-opener.

Source: Physical Therapy & Yoga Therapy with Dr. Ariele Foster/Youtube

7. Wide-legged Forward Fold (Prasarita Padottana)

Another good hip flexor whilst on your feet is the wide-legged forward fold. This is basic calisthenics most of us did (or attempted) in gym class at some point. Feet out wide, we bend over to stretch as far toward the floor as possible. The stretch can be rolled back and forth between the legs to get a little more action in the hips.

Source: Man Flow Yoga/Youtube

Once these poses are reasonably accessible, there are a few more intense hip-opening poses for the yoga mat. Lizard pose, humble warrior pose, and pigeon pose concentrate on deeply stretching out one hip at a time. They do require some athleticism, flexibility, and strength, and they are extraordinarily effective. However, it’s important to approach these, and any of the above poses, with appropriate body awareness, never pushing beyond what feels right.

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