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For a challenge, do back bends to stretch the fronts of your hips.
If school or your job has you sitting behind a desk for most of your day, you're susceptible to having tight hips. According to YogaJournal.com, tight hips can cause lower-back pain in many yoga poses, so it's important to loosen them for yoga practice. There are several yoga poses you can do to stretch, loosen and open your hips.
Poses for Hip Flexors
One-legged king pigeon pose is a yoga pose that opens one hip while stretching the opposite psoas. Your psoas is a muscle on the front of your hip that helps you flex your leg, or in other words, pull your torso and thigh toward each other. Many back bends in yoga also stretch your hip flexors, which are the front of your hips, including bridge pose, wheel pose, king pigeon pose and half frog pose.
Poses for Hip Rotators
Your hip rotators, which include your internal hip rotators and external hip rotators, are the muscles of your hips responsible for rotating your hips inward -- pigeon-toed -- and outward -- like a ballerina. Stretching these muscles helps loosen your hips and relieves muscle tension in them. Fire log pose, Bharadvaja's twist and cow face pose are three seated yoga poses you can do for your hip rotators. Eagle pose is a standing pose that requires balance and concentration while it stretches your hip rotators.
Poses that Open the Hips
An easy pose for opening the hips is to sit cross-legged on a mat with your shins folded in so that either ankle rests on the opposite leg. Stretch your hands out on the ground as far forward as you can, while keeping your back straight. Fold forward toward the floor as far as you can, bending from the hips. Bound angle pose gives your hips a more intense stretch that opens them farther. Bring the bottoms of your feet together with your heels in as close to your pubic bone as you can get them. Keep your spine straight and wrap your hands around the outside of your feet. Press your thighs down with your forearms and elbows so that your hips open more deeply as you fold your body forward over your legs.
Tips & Considerations
Consider using a personal trainer or taking a personal yoga class if you're a beginner to yoga and want to start doing it for your hips. Improving flexibility is a long process, so be easy on yourself and don't expect overnight improvement. Stretch at least three times per week to gain flexibility. Always warm up your body before doing yoga stretches, since stretching cold muscles can cause injury.