10 Yoga Poses to Open Your Hips

The hips. They can be our best friend or our worst enemy.

For many of us, sitting is a big part of our daily lifestyle. Whether you work in an office environment, commute a long distance to work, or work from home – the majority of work in modern society involves sitting.

And the longer we sit, the tighter our hips, and the more low back pain we experience.

This is definitely the case for me.

Related: Yoga Practice to Combat Sitting – Open Your Chest, Stretch Your Shoulders, Improve Your Posture, Energize Your Body

Yoga Poses to Open the Hips - Pin now, practice later!

Pin now, practice later!

Yes – I teach yoga and do a lot of yoga BUT I also sit in a cubicle for long periods of time.

Even with periodic stretching and multiple walks throughout the day, my body is still achy after a day’s work. It’s simply not what our bodies are meant to do. We are meant to move fluidly and freely throughout the day – this is our natural state of being.

“Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death.” – Dr. James Levin

So how can we reverse our lifestyle of constant sitting and introduce mobility and flexibility back into our lives. The answer is YOGA (an obvious answer but it’s the truth). Below are 10 yoga poses to help reverse your daily lifestyle, release tension from the body, and create space for movement and growth.

When stretching the hips, be present and aware of the body. It’s important to know the difference between stretching and pain. Only you can know your body’s edge and when to deepen or soften. If you went too far into a posture, simply back out and reconnect to the pose.

Related: Grasshopper Yoga Flow – Twist + Hip Opener Flow

We only get one body so let’s treat it with the utmost respect.

1.  Ardha Apanasana (knee to chest pose) 

Yoga Poses to Open Your Hips - Pin now, read later!

  • Bring the knee into the chest and clasp the hands around the shin or behind the thigh.
  • Keep the front leg active and engaged – flex the foot.
  • Relax shoulders down towards the ground and keep length in the back of the neck.
  • With every inhale, gently hug the knee towards the chest.
  • With every exhale, relax into the space.

2. Supta Baddha Konasana 

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  • Begin lying down on the back.
  • Bring soles of the feet together and let the knees go wide – like a butterfly.
  • Hands can rest on the hips, beside your body, or clasp elbows overhead.
  • Close the eyes and let the hips gently open and relax.

3. Happy Baby

Yoga Poses to Open Your Hips - Pin now, read later!

Yoga Poses to Open Your Hips - Pin now, read later!

  • Begin lying on the back and bring both feet towards the face.
  • Clasp hands either on the inside of the feet or on the outside (as shown above).
  • As the hips open, begin to flatten the back completely from the crown of the head down to the tailbone.
  • Using the strength of your arms, pull the knees down towards the ground to open the hips.
  • Feel free to straighten one leg here and then the other, rock from side to side, or straighten both legs out wide.

4. Anjaneyasana – low lunge

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  • Begin with one foot forward and out in front of the body. If you need to pick up the foot and place it here, please do so.
  • Back leg is relaxed with the knee resting on the ground and foot is toe nail side down.
  • Start with fingertips either on the ground or on a block and then bring hands to rest on top of the thigh.
  • Keep length in the back of the spine, shoulders rolling onto the back, and belly button sucking back towards the spine.
  • Then – we melt down into the hips.
  • You can let the front knee pass the ankle as the hips drop and the back leg stretches across the front side.

5. Lizard Pose

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  • Transition from low lunge into this pose by sliding the front foot towards the edge of the mat.
  • Bring hands to the inside of the front leg at the center of the mat.
  • Slide the back leg back until you feel a stretch on the front side of the hip and body.
  • Keep hands planted into the ground or slowly come down to the forearms for a deeper stretch.
  • If coming to forearms, try to keep the back long and heart pulling through. Feel free to rest the head on a block for comfort and support.

6. Kapotasana – pigeon pose

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  • Transition from lizard pose to pigeon pose by placing the front thigh and hip onto the ground.
  • The front foot is working towards the front of the mat – honor your body here.
  • Start with the chest lifted, roll the shoulders onto the back, and spread the skin across the collarbone.
  • Slowly walk the hands out and lower the chest down towards the ground.
  • Feel free to place a block under the head for comfort or roll a blanket and place underneath the hip to bring the floor to you.

7. Frog Pose

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This pose is one of the deepest stretches for me. Pay special attention to your alignment and what the body is telling you. If your knees are sensitive, roll both edges of the mat into the center and create a double layer for protection.

  • Position yourself sideways on the mat so knees aren’t touching a hard surface. Protect those babies!
  • Begin to slowly open the hips by spreading the knees apart.
  • Keep the ankles in alignment with the knee and flex through the feet.
  • Come forward onto forearms or bring the chest and belly down to the ground (only for the super bendy).
  • Keep length in the back by sucking belly up and in – no banana backs!
  • Again – feel free to place a block underneath the forehead for comfort and support.

8. Gomukasana – cow face pose

Yoga Poses to Open Your Hips - Pin now, read later!

Yoga Poses to Open Your Hips - Pin now, read later!

  • Start seated on the ground with both sits bones connected and rooted down.
  • Cross one knee on top of the other – stack the bones here.
  • As the hips become more flexible, begin to slide the feet away from the body.
  • Keep both sits bones connected into the ground. If they start to lift, you’ve gone too far.
  • To take the pose more yin style, fold over with a rounded back and release the chin to the outside of the knees.

9. Double Pigeon

Yoga Poses to Open Your Hips - Pin now, read later!

Yoga Poses to Open Your Hips - Pin now, read later!

As if pigeon wasn’t enough…

  • Start seated on the ground with both sits bones connected and rooted down.
  • Start with right leg on top and left leg on the bottom – stack right knee on top of left ankle & right foot on top of left knee.
  • Keep both feet flexed to protect the knees.
  • If the top knee is lifted, that’s totally okay! Everyone’s body is different, no pose has a right or wrong shape.
  • You can stay seated up right with a tall spine or bring hands in front of the body and begin to walk them down while lowering the chest to the ground.
  • Forearms work great here as well as our trusty friend – the block!

10. Baddha Konasana

Yoga Poses to Open Your Hips - Pin now, read later!

Yoga Poses to Open Your Hips - Pin now, read later!

  • Start seated on the ground with sits bones connected and rooted down.
  • Bring the soles of the feet together and let the knees fall out wide.
  • Interlace hands around the toes creating a basket like shape.
  • Use the strength of your arms to lengthen the back side body and sit up tall.
  • Begin to bend at the elbows and the lower chest down, keeping the back long and straight.
  • For a more yin style posture, round the back and completely relax head and neck down.

Holy hips that was a lot of yummy information we just went through!

The majority of these postures are deep stretches so take care to warm up the body beforehand and move slowly. There’s absolutely no rush when it comes to the hips. When holding the poses, make it a priority to keep the breath strong and consistent. The more air we breathe into the body and let circulate around, the easier it is for our bodies to relax and open up.

Hey! I’m Allie.

I’m a self-growth student, freedom-seeker, yoga teacher and the founder of a tight-knit online yoga community: the Body Mind Soul Studio. I’m here to teach you how to transform your life on-and-off-the-mat with a holistic yoga practice.

I wanna learn it all!

The Yoga Reset Guide is my FREE 7-step journey to deepen your practice and recenter your body, mind and soul. Self-paced, no equipment necessary, perfect for beginners AND veteran yogis.

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I wanna learn it all!

The Yoga Reset Guide is my FREE 7-step journey to deepen your practice and recenter your body, mind and soul. Self-paced, no equipment necessary, perfect for beginners AND veteran yogis.