Our hips, oh our lovely hips, are often referred to as the emotional junk drawer. So powerful, so mobile, yet often so… stuck. Our hips bear the weight of our bodies as we move throughout the day; however, lifestyle changes find us to be much idle. The stationary positions we find ourselves in most often put our hip musculature in a shortened position. Long hours + these positions = stuck hips. To bring openness to our hip joints we must sink into stretches that target not only the outside of the hips but all sides. While dozens of hip openers are available, we’re going to check out three poses that will help you release the entire hip joint – front to back, inside to out.
Supported Saddle Pose
We sit all day long, shortening our quads and hip flexors. Ever feel the need to stand up and just stretch your hips forward? That’s exactly what we’re targeting with the supported saddle.
- Find yourself seated on your heels with a bolster or block underneath your sit bones.
- Because we are typically so tight on the front of the hips, taking saddle in a supported form is going to help ease into this opener.
- Recline yourself back, either resting completely on the bolster or propping yourself on your elbows.
- As you hold this posture, you’ll feel yourself sink deeper into your supportive prop.
Challenge yourself to stay here for at least two minutes. Just breathe, you’ll make it, I promise.
Reclined Cow Face
Working deep into your hip sockets, reclined cow face gives a great stretch to your glutes – from their origin on your sacrum to their insertion on your trochanters. This pose holds closest to traditional hip openers; similar to the double pigeon or fire log pose, you’ll note a few differences. A reclined position gives a restorative nature to this pose.
- Lying supine with your knees bent over your hips, cross one leg tightly atop the other. Note: your top leg will get a deeper stretch.
- As your legs are crossed, allow your feet to splay outward.
- As your hands reach to find your ankles, gently pull your ankles towards your body and feel your hips move into a deeper stretch.
- Relax as your glutes and abductors gradually melt.
- After holding this pose for a minute or two, shake it out and switch sides.
We place such an emphasis on stretching the outer portion of the hip capsule that we often dismiss our groin muscles. Frog pose lengthens our adductors – the muscles that squeeze your legs together.
Heads up: laying a blanket down adds some comfort to the inside of the knees.
- Blanket down, find yourself on your elbows and knees.
- Slowly allow one of your legs to slide outward until you feel a pull on the inside of both thighs, running from your groin to your knee.
- Allow your elbows to bear some of the weight so you can sink in a bit further.
- To add a layer, keep your knees positioned at a 90-degree angle rather than letting your feet come in towards your glutes.
This position of the knee joint will stretch the adductors just a hair more.
We say our hip tightness is linked to our emotions – tension, trauma, and stress; but sometimes we just need to stretch it out a little more. Sinking into these few stretches can help to increase joint mobility while moving out stale energy. Relax, breath through the tough bits, and let go. And hey, maybe you use this advice to work through those emotional issues too. Thanks for reading!