The hips are a region of our body that experiences a lot of tension for most people. We use our hip flexors a lot when walking, running and doing various exercises and activities, causing tightness and tension. Sitting also contributes to hip flexor tension, something many of us are very familiar with these days, making stretching our hip flexors more important than ever. Try these stretches to loosen up the hips and increase mobility in the hip flexors.
Come into a plank position and step your right foot between your hands as you lower your left knee to the mat. Bring both palms to the right knee, keeping it bent at a 90 degree angle and bring your torso upright. Keep your core engaged and breathe into the left hip flexor. Hold for 30 seconds to a minute and then switch sides.
Place your right knee behind your right wrist and extend your left leg behind you on the floor. Square your hips to the mat and walk your hands back by your hips as you open up through the chest. Take a deep breath in and on an exhale, fold your chest forward and come into pigeon pose. Breathe deeply into the right hip. Hold for up to a minute then switch sides.
Lie onto your back and bring the knees into the chest. Cross your right ankle above your left knee and and grab your left thigh through your legs. Flex both feet and encourage your left leg closer to your body, stretching out the hip flexor. Hold for up to a minute then go ahead and switch sides.
Knee into chest
Come to lie down on your back. Extend both legs down onto the mat and flex the feet. Bring your right knee into your chest and wrap your arms around the leg, encouraging it closer. Keep your left leg flexed and breathe into the left hip flexor. Hold for up to a minute then switch sides.
From your back, bring your knees into your chest to begin. Reach for the outside edges of your feet and encourage your knees into your armpits. Keep your spine firmly planted on the mat and invite in gentle movement if it feels good to you. Hold and breathe into the hips for up to a minute.
From your back, place the souls of your feet on the mat and knees facing the ceiling. Extend your arms down by your sides and on an inhale, press into your feet and lift your hips off the mat, coming into bridge. Release any tension in the glutes and allow the lift to come from the pressure of your feet into the mat. Breathe here and hold for around 30 seconds, coming down to rest and repeat one more time.
Wide legged forward fold
Come to stand with your legs out wide. Turn your toes in and your heels out and take a deep inhale. On an exhale, fold forward between your legs. Let your head hang heavy and plant your hands down on the mat, walking them between the legs to encourage your chest to fold deeper. Hold for up to a minute, breathing into the hip flexors.
Lie down on your back and extend your arms and legs out wide. You can take savasana in your bed if you think you will fall asleep. Take up as much space as you need to be completely comfortable. Completely let go of any breath control or attempt to control your mind. Let your body be heavy and your mind completely relax. Stay in savasana for 5-7 minutes, slowly coming up to a seat when you are finished to make your way into bed for a restful night’s sleep.
Gabrielle Marchese is a certified yoga instructor.