Your hip mobility controls more than you might think. In fact, most low back and knee pain is actually caused by tightness or unevenness in your hips—and sitting at your desk all day, long commutes, or lying awkwardly in front of a TV doesn’t help. It’s crucial for your mobility to get a few hip stretches in. Even just 10 minutes a day can make a world of a difference. Here are our favorites.
This is a favorite stretch among elite athletes, coaches, and yogis alike and helps you get deep into your hip flexors without risking injury to the knees. To get into it, place one leg in a 90 degree angle directly in front of you with your shin parallel with front of mat and knee flat. Do the same with the back leg, so each leg forms a 90 degree angle. If that’s enough, stop there and breathe. If you want to go a little deeper, keep a flat spine and fold over your front leg.
One of the best hip openers out there, bound angle acts as a counter-pose to sitting in a chair and a release for all those times we did cardio and erm, “forgot” to stretch after. To get into it, sit with a straight spine with the soles of your feet touching, knees out wide. It doesn’t matter how close your heals get to your groin. Rather, concentrate on keeping your sit bones heavy and spine long. If that feels comfortable, you can stretch deeper into your inner thighs by folding over your legs.
In addition to all the mental benefits to forward folds, it’s also an incredible hip and hamstring stretch. To forward fold safely, sit with your legs extended in front of you. Don't worry about straightening your legs—focus instead on straightening your spine and lifting your heart. As you exhale, bend from the hip joint, pulling your belly in as you descend. Though it’s easy to focus on your hamstrings and calves, keep that focus on your front torso and long spine as you move deeper into the pose.
Want deeper forward folds? Melini Jesudason shared her favorite tips on HTPY.Live.
Revolved Janu Sirasana
It takes practice, but once you get it, there’s nothing better than a good revolved head-to-knee pose. This full body stretch has tons of benefits—from stretching your QL, hamstrings, and hips to improving digestion.
From seated, bend your right knee and place the foot against your left inner thigh. Flex your left foot to engage your leg.
Raise your arms over your head on an inhale, and then as you exhale turn your torso to the right and hold your right thigh with your left hand. Reach your right arm high, and then bend laterally towards your outstretched left leg, capturing the pinky side edge of that left food. Don’t forget to breathe.
One of the best stretches for our whole bodies, pigeon pose has a multitude of physical, mental, and internal benefits. Physically, pigeon pose stretches the hips, opens the glutes, relaxes the piriformis and psoas muscles, and stimulates the digestive organs. Mentally, the pose can help you release deeply held tension, face old emotions, and challenge how you sit with discomfort.
To get into the pose, start on all fours, and then bring your right knee towards your right wrist. Depending on your flexibility, your right shin might be parallel with the mat, or your foot might be facing towards the back left side of your mat. Choose a version that you can hold and breathe in. Then, extend your back leg long behind you, and breathe into your hips.
Straddle Forward Fold
Sit with your legs spread wide and your back straight and strong. Flex your feet. As you inhale stretch your arms high, and as you exhale fold down the middle. If you feel your back bending like a banana as you fold, bend your knees and focus on keeping your spine long. This pose doesn’t only stretch your hips, hamstrings, and low back, it also calms your nervous system, making it the perfect addition to your bedtime routine.