If you feel stiff and sore, suffer from low back pain or have poor posture, your tight hips could be the culprit.
Until a few years ago, slipping in and out of conference rooms at the film studio I worked for, I believed that the swaying of hips rhythmically was essential only in item numbers. But when I started doing yoga eight years ago, I realised that the hips are among the most crucial joints of the human body and often the most neglected. For one, they take all your weight — when you’re on the move and even when you’re stationary. There are numerous muscles in the region of the hips, which bend, move and flex enabling a greater range of motion than any other joint of our body. They also stabilise your trunk and spine during movement and sitting. Nearly everything you do closes up your hip muscles and various reasons can shorten these muscles, making them tight and inflexible.
Tight hips increase the load and cause overuse of the spine. This can further affect your knee, your back or travel up to the cervical area. It is therefore essential to open the hips, which in turn, reduces the pressure on your back and lessens back pain, improve postural improvements and increases blood circulation. The opening of the hips is crucial and helpful in almost all yogasanas. However, there are certain asanas, which mainly work on the various muscles of the hip joint. They are as follows:
This asana helps create traction in the lower back, releases toxins and tension from the hips, pelvis, hamstrings and glutes. Tension in any of these areas is a major factor in lower back pain.
Lie on your back with your legs extended in front of you. Draw one knee in towards your chest, hold your big toes and slowly straighten the leg. Keep the other leg active.
Keep your feet flexed and both of your hips on the floor. At this point, for a deeper stretch, you can open your extended leg to the side. Hold for one minute, breathing normally, then switch legs.
At first, you may not be able to straighten your leg up to vertical. Keep it lower to make this pose easier. In addition, you can also bend your other extended leg.
This asana, also known as the butterfly or bound angle pose, is a seated pose that strengthens and opens the hips and groin while reducig abdominal discomfort. This pose also stretches the adductors, inner quadriceps, and hamstrings, and promotes circulation, keeping the bladder, urinary tract, and abdomen healthy.
Begin seated on your mat with your spine straight.
Bend both knees out to the side, bringing the soles of your feet together.
Place the heels in front of the pelvis, about a fist distance from the groin. Feel the stretch throughout your hips and inner thighs.
Hold for 30 to 60 seconds, breathing normally. Don’t force yourself to bend forward.
A variation of this can be practised with a straight back resting on the wall. Those with knee or back issues should avoid or do it with caution.
Eka Pada Rajkapotasana
Practising this pose can make for supple and flexible hips. This pose specifically works as a hip opener, stretching your thighs, groin and back.
Start on all fours (hands and knees), bring your right knee forward and place it more or less behind your right wrist, almost in a 90-degree angle.
Slide your left leg back, straighten the knee and point the toes out. Draw your legs in towards each other to help keep your hips square.
Stay for 30-60 seconds and change to the other leg. This is a deep hip opener, so please go slow, especially while beginning and releasing the asana.