We all know how important for our body is to move and to be flexible. Another very important thing is to maintain the flexibility in the hips.
Nowadays, nearly all people use to sit at a desk all day long. These extended periods of sitting every single day will eventually and inevitably make the hips tight and their mobility will become impaired.
Dangers of Tight Hips
– Muscle Imbalances – the hip flexors are actually the front of the hips. These muscles will become tight and short over time if we sit for hours each day. The back section of the hips consists of the glutes and the hip extensors, and they become overstretched over time as well. However, the fact that they are being tightened and stretched respectively does not mean that they will benefit from these actions. They get weak too, due to the lack of use of each group of muscles.
– Back Pain – if the glutes and the hip extensors are being overstretched and the hip flexors are tightened, the pelvis will begin to be pulled out of place into a forward, unnatural tilt. Due to the occurrence of the tilt and the tight muscles, the muscles in the lower back will also be pulled at, and this will lead to one of the most common complaints from those with severely tight hips.
– Poor Balance and Posture – the hip flexor is the main stabilizer of the pelvis, so when these muscles are being weakened, the balance of the body will become impaired, and it will lead to poor posture.
If you want to counteract the hours you spend sitting at the desk, you need to take time to stretch out your hips on a daily basis. If you increase the mobility in your hips, you will also increase the level of strength and power while you workout.
One of the greatest ways for you to gain flexibility in your hips is to start practicing yoga, as it has numerous hip-opening poses. Some of the best yoga poses which work as hip openers are the ones we are going to present you further in the text. These poses are part of numerous yoga classes.
1. Thread the Needle Pose
Start by lying down on your back, and make sure your feet are positioned flat on the floor and your knees are bent. Then, cross your right ankle over your left knee in the shape of the figure ‘4’. Next, having your hips grounded and your lower back on the mat pressing it, pull the left knee towards your chest, threading your right hand between your legs.
Clutch your hands under your left knee and pull the knee deeper into the stretch. Try to concentrate on keeping the right knee open to stretch the hip well. Take a deep breath, and hold for at least half a minute on each side.
2. Happy Baby Pose
Lay on the mat with your back down, and bring your knees close to your chest. Then, put your hands on the inside arches of your feet and open your knees wider than the width of your shoulders. Press your back into the math as much as you can, and then holding this position, press your feet into your hands while you pull down on feet, creating resistance. Inhale deeply and stay in this position for at least half a minute.
3. Butterfly Pose
Sit down on the mat and bend your knees. Place your hands on the mat beside your body. Then, bring the soles of your feet together and let your knees open out to the sides. Open your knees and bring them closer to the floor using your leg muscles.
The stretch should be felt in your inner thighs. For a deeper stretch, pull your feet closer towards you, or fold forward and walk your hands out in front of you. Remain in this pose for about half a minute.
4. Frog Pose
Before you start this pose, you should know that it is rather intense, so you should be very careful not to hurt your knees or ankles. Start by getting on all fours, with your hands under your shoulders and your knees on your mat. You can eve use blankets instead of a mat so you have more padding.
Gradually and gently start widening your knees until you feel a stretch in your thighs that is comfortable. Keep your ankles in line with your knees, making sure that you feet and your calves are grounded the whole time. Lower down to your forearms if you can do it. Remain in this position for about half a minute.
5. Half Pigeon Pose
To begin this pose, get into a runner’s lunge with your right foot forward and your hands on the mat on either side of your front foot. Make sure that the greatest part of your weight is focused on your hands and start sliding your front foot over towards your left hand, lowering the knee over to the right.
Put the outside part of your right calf on the mat, making sure that it is parallel to the front of the mat. Then, gradually start lowering your back knee and shin to the floor. Open your hips as much as you can to the front of the mat, and if you want the stretch to be more moderate, keep your arms straight and your hands positioned flat on the floor.
If you want to increase the stretch, lower down to your forearms, or even lower, all the way down so that you lay over your front leg. If you do this correctly, you should feel the stretch on the outside of the right hip and in the glute. Remain in this position half a minute minimum, and then repeat on the other side. If you find this pose too uncomfortable or if it really causes you pain, stick with Thread the Needle.
6. Double Pigeon Pose
Sit down on the mat and cross your legs, with your left leg crossed in front. Grab your left ankle using your arms to move, and gently pull the ankle to put it on top of the right knee. Stack the shins with your left leg on top.
In case that you have really tight hips, lift your right knee up off the floor a little, but as your hips open more, your knee will eventually lower. If you need this exercise to be more intense, walk your hands forward a bit to get deeper into the stretch. Remain like this for at least half a minute, and then repeat on the opposite side.
7. Low Lunge
Begin in the position of a runner’s lunge, and make sure that your right foot is forward and your hand on the mat on either side of the front foot. Start lowering your back knee, and shin to the floor, carefully raising your chest and your arms up, resting your hands on your front thigh.
Engage the abdominals while you do this pose and do not let the back to arch, as it will take away from the stretch. If you want to intensify the stretch, reach the arms overhead, and lean forward just a little bit, again making sure that you do not arch the lower part of your back. Remain in this position for half a minute and then repeat the same on the opposite side.
8. Crescent Lunge
This pose also begins with the runner’s lunge, but this time you would need to keep the knee raised. Gradually bring the hands off the mat and bring them to the front thigh. Let your hips sink lower as you open your hips square to the front of your mat.
Next, bring your arms up and overhead, and engage your abdominals while you do this. Concentrate on lengthening through the back leg and go on sinking and squaring off the hips to make the stretch deeper. Remain in this position for at least half a minute on each side.
If you include one if these poses, or a few of them, or all of them in your everyday workout routine, you will certainly improve your overall state and you will maintain flexible and healthy hips. You will increase your mobility and you will even find out that the strength in your hips and legs has increased.
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