There’s a good chance you spend most of the time on your butt even if you work out. Just think of all the time you spend watching TV, sitting at your desk, scrolling through Facebook or Instagram, etc. Meaning, you’re basically guaranteed to have tight hips, and you need to loosen up your lower body!
So stretching your hips is a must for you and everybody else. It will keep everything in the area happy: from the hamstrings and glutes to the lower back. If you’re a runner, you definitely have to stretch out those muscles to avoid some serious pains. You can incorporate these moves into your workout cool-down, or just add to the end of your full yoga session.
Start in a tabletop position, on all fours. Sit with your hips back on your heels while exhaling, and release your torso to fall over the legs. You can choose to keep you knees close together or wide. You can stretch your arms forward, palms down, or extend them back by the hips, palms up. Hold the position for 2 breaths.
Downward dog pose
From the previous pose, inhale and return to table top. Exhale and drop your heels. Lift your hips to form an upside down ‘V’ shape, while you’re pressing your palms into the floor with the fingers spread wide. Hold again for 2 breaths.
Hip opener pose
From the downward dog position, step both your feet up to the hands and inhale to reverse swan dive (lifting chest, arms, head) to stand (mountain pose). Press your palms together over your head and exhale while lowering your hands to the chest in a prayer position. Shift the weight into your left leg and inhale while lifting the right leg. Then, bent in 90 degree angle in front of your body. Open your knee to the side and cross the right ankle over the left thigh, just over the left knee. Sink into a half squat, on the left leg, while keeping your hands in prayer position (hip opener). Repeat on the other side and get back to the mountain position.
Half pigeon pose
From there, exhale to swan dive to fold forward over your straight legs. Lift halfway up with your back straight while you inhale, then exhale and release to fold over your legs. Place your palms flat on the ground and step back into the downward dog pose. Inhale, extend the right leg up and back, and shift your shoulders over the wrists. Draw your right knee under the hips, and shin parallel to the front of the mat. Lay the right leg down in this position, untuck the left toes, and slowly fold forward over your right leg while keeping the weight centered between your hips. Hold again for 2 breaths.
Press your torso up and carefully untuck the right leg to get back to the downward dog pose. Do the same on the opposite side.
Thread the needle
From the half pigeon pose, swing your legs around to sit on the mat with your feet flat and knees pointing up. Inhale, exhale, and slowly roll down to lie faceup on the mat. Now keep your left foot flat on the floor, lift your right leg and cross the right ankle over the left thigh. Lift the left leg off the floor and thread your arms through to hold on to the left thigh. Hold 2 breaths.
Lower your left foot to the ground and uncross the right leg slowly. Repeat on the other side.
Extend your left leg on the floor. Pull your right leg straight up toward the face, while holding your ankle or calf. Hold for 2 breaths, and scissor your legs to switch to extend the right leg on the floor and stretch your left leg toward the face.
From left full-leg stretch of the previous pose, slowly lower your left leg and extend your arms by the sides with your palms facing up. Relax all the muscles in the body and hold for as many breaths as you need.
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