Do you experience discomfort and pain in your hips? This is a very common condition, but you do not need to live with this chronic tension in your body. Pain in this area can be due to various reasons: overuse from walking, riding a bicycle, or hiking, for example. Perhaps you had a recent surgery or injury, or even underuse from sitting too long in an uncomfortable seat can cause discomfort. Instead of relying solely on medications to relieve your pain, try a natural remedy: yoga. With some specific yoga postures, you can begin to feel a release in these tight areas to regain mobility, strength, and flexibility. Here are the three best yoga poses to practice for hip pain relief:
- Bound Angle Pose
- Pigeon Pose
- Eye of the Needle Pose
It is recommended that you have the following props to help with these yoga postures: a blanket or towel and two yoga blocks or small cushions.
Bound Angle Pose
This is a common sitting yoga posture that helps to release tension in your inner thighs and hips. It can also act as a nice warm-up before you practice the next two poses.
Come to a comfortable sitting position on a folded towel or blanket for support. Make sure you sit up nice and tall. You are welcome to sit against a wall to maintain a good length in your spine. Bring the soles of your feet together. This will naturally open your hips. As your knees open out to the side, support them by placing a cushion or yoga block under each knee. Allow your legs to open without feeling overstretched. The props will support your legs.
Hold onto your shins to maintain a tall torso. Inhale deeply to help the spinal extension. As you exhale, gently hinge from your hips to lean forward. The range of motion can be minimal; no need to overstretch. You want to move into the pose slowly and gently without causing added tension to this already tight area. Take deep breaths as a way to remain calm and relaxed as you ease into this pose. Hold the posture for 30 seconds to 1 minute. By holding yoga postures like Bound Angle Pose, you are allowing energy channels within your body to open so that fresh blood and oxygen can flow to these areas for holistic healing and homeostasis. You are welcome to return to a neutral sitting position to rest then perform one or two more rounds of the same yoga posture.
This is a yoga posture that targets different areas of the hips that tend to hold a lot of tension: inner thighs, outer hips, glutes, and hip flexors. Have your blocks, pillows, and blanket nearby to help you with this pose.
Start by coming to your hands and knees. This can be done on a yoga mat or a soft folded blanket on the floor. Start by sliding your right knee toward your right wrist. Once in place, you will angle that front leg by swinging your foot toward the left side of your yoga mat. (Your leg will be at a 45-degree angle.)
Using your knees and toes of your extended left leg behind you, slowly shift your body back to relieve the pressure from your hands. By doing this, you will be moving deeper into the hip opening yoga posture. To provide more support for the hip, slide a pillow or yoga block under your right hip to keep your hips aligned with each other. Gently fold forward allowing your upper body to come closer to the ground. If it does not reach the ground, place a larger pillow under you for added support.
Once in place, hold Pigeon Pose for 1 to 2 minutes if possible. This will allow the bound-up connective tissue in the hips to release. Notice where you have sensation in this pose. You may feel a stretch through the hip flexor of the extended left leg. Your bent right leg may experience a stretch in the inner thigh as well as your outer hip and glutes. Using the yoga props in this particular pose allows you to lie comfortably and still so that your tight muscles can easily relax. You may want to practice this pose 3-4 times per week to gain the results you're looking for. And don't forget to perform the pose on the other leg!
Eye of the Needle Pose
Another yoga posture that you can practice to release tight hips is Eye of the Needle Pose. It can be an additional posture to practice or an alternative to Pigeon Pose in case that posture causes too much tension in the knees or hips.
Come to a reclining position on your back. Lie on a soft blanket to support your body. Bend your knees and keep your feet on the floor. Cross your right ankle over your left knee. Be sure to have your knee point directly toward the right side of the room in this cross-legged position. Flex your foot to stabilize your joints. Check-in with your body to notice of this creates a stretch in the outer hip of your right leg. If not, continue with the next movement.
Keeping the leg crossed over the other, lift your left foot off the floor, drawing both legs toward your torso. "Thread" your left arm through the "eye of the needle" and hold onto your right shin or hamstrings with both hands. As the legs come closer to the body, you may experience more of a stretch sensation in your outer hip and inner thigh. Once you have found the proper sensation, hold the posture for 30 seconds to 60 seconds. While holding your pose, breathe slowly and deeply. This is another pose you can practice several times a week to relieve pain and discomfort in your tight hips. And of course, be sure to practice this pose on the other leg.
These three yoga postures are wonderful to release built-up tension in tight, painful hips. Try practicing these yoga positions several times a week and notice a change in your flexibility and overall well-being.
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